When I was three years old, I was totally addicted to Batman. He was my favorite of all the Super Friends, by far, and I was constantly running around the house acting like the Caped Crusader. So enamored was I of the Dark Knight that my parents purchased two or three Batman costumes each Halloween because I wore through them so much. While I don't run around in Batman underoos anymore (none in my size), I still consider Batman one of my favorite characters.
Gotham City Impostors takes the whole concept of dressing up like Batman and combines it with a team-based first person shooter. If that sounds bizarre to you, it's because it is. Gotham City Impostors is easily one of the strangest games I've ever played. Strange isn't necessarily a bad thing, but in this case, it's almost as if the game is too odd for its own good.
While the tone of most Batman stories as of late has been very gritty and downright depressing in some instances, Gotham City Impostors is the total opposite. It has far more in common with the BIFF! and POW! filled Adam West series from the 60s than Bale's Dark Knight. You don't play as Batman, or even the Joker; instead, you are a member of a gang that idolizes either the Caped Crusader or the Clown Prince of Crime. There are lots of options for customizing your avatar and costume, using parts like cardboard boxes or bath towels tied around your neck. Weird, yes, but fun as well.
Aside from a brief series of training levels, and some time challenges, Gotham City Impostors is strictly an online multiplayer experience. When you play, you are assigned to Team Bats or Team Joker at random, with a cap on group size of six players. Team deathmatch and a few other common game types like capture the flag are available, and there are a handful of maps available. You choose a loadout before the match, and when you spawn, you are thrown into a fast paced, chaotic firefight almost immediately.
The controls are very intuitive, even for an online FPS scrub like me. There is a good variety of weaponry available, ranging from the typical shotguns and rifles to sticks of dynamite and boomerangs. There are even gimmick items like roller skates and see-through-walls goggles. There's a winking, slapstick feel to the combat, a sense of humor that permeates the whole game. It's hard to get too upset at being sniped by a guy wearing purple leopard striped leggings, especially when he spews a goofy one-liner at you.
Sadly, the novelty of Gotham City Impostors wears off rather quickly. Finding a game seems to take a bit too long, and while there is a level up system with rewards in place, I can't imagine that the gameplay is significantly different at higher levels. Another thing that bothered me is the fact that the Batman-based costumes are much harder to see in contrast to the backgrounds than the dayglo Joker squad. While it's thematic for Batman clones to be stealthy, it feels like an unfair advantage to me.
While I can't say Gotham City Impostors is a bad game, it's not great either. It hovers right in there somewhere between average and good. The humor and over-the-top items and weapons certainly make it stand out, but there are dozens of other games that give you almost the same experience. A story or campaign mode could have been fun, but as a multiplayer-only title, Gotham City Impostors is just a one trick pony. Running around in a Batman costume with a rocket launcher is fun for a while, but you'll probably be ready to move on to something meatier fairly quickly.