Chances are pretty good you don't remember Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. A relatively obscure title, even in its day, the inventive mix of scale (you could play as a normal-sized dude or as an enormous, building-scale transforming mecha) and compelling FPS mechanics made a big impression on those who played it. I was one of those people. The game had that X-factor, that certain something which gives a title that extra edge.
So it was with no small degree of excitement, then, that I learned the people behind Warner Bros. new download-only FPS, Gotham City Impostors, were the same people that delivered the compelling Shogo experience all those years ago, from Monolith. My attention? You got it.
The game is an Xbox Live Arcade / PlayStation Network download-only game, with players choosing to play as regular joes (with guns), who have pledged allegiance to (and dressed as) either the Joker or Batman. It's an unusual premise, that's for absolute certain, and it's also extraordinary to see rather normal looking people (complete with beer guts and pock-marked faces) dressed (poorly!) in the colours and symbols of their favorite of Gotham's arch foes.
This is no Sunday dress-up, though; the aforementioned guns are loaded with real bullets and there's no superpowers here to deflect their copper-jacketed leaden payload from splattering your innards over whatever piece of scenery you happen to be standing in front of when they hit you. Definitely an unusual fit for the license.
While there are no superpowers to kit your hero out with, you can take advantage of various gadgets which, Batman-style, afford superpower-like abilities. The grappling hook is a good example - with it you can get yourself up to a high vantage point or rapidly negotiate a map to take your opponents by surprise. The gadgets, unusual in an FPS, will definitely be a big factor in success - learning where and when to use them will make the difference. They feel good, too, with the grapple in particular opening up new strategies and forcing you to look at the map (we only got to see the one) in a whole new way.
While the core formula will be familiar to many, after all, we've all run around shooting other players online, the setting and the gadgets look to spice it up just enough to make the concept interesting. We were left with the impression of a tight shooter, a cool setting, and a package that raises the bar for what we thought download-only games could be. We're not sure when it's coming out (2012 is all we know for now) but you can be absolutely certain that we'll be following this one closely.
The Good: From the people that made Shogo
The Bad: It's not Shogo
The Ugly: Where's Shogo?!