Sunset Overdrive Review

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Sunset Overdrive is a psychedelically colorful, open world, third person shooter, comedy game developed by Insomniac games, exclusively for the Xbox One console. The game takes place in the fictional location of Sunset City which, due to the release of the brand new energy drink ‘Overcharge’, has fallen siege to Overcharge Drinking (ODs) mutants, looters and the robots of the evil corporation Fizzco.

 The story follows the fully customisable player character’s journey to escape Sunset City with the help of some eccentric allies, and even wackier faction groups, and uncover the evil corporate secrets of Fizzco, the company responsible for the OD outbreak.

Now it must be said that the story is not award quality, you won’t find writing that will rival titles such as The Last Of Us and the consistency of engaging narrative is lacking. However Insomniac does very well to deliver some funny lines through character dialogue and some of the one liners you may over hear while grinding past an enemy scavenger may cause you to let out a laugh in surprise. The character dialogue and comedy aspects of the game are definitely refreshing in a sea of game titles churning out every year, that are grittier and grittier each time, and take themselves deadly seriously.
There is seldom a quiet moment in Sunset Overdrive, there are many dynamic scenarios that a player may encounter when bouncing and grinding their way through the game. As a player you may find a survivor frantically running down the streets from Scavengers or the OD and the player can choose to save the survivor for a cash reward that can be used to buy customisation items. You may be grinding and bouncing across the skylines of Sunset City and see small skirmishes between all types of enemies in the game, occurring at random all over the game map.

The combat in the game is a more slapstick and humorous experience than the grey and dull FPS we are used to, and is really a blast from the past, making us reminisce of previous colorful and exciting games like Spyro, Ratchet and Clank and Jet Set Radio. The weapons are fun and inventive which really does create an engaging player experience as we are able to explore the vast array of unconventional weapons like the TNTEDDY (a rocket launcher that fires explosive teddy bears) and the Nothin’ But The Hits (a weapon that launches colorful vinyl).

One aspect of the game that stands out above all else is the fluid movement and smooth transition between grinding, bouncing, wall running and combat. The game feels so natural as you flick between hastily traversing the city and attacking enemies as you complete objectives and as you save innocent survivors from the selection of enemies. Surprisingly there is no sprint function in the game, which is Insomniac’s way of making the player utilise the traversal mechanics of grinding, undergrinding, wall running and bouncing, which is evidently a large factor in the overall experience that Insomniac is trying to create for the players.

Along with the base story of the game there are also a number of expectable side activities that can also be completed. As expected in an open world game, there are a selection of collectibles to collect and also Fizzco cameras to destroy located all over the game map. In addition Insomniac incorporated many mini game type challenge like ‘Midnight Defense’ (a castle defence type mini game, utilising traps to defend vats of Overcharge used to create ‘Amps’ which are perks that can be equipped to weapons.)
There are the usual challenge trials dotted around the city that offer Bronze, Silver and Gold medals that reward the player with customisation items and in game currency and also offer leaderboards for friends and on a global scale. All of these editions help boost the play time and re-playability of the title significantly, and I myself have put in over 40 hours and am still going back for more.

Finally there is a multiplayer function in the game that allows up to eight players to play a game called ‘Chaos Squad’ in which the players take part in a series of challenges together in which they attempt to rack up the highest percentage of ‘Chaos’ which offer specific rewards at the end of the game. The multiplayer is fun and engaging however I feel it really is an afterthought and the single player is where you’ll sink at least ninety percent of your time. Unfortunately there is no multiplayer free roaming option which is a real shame as it has been an expected option in almost all open world, third person shooter games.

Overall Sunset Overdrive is a quirky, funny and fresh title for the Xbox One console that offers at least 30-40 hours of quality game play for even hardcore gamers. If you enjoy games that don’t take themselves too seriously and focus more on the player experience over frame rate or pixel ratio then this is the one for you.

Review code provided.
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