Indsendt: 15. december
When you come out of the gate as a heavy with a medic in tow, you're a formidable offensive force, but if a spy loops around to backstab the medic and you round the corner on a pyro, it can all come undone in a matter of seconds. Snipers can cover expected enemy paths, but rocket-jumping soldiers have a knack for finding alternative routes and raining explosive death from above. You may think you have a comparatively weak scout dead to rights, only to be stunned by a baseball and beaten to death. As you watch your giblets splatter on the ground and see a freeze-frame of your gleeful killer, it's hard not to chuckle at the sheer variety of ways you can meet an untimely demise. And the humorous quips, ridiculous outfits, and histrionic announcer help cultivate this lighthearted tone.
Of course, this core dynamic has persisted for most of TF2's life span, so if you stopped playing it a few years ago and come back for a few matches, you'll find things are very familiar. Learning the ropes and getting the hang of your chosen role is still a gratifying experience, and mastering advanced techniques doesn't just make you deadlier; it gives you more options for how to approach combat. Keeping your options open is still valuable too, because being flexible with your choice of character can help you avoid ending up on a catastrophically imbalanced squad. It is Team Fortress, after all.
But though there is much that has remained constant about the core game, there have been some notable changes over the years, as well as regular infusions of new weapons and items. Of the hundreds of things available in the online store, some can be unlocked through play, while others must be purchased with actual money. From small doodads that cost less than a dollar to massive bundles that cost hundreds, there's a wide range of ways to customize your experience.
Many of the items offer nothing more than a playful twist on the game's already cheeky cartoon aesthetic. You can buy hats, shirts, shoes, and other cosmetic gear to dress up like a character from Adult Swim or don spooky seasonal garb that you can wear only during Halloween or a full moon. Even if you don't fancy shelling out for any of this stuff, it's fun to see some visual variety as you try to light your opponents on fire.
Other weapons have more of an impact, like the ones that give your character a new chargeable and expendable power. The scout can build hype, which turns his usual double jump into a triple, quadruple, or quintuple jump, and the soldier can build rage, which allows him to rally his nearby teammates to do extra damage. Skills like these have more of a meaningful impact on the action, bringing something new to the table that your enemies must contend with. And then there are the totally out-there loadouts, like the one that turns the grenade-launching demoman into an extra from the movie Braveheart.In addition to the cosmetic options, there are a lot of weapons and items that offer small buffs or subtle tweaks to your attributes. Depending on which healing gun the medic equips, for example, he can imbue himself and his targeted ally with extra damage resistance or enable himself to match the speed of his target. Differences like these don't do much to change the core action, but they do give experienced players substantial room for strategic variation.
These options broaden the field of viable strategies, which helps keep combat lively and varied. And fortunately, none of the purchasable weapons or items tip the scales unfairly towards those willing to pay. Buffs and bonuses usually come with caveats, and the weapons that bestow new abilities are usually unlocked for free. For this review, I spent some money on goofy hats and some of the stranger weaponry on offer, like the pyro's flamethrower that actually shoots bubbles and rainbows. It was fun to play with the new gear, but I still found myself switching my loadout between free and paid weapons regularly to adapt to the match situation.
All of this is... fine. I had enough fun playing Gotham City Impostors, but I was never hooked. The flat trees and blocky visuals aren't impressive, and, outside of deathmatch, the modes bore. While perfectly functional and crammed with unlockables (there's at least a level 500), it really amounts to just five maps, a sense of humor and the Batman license. I don't know if that's enough to warrant $15 and another first-person shooter multiplayer suite.
What's really interesting -- at least from a console perspective -- is Gotham City Impostor's love of the microtransaction. You earn costume coins you can use to buy new gloves and emblems for your character throughout the game, but if you don't feel like waiting, you can use real money to buy the superficial looks. I'm fine with the ability to buy cooler calling cards and mascots that float next to your character, but the ability to buy an hour of Double XP over and over again is a bit weird.