Sunset Overdrive review
Insomniac have definitely taken a risk with Sunset Overdrive. Have they delivered with their new franchise?
Insomniac’s first exclusive Xbox game, Sunset Overdrive, is an open world adventure, third person shooter with a twist. Set in Sunset City in 2027, a corporation by the name of FizzCo have created a new energy drink by the name of Overcharge Delirium XT that just happens to have a disastrous side effect – it turns people into mutants. Crazed, mindless, mutants also known as the OD.
Movement is key
You star as you, a fully customisable character and former FizzCo employee just doing your job when the apocalypse struck. You are quickly introduced to your new world and what you’ll need to do to survive. Although the game feels a bit slow to begin with, it is necessary to fully come to grips with the game’s mechanics because despite being a shooter, going for cover is not what the game wants you to do. In fact, standing around for too long in a non-safe area will result in death.
The game features an unusual concept in that you have to keep moving to survive and you have to do so with style. Grinding on rails, bouncing on varying environmental objects (such as cars, trees, parasols, dumpsters and more), swinging on poles and wall running across buildings is the main way to get around the superbly designed Sunset City and all actions counts towards your building your style. As the style meter increases you will trigger different amps which are basically ability/element modifiers. Fancy spawning a tornado with every melee swing? Spawning random fire? Maybe some lightning? Amps will give you that extra kick.
Pop! Squish! Krak!
There are three groups of enemies – the OD, FizzCo robots and Scabs (humans). There are also different classes of enemy in each group so as you progress through the game you are introduced to the more difficult type. To help combat these enemies you are also given gradual access to a better arsenal of weapons. Different guns work better on each enemy class so it’s important to be prepared for all types at all times. For example, the Flaming Compensator works best on the OD, the Dirty Harry is perfect for headshotting Scabs and eliminating the bigger OD, the Fizzbot Rifle works well on the FizzCo robots and my personal favourite, the TNTeddy, works well enough as an all round weapon. You can carry up to eight out of more than twenty of the most insane, imaginative weapons offered to you, but you can change them at any time in the pause menu. You can level up each weapon to make it more powerful and just like how your character can have amps, your weapons can have them too to help cause even more chaos!
Combat is quite straightforward in Sunset Overdrive. For each gun there’s no reloading but there is limited ammo which can be restocked in various ways. The game features a simplistic targeting system and to be honest it has to be since you are going to be constantly moving while trying to kill a horde of enemies. If it was anything more difficult this game just wouldn’t work. Each kill goes towards earning badges and each badge can be used to upgrade game modifiers known as overdrives. You can have up to six overdrives equipped to your character.
In general gameplay the game is actually quite forgiving and aims to keep you involved in each mission at all times. In one situation you have to climb a rather tall building but you make a mistake and fall. Rather than fall to the bottom and have to start climbing all over again, this game will open up a portal and simply transport you back to its designated checkpoint area. In any mission you might die but rather than start you back at the beginning of the mission you will simply respawn in the mission in a rather interesting way.
Sunset Overdrive unfortunately is quite short as the campaign is only about ten hours long but it is unforgetable. The game is filled with amusing dialogue and wacky characters – other survivors who have banded together in their factions. For each faction you meet you will have to complete missions to gain their trust and ultimately get what you want – their help to get out of the city. Along the way you’ll also encounter some of the most unique bosses you will ever have the pleasure of defeating.
Despite the short campaign there are plenty of things to do in Sunset City. Other activities in the game also involve side quests, challenges that test your abilities and show where you rank against your friends, a world full of collectibles which help unlock better amps and of course, a horde style Night Defense game which also gives you amps.
This is basically the online version of the Night Defense game which allows you to team up with up to seven other people to cause mayhem against the OD. You have to tackle a few random challenge missions before the main event which can vary from killing OD, killing Scabs, points challenges, performing different style moves and so on. The more chaos caused the better the rewards!
Sunset Overdrive is a bright, vibrant, over the top world that is your “Awesomepocalypse”. It’s crazy and completely over the top – but most importantly it’s fun. Insomniac have really done a brilliant job as it definitely gives a strong reason for people to own an Xbox One.
Miss; The campaign is bit short. It just seemed to be over too quick.
Need; I think it would have been great to have been able to play the campaign in co-op.