5 O's, No Apologies.

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Gotham City ImpostorsDeveloped by – Monolith Productions

Published by – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Number of Players – 6-12

Platform – Xbox 360 (Reviewed), PS3, PC

Release Date – Out now for Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Genre – FPS

ESRB – Teen

MSRP – Approx. $15

I hate first-person shooters. I think that in most cases they represent everything that’s wrong with video games and the rather stunted growth of the genre has led to a relatively stunted community of players more concerned with their kill/death ratio than actually playing games that have artistic merit. Still, the idea of a Batman-inspired shooter was too good to pass up.

The premise of Gotham City Impostors pretty much doesn’t make any sense. A couple of Batman and Joker idolizing gangs have at it in the streets of Gotham because…well, because using licenses to put out games that vaguely represent the original license makes money? (Chocobo Racing, anyone? Really any of those Chocobo games.) So the premise is silly but the game itself is actually pretty okay.

This is the class-based first person shooter version of Wacky Races. You aren’t confined to just guns and grenades. Trampolines, ramps and glider gadgets allow you to make the most of your environment to get an advantage. The glider gadget dive-bomb is definitely one of the silliest ways to kill someone but a team with a certain penchant for the skilll can wreak havoc. The guns are pretty standard. Each comes with a series of unlockable weapon mods but nothing is significantly overpowered. If anything, most of the guns seem underwhelming compared to similar weapons in other games. Camping is tough because of the fast pace of the game which is good news for players who are constantly frustrated with others who simply learn maps and take cheap shots. Gameplay is smooth, though. Despite additions to the genre like roller skates and grappling hooks, it plays like just about any other high quality FPS.

The art style is a big draw for the game. It recalls Team Fortress 2 and allows for the developers to place humor at the forefront of the game. And thankfully, they do! Your initiation into the Bats gang is as wacky and hilarious as anything in TF2 although the characters are definitely nothing to latch onto considering the level of customization. The sound plays right into the tone of the artistic direction. Catchphrases come in a variety of voices. Gadgets and weapons have their own unique and sometimes silly sounds. And the music makes the comic book setting even more apparent.

But GCI takes the class-based shooter genre one step further. By allowing you to customize your loadouts down to your body type and perks, players are able to full control the way they play the game. You can make a medic that actually carries an effective weapon for once or snipers that can effectively defend themselves at close range. It’s this kind of control that enables GCI to set itself apart from the pack of downloadable FPS’s. Part of the reason for this level of customization is that Monolith has packed the game full of unlockable goodies which you are also free to simply purchase. To unlock everything in the game including every costume, perk, mod and weapon, Monolith has set the level cap at 1000. Good luck on that grind.

But the game isn’t without it’s flaws. Additional game modes are vastly underutilized compared to the Team Deathmatch option but that’s to be expected. Worst of all, the matchmaking interface is infuriating. Trying to party up with friends and get into the same game is even harder. There is no way to drop in to a game already in progress and the game won’t start with less then six players. It makes the time between games an exercise in endurance that hinders the overall experience.

Gotham City Impostors is a silly game obviously meant for gamers who enjoy their FPS experience with a side of laughs. While there is some appeal for hardcore gamers, the audience is clearly a more casual audience for those Xbox 360 or PS3 players who haven’t abandoned the console for the PC version of TF2. Future updates should smooth over some of the matchmaking lobby related issues but Gotham City Impostors definitely holds it’s own as a quirky, high quality FPS that’s an absolute steal at it’s low price point.

Story: 1 / Graphics: 4 / Audio: 4 / Gameplay: 4 / Overall: 4

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