When you do that, you've got something more surprising than a weird Batman game without Batman, with lots of guns: a candidate for the best downloadable console shooter since Battlefield 1943.
Of course, it'll take more than the hour or so I had with Gotham City Impostors to know that for sure, but my time with it so far has me impressed. On a fundamental level, Impostors nails the elusive feel factor inherent in great shooters. The controls are quick and responsive, refined in a way that escapes a number of retail releases, to say nothing of the downloadable competition. Controller latency (that delay between controller input and screen response) is at a minimum.
But more than that, characters move the way it seems like they should. Appearances establish certain expectations for the way things work, and navigating the world of Gotham City Impostors works how it looks like it would. Shy of a few invisible walls here and there (if there's a roof, shouldn't I be able to get up there as my pseudo-Batman?), a visible nook is a nook you can occupy, a second story of a building somewhere you can cut through.
Gotham City Impostors's gunplay dynamic resembles the aforementioned Battlefield 1943. Enemies take enough damage to make one player dominating a clustered group of the other gang unlikely, minimizing the effectiveness of lone wolves. The classes available lean more towards Team Fortress 2, however, right down to the medic-type "uber-ing" the tank class into a more effective meat shield for their team.
I do have some concerns though. There's a heavy emphasis on character customization in Gotham City Impostors, which makes sense – you're playing the part of a deranged gang member obsessed with Batman or the Joker, who, let's be honest, are deranged in their own way. Wacky accoutrement is part of the package. But part of Team Fortress 2's class based magic is the easily identifiable silhouettes, which let you know what you're dealing with. It's an important aspect of this kind of shooter, that expectation.
The question is whether that fragile compromise can be maintained by Gotham City Impostors when it releases on January 10th. I'm excited to find out.