Gotham City Impostors preview A Jokers take on multiplayer

Mr. Wayne is also not known for being terribly thrifty. Remember that scene in Batman Begins when he hangs out with Morgan Freeman and talks about all that high tech military grade gear he’s got to buy to survive dealing with Gotham’s steady stream of super villains? You never heard him say, “That sounds good, but is there a generic option we can go with?” Dude loves his name brands.

But what if you don’t have the resources of the Wayne empire, but want to gallivant around stopping crime? You’re going to have to improvise. That’s what unsanctioned gangs the Bats and the Jokerz have to do in Gotham City Impostors in order to imitate their heroes.

Envious of Batman’s famous grappling hook? Toss together something vaguely resembling a hook, something to fire it with, and a super strong fishing rod to reel yourself in. Functional, and on a budget! Got your eye on that gliding cape of his? Strap the nearest kite to your back and take that leap of faith off the nearest tall building. What’s the worst that can happen? A fan of the Joker’s more comical approach to getting around? How about throwing on a pair of beach balls to your shoes that somehow allow you to double jump. Of course that doesn’t make sense. Don’t worry about it. It’s Gotham City Impostors.

Obviously, you’re going to have to learn to use all that piecemeal gear. That’s where the Challenge mode comes in. Through a series of increasingly difficult trials, players will learn the ins and outs of life with their shoddy gear. After a while, grappling up to a rooftop, blasting a target with your rifle, flinging yourself off the building and nailing the next target in mid-air will feel natural and smooth. Once you’re there, it’s time to take it online.

The challenge modes do a really great job of introducing you to these somewhat weird transportation abilities. In most other shooters, you’re restricted to one plane of movement. Maps in GCI are designed with players having the ability to get to higher levels in mind. At first, the freedom is a bit overwhelming, but with the Challenges gradually introducing you to the freeform movement, it will all begin to feel very natural fairly quickly.

Okay, imagine a dude on roller skates, sprinting around dressed as a third rate Batman with a leaking battery strapped to his back, flinging himself off ramps haphazardly, hoping to get to a generator and plug that bad boy in. Now, if he succeeds in doing so, the opposing team becomes demoralized and briefly loses their weapons, reducing them to Goldeneye-style slappers. It sounds goofy as all get out, but it’s ­­­Psych Warfare, GCI’s version of the classic Capture The Flag mode.

One might think that the more aerial-focused transportation abilities may be the best choice for flag captures. Not so. What could be more obvious than a tubby dude with green hair floating through the sky, all the while leaking battery acid? Stick to your rollerskates, friends. They’re much more subtle, plus you can duck behind cover if you need to.

Of course, there’s a more traditional team deathmatch mode for straight up killing one another. Tagging your opponent with a well-aimed arrow as they bound up the side of a building using one of the trampolines inexplicably strewn around the maps is equal parts satisfying and hilarious, especially if you put it right through their half-assed Bat symbol chest emblem. Stupid poser Batmen. Jokerz rule!

In team deathmatch, an effective approach is to grab a grappling hook and sniper rifle and head to high ground. That slick sniper spot is easy to get up to without having to worry too much about missing your target, and the escape route is but a mere hook shot away. Bring along a homemade pipe bomb for maximum artillery goodness.

In a way, Gotham City Impostors is Gotham from the perspective of the Joker. Everything is chaotic, highlighting the hilarious and anarchic result of low-level gangs doing their very best to emulate the larger than life characters that have become iconic in their city. The line between villain and hero is blurred to the point of nonexistence, and it’s time to revel in it. Why so serious, indeed.

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