In a world full of serious military shooters, Gotham City Impostors is a breath of fresh air. From the introduction movie to the tutorial, through to the various in-game mechanics, everything is presented with a tongue firmly lodged in the cheek. Whilst Batman is away, two groups fight on the streets of Gotham: Batman clones and Joker clones. They don’t have the same budget as Bruce Wayne, or the maniacal genius of the Joker, and therefore both sets of gangs fight using low grade weaponry and home made gadgets. This results in a six versus six multiplayer shooter, moulded on Team Fortress 2. Whilst the comparisons are certainly there, Impostors has enough going for it to be very much its own game.
There are three game modes available, Team Deathmatch, Fumigation and Psych Warfare. Those last two are essentially territories and capture the flag, but they have their own twists. In fumigation there are three points to hold, and holding two of the three for an extended period of time causes victory. In most other titles the game would simply end there; in Impostors however, the losing team is subjected to either death by a swarm of bats or poisonous gas cloud.
Psych Warfare is my favourite though, and goes a step further in its lunacy. In any map there is a single battery that the teams must grab and take with them to a brainwashing machine. Some protection of the machine is required whilst it juices up, and upon completion, the brainwashing begins. It demoralises the opposition and strips them of their weapons, and further kills on the opposition awards bonuses. Whilst in this demoralising state, all is not lost however, as a melee panic-slap can one-hit-kill the gloating enemy. Once the brainwashing ceases, the battery is reset and all begins anew.
Something else that sets Impostors apart are the support items and gadgets available. These range from bear traps and energy drinks, to roller-skates and spring boots. By far the most fun however is the glider rig, which allows you to glide across the map and swoop down at enemies for a quick kill. Air vents and trampolines are littered throughout the levels and allow players to remain in the air for extended periods of time.
It’s telling then that the default aim speed is faster than most other shooters, as Impostors is fast and frantic. Characters bounce, glide, roller-skate and grapple all over the map, and some quick reflexes are required to pull those off successfully. Think more Unreal Tournament than Call of Duty and you’re be on the right wavelength for the motion.
For your money there are only the three games modes and five maps in Impostors however, but the now-standard player progression is also present to add some longevity to the experience. Weapon attachments and skins are available, as well as character customisation including appearance and attributes. Choose a skinny avatar and expect to be fast but have little health, but choose a bigger character to have more health but move slower and be an easier target for your foes. Even the player voice and pitch can be altered, although it does seem to be that most people are running around sounding more like Joe Pasquale impostors than Batman or Joker. There are a bunch more customisation items available, and it’s all topped off with a ‘Calling Card’ wthat lets you have you own icons and catchphrase.
It’s worth noting however that, at first, your foray into the world of Impostors might not be a smooth ride. Even after taking the tutorial, it took me several games to get into the flow of the game, and it didn’t help matters that Team Deathmatch, arguably the bread and butter of most other titles, is actually the weakest aspect of the game. Given the fun way that Monolith have taken standard shooter modes and made them interesting, it is somewhat disappointing that a couple more varieties aren’t present. What is on offer is a lot of fun however, and in the end the brilliant humour and crazy gameplay – coupled with the lengthy customisation options (which will take dozens of hours to fully explore) – lend to a title well worth a look.