Gaming Extra: Want to be Batman? Because you should

In the realm of first-person shooters, few can compete with the genre-defining giants that are the “Halo,” “Call of Duty,” and “Battlefield” series. Occasionally, however, a scrappy fighter rises from the dregs to take on these monolithic franchises. One such scrapper is “Gotham City Imposters.”

Published by Warner Bros. Interactive, the game puts the player in the role of a new recruit in a squad of Batman-emulating vigilantes. Exclusively multiplayer, “Imposters” does not take itself too seriously, and offers the opportunity to play on both Dark Knight- and Joker-inspired teams.

The beta, while entertaining with its ridiculous character models and equally improbable weapons, was somewhat rough. Though this can be expected from betas in general, the player mechanics were far from refined, with choppy motion and odd aiming mechanisms. The controls were not as responsive as they should be in a twitch-centric shooter and the game types seemed recycled and unoriginal.

Similarly, the beta’s matchmaking system is far from efficient, with a lobby-style infrastructure that does a worse job than “Call of Duty” at finding quality matches. Personally, I was forced to spend an hour and a half looking for a single match with over 4000 players online. This situation repeated itself multiple times. While the beta in no way represents the final product, such basic oversights do not bode well for the market release.

What “Gotham City Imposters” lacks in hardcore appeal, it makes up for in potential. Though the weapons and classes offered are fairly standard for first-person shooters with shotguns, submachine guns, and rocket launchers, there is one key exception: the grappling hook. When paired with a fast-moving character class, the grappling hook provides off-the-charts mobility, in the vein of old-school “Quake” rocket jumps, rapidly increasing the game’s pacing. This, paired with other mobility enhancements like roller skates and trampolines, makes for a game that will provide a welcome change from the usual drivel.

While the beta was fairly flawed, it still indicated that “Gotham City Imposters” has a lot of potential. It definitely won’t be a game that will be played religiously, but it should be worth the purchase. “Gotham City Imposters” became available on Feb. 7 exclusively for Xbox 360.