Thursday, February 16, 2012

Game Review - Gotham City Impostors (PC)

I've played a bit of Gotham City Impostors and it's a pretty fun and colorful game. The premise is that Batman and the Joker are too busy with each other on occasion to bother with a large group of boozed up, crazy, weirdo Gotham City residents who take it upon themselves to dress up in make shift Batman and Joker gear and duke it out.

First I'd like to point out that the game is very much for adults, so please don't buy this for your kids thinking it's going to be a silly brawler. There's a lot of bad language and behavior from the introductory characters and the costumes are not exactly modest at times. That's not even to mention that listening to the actual players in voice chat is much like stepping into a Call of Duty match online. Lot's of talk about how they were screwing your mother last night and questioning the size of your junk.

The gameplay itself is a team based FPS and I've seen a lot of reviewers compare it to TF2 which I think is not even remotely accurate. Beyond being a team based FPS the game is really its own beast. That's the one part I think they did a great job with. There are a lot of unique moves and I love that the maps encourage you to make liberal use of gliding through the air, jumping high off of trampolines, and using grappling hooks. You don't have to play that way to be effective but it's cool that they give you much more opportunity for it than any other game I've seen.

There are three multiplayer game modes, a tutorial mode called "Initiation", and a challenges mode that is pretty self explanatory but nice in that it let's you test out all the doohickies and explore the maps. The multiplayer is the meat of the game and has the following modes:

Team Death Match - This one is your typical team vs. team gameplay. There is a set time limit and plays to 50 team kills.

Fumigation - This one is a capture point game. You stand next to gas dispensers and if you stay close for long enough that point belongs to your team. Basically you win by having your gas push out the other team's gas. It's all based on percentages, the team that controls the majority of the points gains percentage in the game and this continues tug of war style as the points are captured and lost. In the end the team that can hold the majority for the longest, until they hit that 100% saturation of their gas, wins. This was my favorite of the game modes.

Psych Warfare - I hated this one. It's steal the bacon. Grab the battery, take it back to your hypnosis propaganda machine thing and plug the battery in. Keep the enemy away from it long enough and you win! Except once the enemy team has the battery plugged in, it's extremely hard to turn the game around. I didn't think it was very well implemented, though waving your arms in front of you when your team loses a point and you're driven crazy is kind of hilariously fun.

One thing I didn't like about all the game modes was that there is no customization. The game chooses the time limits, kill limits...everything. The most you can do is object to the map that the game picked for you and hope that others also vote it down.

As you play you earn points for various achievements, kills, etc. Once you have enough points you can put them toward unlocking costume items. As you progress in levels you also start to unlock weapon keys and upgrades. When you first start the game you have a whole lot of nothing, which I was a little frustrated with. However, things seem to unlock relatively quickly and eventually you get the ability to start customizing your character. This was something that I both liked and disliked about the game. You don't get to choose whether you're a Batman or a Joker, you get randomly assigned. However, you do get the option to customize both costumes.

I like the ideas behind this game but you just don't get enough bang for your buck.

This game may work better on console than it does on PC. There is just too much neglect when it comes to the PC version and options. This is especially apparent when you have to start out the game battling with Games for Windows Live.

The match making system is total crap. It tries to do everything for you and makes the choices poorly. There is also not a huge player base, which is not really the game's fault, but still adds to the crappiness that is match making. There's no option for running a dedicated server. There's no option to pick where you connect to. So, you can't filter out a game that you might have a bad connection to. If it happens to be some guy hosting from Mongolia somewhere he's going to be the only one with a decent ping and rip everyone apart until they get out and hope for a better match next time.

There is supposedly a fix coming for this terrible match making, but I can not stand when devs think it's OK to push such a poor and clearly unfinished product.

To add to your troubles, I had a lot of difficulty connecting with a friend. In the end, he was able to grab me in and send an invite from his Games for Windows Live list while I was not at all able to locate him on mine and do the same.

At $15 I can't recommend this game. However, with some big improvements that the devs should have LAUNCHED the game with, I can see it easily being worth the cash. As of right now, I say skip it and wait for a few updates.

As it stands I give this game a reluctant 3 out of 5 because I can see it potentially climbing to an easy 4 out of 5 with suspected improvements. I know that seems a little high based on a mostly negative review, but it's hard to describe how original the gameplay feels. It's a lot of fun if you have the patience and fortitude to look past its many faults.

Rating Key: (0) Burn it with fire (1) Bad (2) Meh (3) OK/Average (4) Thumbs Up (5) Marry It

Note: A special thanks to [MR] Teatime for his collaboration on this review!

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