‘Gotham City Impostors’ First Impressions
This week sees the Australian Playstation Network offer gamers the chance to enjoy a free hour of gameplay on their new multiplayer Batman game ‘Gotham City Imposters’. When this game was announced it seemed like an odd fit. First person shooters dominate the online gaming market and whilst the Batman franchise is an original way to approach the genre (as opposed to the dozens of interchangeable realistic war simulators flooding the market). And originality is a never something to be sniffed at.
But why Batman? This is a character who specifically doesn’t use fire-arms, yet this game is based around unloading bullets into each other. That gets explained away thus: when Batman isn’t around the ‘Bats’ come out – a bunch of low-budget vigilantes who have been inspired to fight crime. Each round features the Bats battling it out with the ‘Jokerz’, a similar group inspired by the Joker. That’s all there is to it – the Bats never tackle any other criminals and the Jokerz never commit any other crime making the characters only aesthetically different.
Based on the limited experienced offered by this free trail, nothing in the game seemed to fit well together. Firearms don’t fit well with the Batman ethos and the cartoony style doesn’t fit well with the level of violence (although the fat dude in the cardboard box Batman mask is funny). The extra gadgets such as grappling hooks, roller skates and explosives are original but are to fiddly, being awkward to use and sometimes only useful in designated spots of the map. The bright and colourful arenas are a departure from the usual FPS setting but everything blends together and becomes visual static.
Not helped is the fact that the server was chugging along during these initial play through rounds. Whenever there was more than one other character in the same area it was like a low-budget stop motion. Being a DLC title also meant the the graphics and animation in general don’t measure up. The wacky style may appeal to some but like much of the game it felt out of place.
A game like this would have been successful if they’d taken the concept and applied it to a different genre. As it stands it will be competing with every other FPS on the market, which means it will look pretty poor by comparison.