Sunset Overdrive was one of the games that sold me on the Xbox One when it was first announced. Insomniac have always been one of my favorite video game companies over the years and I was excited to see the game company bringing an exclusive to the Xbox One. Sunset Overdrive all but solidified my choice for my next gen console, as did the fact that the One also had Killer Instinct.
Having played it for myself I can confirm that Sunset Overdrive is another solid exclusive for the Xbox One and probably one of the most outright fun games I have played so far this year. Sunset Overdrive takes place in the fictional Sunset City where a newly released energy drink has had the unfortunate side effect of turning a lot of populace into mutants, not zombies, mutants, called OD or Overdrive Drinkers, who crave the energy drink and overrun anywhere they can get it. This, of course, leads to a post-apocalyptic situation in Sunset City with the mutants running rampant everywhere tearing people and the whole city apart in order to try and get their hands on more Overdrive drink. The evil corporation that made the drink, Fizz Co, has even blocked off Sunset City from the rest of the world in order to keep the mutant situation quiet.
Normally a setting like that would lead to bleak and post-apocalyptic world, but Sunset City is anything but. The visuals are colorful and vibrant and really pop in the HD graphics, the music consists of strong rock and pop songs that lend to the atmosphere that Insomniac is going for with the Awesomepocalypse. The game is teeming with comedy that pokes fun at the situation presented in the game, and it also breaks the fourth wall on several occasions to poke fun at the fact that it’s a game itself and its because of this self-referential humor and its ability to never take anything too seriously, that the humor works and really shines in Sunset Overdrive.
The story is standard fare with the protagonist trying to escape the city and in attempting to do so, meeting many different groups of memorable characters along the way. The story isn’t anything too advanced and even though it’s pretty simple, the various factions and characters in those factions shine through in the game and make half of the experience.
The game is an action open sandbox with various missions, time trials, and collectibles scattered around the city for you to spend your time on. The missions themselves are always varied and highly entertaining, making you wonder what the game is going to throw at you next with almost nothing being too wacky or over the top. The game constantly had me guessing about what I was going to do next and I never felt like I was doing the same thing twice, which helped to keep me immersed and engaged with the world.
Sunset Overdrive‘s combat system is an awesome mix between a Tony Hawk Pro Skater game and a wacky gun shooter like Ratchet & Clank. The games combat is based around moving around your surroundings, grinding, bouncing, and wall running are all ways to increase your overdrive score as well as killing baddies with one of the games many unique weapons. Once you start filling up the bar your Overdrives will take ahold, which add extra effects to your character and guns that make random things happen like lightning randomly striking everywhere or making people burst into flames by shooting them. The Overdrive effects only add to the already present insanity of the situation and I think this was one of the most original ways to help break up any kind of monotony you can get from shooters after playing them for a while.
The collectibles are scattered all over the map and they actually serve a purpose beyond having to be collected. They are used to buy some of the more insane overdrives and because of this there actually is a purpose to find the collectibles scattered around. The game even gives you the ability to buy maps showing you where the collectibles are, making it so you don’t have to rip your hair out trying to find them.
The enemies are divided into 3 different types: there are the standard OD, or Overdrive Drinkers, mutants that have overrun Sunset City and caused the whole situation There are also the Scabs, which are basically standard scavengers that are trying to survive but they also attack any other human being as well. The last faction is the Fizz Co robots whose only mission is to eliminate all life within Sunset City in order for Fizz Co to cover up the evidence of what their energy drink does. All 3 enemy factions have different sub versions of themselves without having the easy to do light, medium, heavy archetypes. The different enemies are actually all different to fight and because you have to change up your tactics depending on what enemies are present its another reason Sunset Overdrive never really gets stale.
The game’s multiplayer, called Chaos Squad, is basically random missions with up to 4 people and way more OD than one person could take on alone, making it really worth playing as you can’t get really anything like through the single player alone. It’s a lot of fun with multiple people and the amount of enemies that can fight on the screen coupled with the pure insanity of the different overdrives and guns, show you an experience you can only get on next gen consoles. The game takes what it has to work with to the limit and shows us what a next gen gaming experience can really be.
Overall, Sunset Overdrive is a fun to play, insanity fest that was some of the most fun I have had this year. Everything about the game shines through and Insomniac knew exactly what they were going for with this title and polished it to a shine. An excellent sandbox game with memorable characters, moments, and a full armory of wacky weapons,Sunset Overdrive is one of the most enjoyable games of the year and I can’t wait to get back to Sunset City.
[…] Dead Rising failed to impress and have since gone to the PC, while the fantastic Sunset Overdrive pleased many and held high acclaim; though it sadly did not garner much interest from the masses. Many more […]
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Huh, well, fanboyism was never a detractor in my book. Great game though, love it.
Well it was sort of a joke. Partially because I couldn’t think of any glaring flaws.