Platform: Xbox One
Publisher: Microsoft Studio|
Developer: Insomniac Games
Last month at the hands on preview, one particular phrase was repeatedly used to gamers and journalists alike: “keep in mind that this is a very early build of the game.” This meant that a lot of the games on display and available to play early were not representative of the game’s ultimate quality. Some of these games were still enjoyable (Dead Island 2) and others left me confused a little turned off for the game’s ultimate release. One game with a particularly bad build was Insomniac’s ‘Sunset Overdrive’. It had a sketchy frame rate, too much going on the screen for me to keep track of and the occasional bug that hindered gameplay. Despite the Xbox PR rep assuring me the final game would be much better; I was convinced Sunset Overdrive would be a title that simply fell short of the mark.
Fast forward to now and I’m fortunate enough to have received a review copy of the game. I say “fortunate” because the game really is a ton of fun, so much so that the early beta seemed like a bad dream by comparison. After progressing through the early “learning period” of the game (a necessary process as the game is remarkably unique), I’ve found that I can’t stop playing Sunset Overdrive. It’s wild, silly, accessible and a damn good time.
Sunset Overdrive stars you (a character you will create yourself) in Sunset City. Fizzco’s latest energy drink, “Overdrive” is turning people into mutant beasts, which the survivors of Sunset City have labeled the “O.D”. The streets are overrun by these orange menaces and the only hope of safely making your way through the city is by over-the-top traversal skills. Your character will wall-run, swing off poles, bounce off cars, trees and other “bouncables” and most importantly, grind powerlines, ziplines and other long-running cables and ledges. If it sounds ridiculous then let me assure that it is…and it’s all the better for it.It’s not just the traversal skills that are absolutely bonkers – there are also the game’s weapons and unlockable customisation options. At the start of the game, players have somewhat limited options to creating their characters, but they will still be able to create one they love. Completing various missions and activities will unlock more clothing options for your character, so it won’t be long before you have a superhero bunny costume or a totally rad 80’s-style get up. With the exception of the Dirty Harry (a more traditional firearm), every weapon in Sunset Overdrive is a mad scientist’s dream. Explosive teddy bear launchers, freeze bombs, sharpened metal boomerangs, fireworks launchers and deployable deathtraps are just of the weapons players will use to fight the O.D. And scabs in Sunset City. If you’re finding the game too difficult you needn’t worry about trying to unlock guns and clothing from missions alone – there are also weapons and clothing dealers in Sunset City.
With such a crazy premise one might think Sunset Overdrive wouldn’t be accessible to some, or that the gameplay would have very limited appeal. My only caveat would be that the game is extreme in every department. Visually, there can be a lot of chaos going on at the same time. With that being said the game’s bright and colourful visuals are gorgeous and a refreshing change from the dark blacks and greys of other games. There is also hardly a quiet period when you’re playing Sunset Overdrive, there is an overdose of chaos at almost every mission – something that some players may find hinders their enjoyment as they might get lost in the action.
Looking at the game’s cover art and trailers might make Sunset Overdrive look like it’s suitable for gamers of all ages, something that it is not. There is a lot of swearing and crude humour present, as well as the occasional human exploding, having their head crushed or suffering some other gory (but hilarious) death. There is a vulgarity and gore filter in options for parents and people offended by the content to make use of, but I personally find Sunset Overdrive hilarious with its default settings. The dialogue is perhaps some of the most modern, relatable and humourous that I’ve seen in a video game in quite some time. The characters in Sunset Overdrive share the exact type of humour that I share with my friends and I absolutely love it for it. Some of the lines have me in stitches. I can’t remember the last game that did that!
Sunset’s single-player mode is already pretty darn addictive, but there’s also an 8-player co-operative mode to have fun with as well. “Chaos Squad” is accessed via phone booths throughout the single-player mode’s campaign. You’re able to access these at any time though you might want to unlock some guns from single-player as your character in multiplayer and single-player is exactly the same. What’s great about this is that you will continue to unlock weapons and gear in multiplayer for use in single-player, so that you’re never wasting your time with either.
Now while I personally love Sunset Overdrive, I understand that it is a game not for everyone. Something that I think Insomniac Games might have not figured out themselves. Sunset’s story is enjoyable and the gameplay is great, but the mature content somewhat clashes with the tone set by its bright colours and punk protagonist. Here is a game that looks like it could have been the next big thing for young gamers but its content may prove too immature and offensive for parents of young gamers. For what it’s worth, I’ll repeat that there is a content filter in options and I’ll also go on record to state there is no nudity or any themes in particular that are out of line – it’s just immature fun laden with frequent cussing.
- Absolutely unique and refreshing gameplay
- Hilarious writing
- Won’t appeal to everyone.
I can not recommend Sunset Overdrive enough for players who wanting a unique and different game from the FPS flooded market! Yes, Sunset is using many techniques used in other games but it’s in the way that it melds all of these together with a vibrant look and a hilarious sense of humour that sees me unable to put it down. It’s a shame there is no co-op option for the game’s main campaign but I’m certain that multiplayer expansions are on the way. Do yourself a favour and check this game out as soon as you can!
Score – 8.5/10