December 19, 2012 by Devin
It’s that time of the year when everyone seems to be doing “Best of” lists. Considering I have not played nearly enough games to make such a list, this is just a list of games I found notable this year. This is in no way a description of superiority beyond my limited playtime.
Devin’s Most Surprising Game of the Year: Gotham City Impostors
When I first heard about this game, it sounded like a terrible idea. You play as either a team of Batman wannabes or a member of Joker’s gang, and you enter into combat with assault rifles, parrot launchers, katanas, and more. It is essentially taking the Batman universe and turning it into a goofy first-person shooter influenced by modern military shooters. In fact, it still sounds terrible. I like goofy shooters, and I generally like modern military shooters, but would they work well together when put inside a comic book universe with a hero as morally against guns as Batman?
Then I played it, and something clicked.
Impostors doesn’t take itself seriously at all, which is why I enjoyed it so much. Other modern military shooters are bound by things like “realism” and “physics,” whereas Impostors prides itself on the ability to disregard both of these aspects. Characters bounce around on spring shoes, roller-skate through alleys, and grapple across the map, and this dynamic nature makes the game so much more engaging than other shooters. It is as if someone looked at Call of Duty and thought, “The realism is getting in the way of the fun.”
The game is helped by an excellent loadout system. In addition to the standard options like primary and secondary weapons, Impostors gives each player a movement gadget and an item. Because the developers were not worried about silly things like “plausibility,” the gadgets add a lot of variety to the game. I might start off a match by grappling to a roof and sniping my enemies from afar, or I might try rollerskating around to their flank and shoot them up close with a shotgun. I could grab a cloaking device to sneak behind my enemies or I could lay down mines to prevent people from sneaking up on me.
I thought the mix of assault rifles and shotguns with katanas and tesla guns might be odd, but it works out surprisingly well. The guns are satisfying to use and are responsive, and you can add decals to them if they look too normal for you.
The best part about the game is how generous it is as a free-to-play title. As a free player, I never felt pressured to spend a dime in it. I could unlock the weapons and gadgets I wanted without much fuss, and cosmetic options, though limited, still exist for free players. Sure, I could have more options for loadouts and cosmetic options if I wanted to pay, but the game is balanced enough that I do not need to have every single weapon.
Though I knew about this game, I never actually wanted to play it until it went free to play. Even then, it was more out of boredom than anything else. Yet this game was much more satisfying and much more addicting than I had thought, and it’s an excellent reprieve from all those depressing and thoughtful games I played this year.