With the exception of such titles as The Hunt, Section 8: Prejudice, and Team Fortress, there aren’t too many downloadable first-person shooters on the market. Enter the inevitable Batman cash-in Gotham City Impostors. It’s a fine, albeit bare-bones multiplayer experience that grapples between the seriousness of the post-modern FPS title and a wacky Silver Age-era comic book. Gotham City’s Dark Knight is supposedly off on a vacation or something—and as for his perennial adversary, the Joker, well, he’s absent too.
Aside from a lame training sequence and boring single-player trials, Gotham City Impostors has no one-player story mode. That’s probably for the best, as an actual through line to explain the existence of these feuding Batz and Jokerz would only serve to underscore the fact that this game is merely a madcap and sometimes fun diversion until the next tent pole Batman game or this summer’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Three online modes are available: Team Deathmatch, Fumigation (a cartoony variation on Call of Duty’s Domination mode), and Psych Warfare (a screwball take on Call of Duty’s Sabatage mode). But that’s all developer Monolith (Condemned, F.E.A.R.) gives us.
The weapons and environments make this $15 DLC title stand out if you squint hard enough. Instead of the normally limited range of motion one would expect from a shooter, Gotham City Impostors tosses in a wide array of Batcave-worthy gadgetry and abilities. You get regular guns, grenades, and launchers, but there are also roller skates, double-jumps, ramps, grappling hooks, glider rigs, trampolines, spring boots, and more. This makes the on-screen action move at a furious pace. It’s like you’re playing a Saturday-morning cartoon at times. As such, the fun fades as fast as a sugar rush from Captain Crunch.
Naturally, you can customize your character, but all of this is standard shooter stuff. Gotham City Impostors brings very little to the table beyond zany upgrades and Gotham-specific maps. You gain XP and jump to new levels at a quick pace in this game. It makes sense since the online community will probably dry up in a few months. After that, you don’t have much of a game to fall back on. You basically get what you pay for and then you have a hundred dollars worth of day-one DLC content.
Gotham City Impostors is enjoyable for an afternoon and that’s about it. Its bells and whistles only go so far before becoming irritations. Monolith tried to create a full-bodied shooter experience with their limited budget they were given, but titles such as Bulletstorm and TimeSplitters truly experimented with slapstick within the FPS genre. Those games delivered more confidence, depth, and panache.
Note: A free DLC pack in March will add a “25th Floor” map, 100 new customization options, and more matchmaking enhancements. Those upgrades will be welcome for a fairly inventive game short on actual replayability.