Full disclosure: Warner Bros. gave me a download code for Gotham City Impostors.
The match bell rings. My team charges ahead with an intimate knowledge of the map I can only dream of having. I cautiously step forward…bang!
And then I wait 10 seconds to respawn.
I suck at online shooters. I've determined my failing is a mixture of coming to the games too late in their lifespan and that I simply don't take the time to really master the mechanics. Many shooters have unforgiving control schemes that require a lot of practice. But, if you pick up a title well after launch, the learning curve steepens because of how much better other players are.
So, I thought I'd try Gotham City Impostors from the beginning and see how well I could do if I was learning the game with everyone else. Turns out that even when we're all on supposedly even footing, I still die 12 seconds into a match.
The trouble I'm having isn't really the game's fault or even the community's. It's all in how I've been playing shooters. I tend to charge in with guns blazing because that's what everyone else seems to do. The downside is that I'm miserable in a firefight and always end up shot.
Impostors brought my poor tactics to light through its setup. Unlike many multiplayer shooters, Impostors allows for extensive character customization that makes jumping into the middle of a fight very risky. You can change the body type of your avatar, which in turn gives them a greater strength or makes them faster.
You start with a middle-of-the-road character and must contend with how frustratingly average he is unless you experiment with the preset models available. Like in Team Fortress 2, you can choose from heavy, bullet-sponge dudes to fast-acting and stealthy snipers. But from here you can equip special items and guns that enhance how well you perform in battle.
Gotham City Impostors showed me that I'm really not supposed to charge ahead. I'll just get killed that way, because I favor faster, weaker body types. What I should be doing is sniping.
I hadn't thought about it until I started unlocking some of the cooler gadgets and weapons. Down at the bottom of the list was an ultra precise and menacing tactical bow. I soon dubbed it the headshot machine.
In the course of an afternoon I went from hating online shooters to loving Impostors. I am a fearsome sniper, content to dig in and bide my time. I sucked at multiplayer first-person shooters because I never found my comfort zone and just tried to go with the pack.
Like Batman, I prefer to strike swiftly and from the shadows. It's…really fun.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!