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February 17, 2012
Gotham City Impostors - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
8/2/2012$AU17.95WB GamesMonolith12-12
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Gotham City Imposters is out now on PS3.
Itís not often we get to review download-only titles here at Futuregamez, but the good folk at WB Games have helped us buck that trend by sending us a copy of their latest game, Gotham City Impostors. Iím glad they did because Gotham City Impostors is a lot of fun, and despite a few issues it has high enough production values and depth to make it one of the better download-only games on the market.

The idea behind Gotham City Impostors is that in Gotham, once Batman isnít around, there are two factions at war. On the one hand we have the Bats, Batman-lookalikes trying to enforce vigilante justice, sweeping crime off the streets. On the other hand we have the Jokerz, a ruthless gang of wannabe Jokers who like nothing more than spreading chaos via their petty crimes. The two factions oppose each otherís every move and the result is a shooting free-for-all in five different locations around Gotham City, though all of them are far enough away from civilians to ensure no innocents get caught in the crossfire.

The bulk of the game is multiplayer only, but when you first load up the game youíd be advised to play through Initiation which gives you a very brief run through of how the game works, and introduces you to some basic gadgets such as the glider, grapple-hook and roller-skates as well as the humour thatís prevalent throughout the game. With that done youíd be wise to give Challenges a go because it provides three levels of challenge using those same gadgets as well as introducing weapons. The basic challenges are a breeze (though getting gold isnít always simple), but the challenge ratchets up on Intermediate while Expert is not for the easily vexed.

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Shooting from one rooftop to another.
Now that youíve honed your skills in single-player itís time to take your skills online. The three modes here are Team Deathmatch, Fumigation and Psych Warfare. Team Deathmatch plays out the same as it does in any other shooter where the first team to fifty kills or the team with the most kills when time expires wins. Fumigation is a capture-the-flag clone except here youíre capturing gas blasters. There are three gas-blasters in each level and your team must hold at least two of them to get the gas level to critical mass and wipe out your opponent. Psych Warfare requires you to power up brainwashing machines with batteries in order to psyche out your opponent. Once you get the machines operational your opponents become dazed and can only defend themselves with a slap making them soft targetsÖ usually.

On paper the game may sound a bit shallow, and in terms of game types it is, but the real depth comes from the amount of customization at your disposal. Each character has two weapons, two weapon mods, a support item and a gadget available for use at all times. Thereís a wide range of weapons to choose from including rifles, submachine guns, shotguns and launchers, as well as heavy weapons such as the ball-bearing shooting Shredder or the Deep Freezer, and an assistance weapon, the Motivator, which is basically a loudspeaker that temporarily boosts the health and defence of your teammates. Weapon mods do things like improve your accuracy, make your ammo blast through armour or give you a hint to an enemyís location by showing their body odor.

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Characters and locations are bright and colourful.
Support items are great at getting you out of a jam and include pipe bombs, boomerangs, a hatchet that insta-kills anyone it hits, body armour or an energy drink for a quick health boost. There are other support items that are more passive but still pack a punch. Items such as the bear-trap, the trap-in-a-box and motion sensor are all great ways to slow down or wipe out an opponent who is hot on your heels. There is even an airspace denier that zaps any airborne opponent who comes in range, which is especially handy if youíre more suited to ground combat.

Your gadget usually determines your secondary mode of transport Ė you can fly around with the glider, zip around with the grapple, generate plenty of pace with the roller-skates or leap about with the spring boots and inflatable insoles. If stealth is more your cup of tea you can use ninja smoke bombs to become temporarily invincible or opt for the targeting goggles which allow you to spot enemies through walls and mark their location on your teammatesí map.

Very few items are available from the outset but you earn unlock tokens as you level up and these allow you to unlock the item of your choice, giving you a good reason to keep playing and earn the weapon, gadget or mod your heart desires. Make sure you pick wisely though Ė upgrade tokens run out much quicker than youíd like, and leveling-up slows down significantly as you progress. If you get impatient itís also possible to use real-life money to buy an item at any time, something relatively new to the PS3.

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Gotham City Imposters is a decent shooter, albeit not quite perfect - patches are promised though.
Along with all the weapons, gadgets and mods you can also unlock passive bonuses, known as Fun Facts in the game. These Fun Facts do things like grant you extra health or make you immune to extra damage from head-shots or increase/decrease bullet damage. You can also earn Rampages which are short duration bonuses earned by dying five times in a row, or earning 1200XP without dying. The Rampages give you bonuses like double-damage, 75% damage reduction, a speed increase or reveal enemy locations on your map.

You can also customize your characters appearance, and while some things such as the face-paint of your Joker character, or the cape your Batman lookalike wears donít have an in-game effect, it can be fun to make a character with a semi-unique look. You earn costume coins used to buy costume items every time you play the game, but you wonít get many so if you want to really spice up your character youíll have to invest a lot of time (and I mean a LOT) or buy items with real-life money.

The body-type of your character does have an in-game effect and you can choose from one of five builds; speedy, nimble, tough, burly and mighty. Speedy and nimble characters get a bonus to their speed and are very small making them harder to hit, but heavier equipment will slow them down. Burly and mighty characters get bonuses to their health and melee but are easier to hit because theyíre much bigger. On the plus side they receive small or no penalty from heavy equipment. The tough build is very much middle of the road, and receives no bonuses or penalties.

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Visually Gotham City Imposters impresses.
Just about everything you do is tracked in Gotham City Impostors and there are experience point rewards for reaching certain objectives, known as Feats. There are rewards for killing a set number of enemies, winning a number of matches, being the MVP in a round, sprinting a set distance, killing enemies with a specific gadget or modÖ basically anything you can think of is tracked and rewarded. The thresholds for the rewards are usually high though, so you wonít rely on them.

So far as issues go Gotham City Impostors only has a couple, but theyíre big ones. The biggest issue is the poor match-making that results in lengthy waits when trying to play a game. Itís not uncommon to have waits of over five minutes, and a couple of times I waited longer than ten minutes to find a game, which is unacceptable in my opinion. The wait times are generally shorter for Team Deathmatch and longer for Fumigation and Psych Warfare which means youíll probably spend most of your time playing the former.

A second issue is a bug that is apparently wiping player stats completely. This bug hasnít affected my game but there are some reports of high-level characters losing everything, and thatís a major concern. Work has already begun on fixing both of these issues, but the match-making fix is still a few weeks away, while itís hard to speculate on a fix date for the stat-wiping bug. One other thing that bugged me is that you canít mute players using headsets. This is another issue that will be fixed next month, but it meant I had to mute my TV more often than Iíd have liked.

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GCI really needs better match making.
Graphically Gotham City Impostors is very impressive, especially because itís a download-only title. The cut-scenes look great, and the little cartoons you get when you unlock a new item have a consistent look, and are often worth a chuckle. The levels are well-designed for the most part, and you never feel unduly advantaged or disadvantaged based on the gadget youíre using.

There isnít much music in the game but the effects are of high caliber for the most part. The weapons all sound beefy and explosions pack a decent punch. I enjoyed some of the one-liners you hear when you die, and the obscene Joker voice, complete with bleeps fits the mood well. Some of the voices are a bit annoying, and youíll hear many comments repeated, but thatís a small complaint really.

Gotham City Impostors doesnít feature a lot of different game modes, and while that will turn some people off, the deep level of customization available will appeal to just as many. For example, by selecting a different body-type, gadget and Fun Fact, you can totally change the way you play the game. The level design is intelligent and the action is fast and frantic. If youíre not suffering from first-person shooter burnout then Gotham City Impostors provides an entertaining and surprisingly deep game.

Review By: Mike Allison

GRAPHICSGreat in comparison to most download-only titles and pretty decent by normal game standards.
SOUNDThereís not much here but the sound effects pack a punch.
GAMEPLAYFast-paced and entertaining throughout. Excellent level design makes for tense battles.
VALUEThere is a huge amount to unlock, and progress is steady enough to keep you interested. The fact that there are just three game modes will turn some people off.
OVERALLGotham City Impostors looks great and is a blast to play. If you donít have shooter fatigue itís well worth checking out.

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