Note: This game has since become a F2P title

Monolith’s Gotham City Impostors is a quirky, albeit functional, first person shooter, published by Warner Brothers Games. Although compared to free-to-play games, Gotham City Impostors’ plethora of downloadable cosmetics can be bought easily, and quite quickly, through a system of in game tokens that really doesn’t require the player to splash out more than the 11.99 (GBP) RRP. Sure, there are supplementary XP boosts for the somewhat hefty cost of 240 Microsoft points, but having played with people at a striking level 246–gaining level 8 myself within a couple of hours–it seems as though access to all your 11.99 has to offer is no desperate cause.

In reality, Gotham City Impostors is a strikingly polished title, and at only 11.99, Gotham City Impostors goes above and beyond the Call of Duty. 

Dust off the roller skates; there are jumps, trampolines, and gliders between you and your arch enemy!

Jump, skate, duck, grapple and blast your way through a highly decorated honey-comb of detailed, visually pleasing maps. From dock-yards to theme parks, Gotham City Impostors features 6 beautifully crafted maps that rival similar first person shooters in dynamic and design.

Although comparable in size to Call of Duty, the maps feature many more routes, and a much more three-dimensional interaction, with players able to fly, grapple, and jump across large chunks – opening up a much more fluid, exciting experience than restricted military shooters. The maps are decisively quirky – with acid-goo pits, theme park rides and decorative colonial homes – all filled with tight hall-ways, trampolines, and plenty of entrances and exits to have you spinning around, frantically trying to cover all sides.

The game features four game modes and an initiation tutorial. This tutorial introduces you to the various gadgets – from boomerangs and bear traps to toxic gas (in the form of baked beans) and an ‘air denier’ which is a taser

wrapped in duct tape (why not?). The introduction serves to set the tone as much as it teaches you the game mechanics; two ‘Batz’ showing you the ropes. The segment isn’t necessarily important, but it does explain exactly what the game is about. It doesn’t take itself seriously, and these two goons serve as the epitome of the essence of Gotham City Impostors. Essentially, it’s a tutorial just like any other – but with lovable vigilante’s you can’t say no to.

Arguably, the main game-mode in Gotham City Impostors is team death match. Whilst challenges offers a single player break, it’s not really something you’ll want to spend a lot of time on; entailing clever use of all of the support items, such as the grappling hook, you’re merely tasked with… well… using them – which is something you’ll have a blast doing in team death match, anyway. Aside from challenges, there’s psych warfare which is really just a derivation of capture the flag – where both teams need to capture a battery in order to power a propaganda machine to demoralize the enemy. Whilst this mode will be a welcome addition for some, competitive team-play really isn’t Gotham City Imposters strong suit. The game even features it’s own derivation of conquest mode, called ‘fumigation’, whereby players must capture three points in order to unleash a deadly weapon and procure area supremacy. Again, this falls short of anyone’s real favorite - a view supported by the availability of teams in match making – but acts as nice additional content for a relatively cheap title.

I’ve saved the best til’ last, though – because team death match is where Gotham City Impostors really shines. A solid, aesthetically pleasing first person shooter, Gotham City Impostors offers the Call of Duty experience with none of the pretense – with a little Shadowrun for good measure. It has been criticized for emulating the Call of Duty experience, but it merely borrows elements from Call of Duty and adds it’s own hilariously quirky mechanics, atop a tried and tested fabric. Gotham City Impostors is free from the restraints of military shooters. Monolith have the freedom to provide all that makes those games good, but hasn’t felt a need to refrain from pushing the boat out further – which gives Gotham City Impostors an edge, regardless of your views on the competition.

Shooting is competent - and whilst it isn’t as meaty as some other shooters, it is important to note that this is a whimsical cartoon world filled with some similar-to-life weapons, as well as some down-right ridiculous ones, albeit mostly in the support range. What the guns lack in ‘oomph’ they make up for with the satisfaction of visual DPS hit-counters that show exactly where, and for how much, you’re hitting the enemy. Derivative of Borderlands, one might be dubious as to the feature – but it really works; there’s nothing like pumping a few rounds into the head of a big fella’ as red damage text flies out letting you know how pummeled he’s really getting. I’m not saying the guns sound bad by any measure–they sound at least as good as Call of Duty, but remember, this is a comic book world – with quips and one liners, beeps and squeaks aiding an auditory party fit for the Joker.

New players will find themselves sticking to old habits, using dot sights and assault rifles – but as you progress, you’ll note the usefulness of the rocket-launcher and katana. Each weapon has its own pro’s and con’s – but they’re all relatively balanced. If a weapon doesn’t meet your requirements, you can update and modify at your leisure – unlocking items, requiring no payment.

Pick on someone your own size… and style

Player sizes vary a-la Brink; larger players slower, but able to take more damage – whilst slender players dot and weave in the hope that they manage to dodge enemy fire. This works quite well, with the big guys able to take a respectably larger pounding than their skinny counterparts – although I did find that for all intents and purposes, a head-shot is a head-shot – and whilst, sure, it’s harder to hit a faster target in the head, it wasn’t too much harder than hitting the bigger guys – though they take more damage. To a certain extent, that offered a little imbalance, considering the lack of recoil on most of the weaponry.

Still, regardless of whether you’re a portly gent or a slender fellow, so long as you have played well you will be rewarded with a police line-up at the end of every round – showcasing your customization. Bringing me to much of the controversy (if you can call it that) regarding the store. Although cosmetics, as stated, can be purchased for in game tokens earned through playing, you can also purchase the complete pack for 800 Microsoft points. Alarm bells might ring, but unnecessarily so: the ability to customize your character is unlocked at level 8, and as much as it nice to unlock everything all at once – it is also nice to gradually unlock each piece individually. Ideally, you’ll want a set for the Batz and the Jokerz – requiring, really, one item for each part of the body (head, cowl, chest, legs, hands, feet etc.) You could unlock your perfect character in around 10 hours or so of gameplay – and the cosmetic differences mean little in game, they’re merely an option if you wish to show-case your fashion sense.

Still, Monolith have offered items that cannot be purchased with in-game credits, such as extra cosmetic items that float around your character, and a set of XP boost consumables – one which gives +50% XP boost permanently to you, another which offers +25% to the entire team and a set of ‘calling cards’ and ‘mascots’. Mascots are a superfluous toy like object that sit idly by your character, serving no purpose other than to look cute – and the calling cards serve in a similar way to Battlefield 3‘s

dog tags. Whilst none of these are necessary–even the XP boost–they’re the primary reason Gotham City Impostors has disingenuously been dumped in the F2P market. It is, however, up to you to decide the importance of such items – I found no need, and had a great time without them.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t buy or aim to acquire the cosmetic items. With such favorites as ‘The Dark Knit’ (a knitted head-piece) and other ingenious ‘wanna-be’ Batman and Joker items made lovingly from house-hold goods, dressing up your character could be seen either a superfluous supplement to a solid shooter – or half the game in and of itself. Whichever way you look at it, dressing up your character is a welcome addition to an already feature crammed shooter.

The fps market is saturated – do we need another shooter?

Sure, it’s saturated – but with what? Where did the twitch shooter go? Where are the fun shooters? In a market where everyone wants to play army boy, those of us with more casual tastes and a little sense of humor are left in the dark. Even up and coming twitch shooters take themselves too seriously in another sense, so Gotham City Impostors is a welcome addition to the genre. It offers much in the name of style and features, incorporating elements from games such as Shadowrun and Call of Duty without making their mistakes. Gotham City Impostors is a highly polished, well detailed and visually pleasing shooter that offers gamers the chance to laugh and kill all at the same time – which, really, is the essence of the dark and twisted world of Gotham City in the first place. A dark, whimsical, homicidal venture into a quirky realm – Monolith have crammed a wealth of features into a tiny price, and given you the chance, if you so wish, to enrich your experience and make it your own.

Initial release was plagued with broken match-making and an inability to alter your FOV – but Monolith were (relatively) quick to fix these problems – and although Games for Windows Live is still the thorn in the side of every gamer, Gotham City Impostors is a relatively problem free release, suitable for every competent gamer with a thirst for fun. At less than RRP in some places, there’s no reason not to try it for yourself.