My first thoughts on seeing the early promotional material for Gotham City Imposters was that Warner Brothers Interactive were really cashing in on the success of Arkham Asylum by churning out another quick game loosely based around The Caped Crusaders beloved home town. As a result I wasn't particularly enthusiastic when I got told I was going to be checking it out, but in hindsight I should have been a lot more excited because it's great fun.
The game's got a fairly simple concept, you join teams of wannabes, who have decided to dress up as either Batman or The Joker and are referred to as The Bats and The Jokerz, before causing chaos in the streets as they attempt to finish each other off and the final game'll throw teams consisting of six players against one another. These crazy citizens aren't opposed to picking up a weapon or two, so you can expect to run screaming at your enemies whilst clutching a bomb, a couple of gadgets, and of course some rather destructive explosives. Those of you who are expecting any legendary characters to turn up will be sorely disappointed because this game takes place during the day when they're taking a well deserved power nap. There's also a decent amount of humour thrown into the mix, which makes this one quite refreshing because it doesn't take itself too seriously.
The map that we got to play on seemed to be a very typical city type environment that lulled you into a false sense of security and caused you to quickly slip into a Call Of Duty style approach to the game, which is a big mistake! As you creep around the streets crouching behind dumpsters and cautiously edging forward to flush your enemies out of hiding, you assume you're safe. Then suddenly a storm of bullets rains down on you and you're dead before you know it! The reason for this is that you can get to out of the way places you couldn't ordinarily do in a typical shooter, thanks to the mobility gadgets coupled with some fun items that are scattered around like trampolines, so you can sneak around behind the other team by zipping up to the rooftops and jumping down behind them using the grappling gun, or stealthily gliding through the air before crashing down on them by sticking the bat wings into your characters loadout.
Most shooter fans'll be familiar with the different types of characters that you can take into the fray, but clicking on the default settings aren't what this one's about, it encourages you to customise your own settings and inventory, which is why they've put a levelling system into the game that unlocks more stuff as you go along. You'll also get to earn Costume Coins, which can be used to buy new costume items that'll help you to design a unique character in comparison to everybody else who's playing the game.
In the fumigation mode that we got to play you had to gain control of gasblasters that were placed in strategic spots around the environment and spewed out gas, the colour of which depended on whether or not you were in control of them; red meant they belonged to the opposing team, green meant they were under your control. A percentage counters running at the bottom of the screen to show you which team's got the upper hand in terms of gas saturation, but even if you're facing a catastrophic defeat there's a chance that you'll claw your way out of the jaws of death, for example my team were down to 4% and made a spectacular come back to win the round.
When you get down to it though this one's not just about gimmicky gadgets and the lure of jumping into a DC Comics themed universe, it's also a shooter and luckily it's pretty solid! Switching to look down your sights happens almost as soon as you've clicked the required button and it's fairly easy to accurately target the part of your enemies body you want to hit, which is particularly good if you're after a headshot or two. Also, you won't be surprised by the power of the explosives, they're more than capable of taking out a group of enemies who are clumped together, which is particularly amusing when you're sitting on top of a building looking down at them and they've got no idea where the offending item has come from.
I don't really know what to say other than playing the game's made me a fan when previously I couldn't have cared less about it, so I suppose the moral of the story there's that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. If you're of the opinion that it's not going to be any good though, then I couldn't recommend strongly enough that you give it more of a chance, because you might be missing out on something that'll reward you with hours of enjoyable multiplayer mayhem. At the very least it'll add variety to your shooter collection, whilst coming in handy for times when you've only got a short time slot to fill and you want to have a good laugh.
Gotham City Imposters is out on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, early next year and you're looking at spending 1200 Microsoft Points on Xbox Live, whereas it'll set you back just under £10 ($14.99) if you pick it up via Playstation Network.