Review by bbears

"A decent game with a bad free to play model."

Gotham City Imposters was initially a $15 game that offered a lot of content which came out for both consoles and PC. Offering a unique and humorous aesthetic, solid mechanics, and lots of content Gotham City Imposters was definitely worth checking despite it's flaws. Unfortunately Monolith decided to take the game free to play because evidently financially the game was not successful. Generally I'm perfectly fine with free to play games if they done fair and not exploitative. The business model the developers have chosen though were bad for this unlock driven game and has become pay to win instead with all it's unbalanced weapons. Not mention that the players that actually paid the $15 have been shafted in this whole process. While there is a good game in it's present package bad net code and the poor implementation of the business model mean that players will probably find more value for their money and bigger FPS communities elsewhere.

PRESENTATION
Gotham City Imposters does do a good job in the presentation department. With a soft colorful comic book art style Gotham City Imposters looks great in motion and has a lot of goofy character going for it. All the avatars are either part of a rag tag Batman or Joker gang making their costumes out of drawn on cardboard and duct tape. Technically the game is very competent and the art style really sets the tone for the absurd concept of this game. There is a lot of unlockable costumes and individual customization including having a large variety of voices and taunts to pick from. Sound design is while competent isn't as crazy and some of the weapons lack a sense of satisfying impact. The other sound effects and music is not as memorable.

INTERFACE
Gotham City Imposters handles very similar to Call of Duty. Some people are turned off by hit scanning gameplay but regardless of that COD does it better than anyone else. Mouse and keyboard controls are smooth and fully rebindable. There is also a huge amount of menus to navigate through. All those customization options means that you can easily become lost in the menus. Fortunately though for the most part the menus make sense and you will find what you are looking for and be able to change it with little fuss. What is a big problem and one of the major hindrances to the game is the net code. Frequently while playing, both before and after the free to play update, mid game I was booted for no reason. On top of that joining a game in the first place can take 5+ minutes sometimes, which kind of defeats the purpose of this of this quick pick up and play game.

GAMEPLAY
Gotham City Imposters is a smooth COD clone with the addition of a few mobility abilities. The player chooses to have a glider or even roller skates that give a unique dynamic to the action and even a vertical element. Multiplayer only there are three modes. Team death match is simply the first team to 50 kills. Killing the opponent is as straight forward as any other game of this type although players do have decent sized health bars that regen the last 10 percent. Psych Warfare is is basically capture the flag and fumigation is basically headquarters or king of the hill types game modes. The community nor the game provide a worth while tutorial for these modes though and as such are very disorganized not focusing on the objective. This makes team death match the best mode which is fine as the best part of the game is just the hilarious fast paced combat itself. Gotham City Imposters could have benefited from a free for all mode and also upping the game lobbies to greater than just 5 versus 5 matches. The maps themselves are very well designed and take advantage of the added mobility well. Weapons are available in huge variety through unlocks. These weapons can also be upgraded and customized and reflect the goofy tone of the game. From the machine gun made out of a vacuum cleaner that shoots ball bearings to random melee weapons there is some new toy for you to try out constantly. That said these weapons are also unbalanced. In the context of the unlock system this is OK though as only a few players can get the powerful weapons in later levels and the peer to peer match making works well enough to not make this an issue (when it connects you to game in the first place) but the ability to buy these weapons throws the balancing off greatly.

BUSINESS MODEL
For a free to play game the business model is one of the most important aspects of the game. Namely whether or not the player is allowed to straight up buy more powerful gear for cash. The unfortunate answer to this is yes. The weapons are not balanced and the game mainly matches players on level only not giving notice to what equipment they actually have. This means a low level character can buy with real money a weapon that shouldn't be accessed for 20+ levels giving them a significant advantage. The other main way the developer tries to get you spend money is with XP boosts and unlocks of all the costume stuff. What is really bad though is if you paid the $15 for the game initially you lost all of your XP and unlocks that you would have accumulated. Instead you are placed back at level 1 and given several packages for “free”. The total of the packages don't relate to what you had and being an early supporter of the game I definitely fell like I got shafted. Regardless of that though buying power with real money at low level was a bad decision that adversely affects the rest of the game.

VERDICT
Gotham City Imposters was a flawed game that I bought for $15 but still enjoyed. When it went free to play I decided to come back to it and give it a second go around. Unfortunately the poor net code was never fixed and the new business model is a detriment to gameplay. With so many shooters out there competing for there attention you should not give time or money to this one.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/14/13

Game Release: Gotham City Impostors (US, 02/06/12)


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