PAX Prime 2011: Gotham City Impostors Preview
Over the past five years or so, there’s a pretty general rule of thumb in the world of entertainment that if Batman is involved, it’s going to be awesome. However when Monolith Productions announced that they were making a Batman game that had no Batman, just a bunch of people dressed up as him and the joker, there was a bit of animosity amongst fans of the franchise. Then we found out it was going to be a frist person shooter, and it started to sound nothing like a Batman game at all. Well consider this your reassurance: Gotham City Impostors is awesome.
You’ll be playing as either a Batman or Joker impostor, but your character doesn’t end by just selecting your team type. Everything is completely customizable, from load out to costume to gadgets. You’ll be able to play the game in whatever way best suits you. There are of course some pre-built layouts but why do that when you can customize your entire experience?
Starting out, you’ll pick a body type for the character: Nimble or tough. They navigate and feel about how one would expect, but their skills can be optimized with the rest of the layout. Each character has a main weapon, which can range from conventional machine guns and pistols to the wacky PVC rocket launcher and jack-in-the-box grenade. Along with the main weapon, there is a gadget that will be equipped for each character that will offer different benefits and styles of play. For example, the character I was using in the demo has the ability to go invisible and sneak up on opponents or make it to an objective unnoticed. However, you cannot shoot or capture an objective while invisible so you need to make sure to reappear in a place that won’t just get you killed right when you appear. Other options include roller skates, glider wings, and grappling hooks.
Once you get into the game, the control mapping feels somewhat similar to Call of Duty, but gameplay feels more like Team Fortress 2. It seems like it’s become impossible to ignore comparisons to games like these, but it’s not a bad thing to receive them. The controls feel like Call of Duty because of how smooth movement and gun and gadget use feels. The gameplay feels like Team Fortress because it’s just plain fun. There’s standard team deathmatch game types along with plenty of unique variances on some old classics. For example, there’s a capture-the-flag style game where the two teams are attempting to power brainwash machines to brainwash the other team.
The game doesn’t feel like a Batman game, but it doesn’t have Batman in the title. You’re playing as obsessive fans and tagalongs of the real hero and villain, who fight in the underbelly of the city as representatives of whatever side you may choose. The game feels like it’s got a lot of depth for an arcade release and will offer well over the amount of entertainment that one would expect from an arcade title. Watch for the Bats and the Jokerz to start taking the streets of Gotham in mid 2012.