|Genre||Publisher||Release date||Release O.S||Available on|
|Adventure||Microsoft||31/10/2014||Xbox One||Xbox Store|
Looking back over the last year since the Xbox One’s launch, the console’s catalogue of games hasn’t exactly been overflowing with top quality titles, let alone any notable triple A exclusives (Titanfall arguably being an exception). The system has been consistently outsold by Sony’s PS4 and in serious need of an injection of something new and fresh. Enter Sunset Overdrive; an Xbox One exclusive developed by Insomniac Games, ironically famous for developing many PlayStation exclusives such as the “Ratchet and Clank” and “Spyro the Dragon” series. The question remains, is Sunset Overdrive good enough to give Xbox One owners something worthwhile to spend their time and money on?
Sunset Overdrive is an apocalyptic game where the latest energy drink on the block, OverCharge has started causing a stir. Instead of keeping it’s users energized, it instead turns them into ravenous, crazed creatures, known as O.D, that soon become addicted to the orange goodness that is OverCharge.
You take control of a character that can be customized to your hearts content. Although there are only two character models per gender, Sunset Overdrive provides you with the opportunity to fully express yourself with its rich variety of customisable options. If you want a plain Jane character who fits into a particular stereotype, you can do that, or if you’d prefer to have a 6-foot, muscle bound brute running around in a woman’s skirt with a blue ponytail, you can totally do that too!
You’ll spend the majority of your time in Sunset City helping survivors, killing enemies using a variety of weird and wonderful weapons, and trying to figure out just what the hell has happened to this once safe city. Although this may sound just like every other apocalyptic video game on the market, Sunset Overdrive manages to set itself apart with a few ideas of its own. It’s a wacky, highly entertaining, refreshingly unique adventure that’s full of action around every corner of its relatively short six or so hour campaign.
That said, a healthy amount of side-quests and collectables, along with the online Chaos Squad component, a set of rather uninspiring achievements (if, like me, you’re addicted to those wretched things) and the fact that it’s simply a blast to play through will easily provide you with plenty more action packed gameplay.
During your time in Sunset City, you’ll come up against a variety of different O.D. mutations. Each type of enemy provides a different challenge and requires a different method to eradicate them. The giant Hurker, for example, is a monstrous type of O.D, and fighting it felt like a mini-boss battle in itself. The enemies’ ability to randomly spawn around the city helps keep each battle feeling fresh whilst also keeping you on your toes.
Fortunately, you’ll have a range of extraordinarily imaginative weapons to fend them off with. Whether it’s the TNTeddy (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like), the Roman Candle launcher, or even the accurately named AK-FU, just to name a few, you’ll be sure to stumble across a weapon that quenches your destructive needs.
Each weapon has its own unique effectiveness against different enemies and can be levelled up the more you use it. This forces you to keep changing your weapon to suit the enemy you’re facing and ensures you’ll never be using the same firearm for too long.
In the game’s early stages, things do tend to fall into the trap of having a few too many fetch quests; too much “go to point A, pick this up, drop it off to point B”, which truth be told, can become a bit tedious. Fortunately, the freedom you’re given in getting around the O.D. ridden playground of destruction that is Sunset City is fun enough so it isn’t much of an issue.
The moment you stop to catch your breath is the moment you become O.D. food. Instead, you’ll be constantly hopping, bouncing, grinding and air-dashing your way around to gain an upper hand on the enemy, as well as navigating the city.
In Sunset Overdrive, style is the name of the game. The more tricks you do and the more slick your kills are, the greater the points you earn. As your style gauge is filled, you unlock multiple elemental and stat boosts, called Amps, which make you more dangerous in battle. These Amps can be equipped to both your weapons and your character, and can also be purchased with collectables that are scattered about the city.
The control scheme is not as intuitive as it could have been, and even towards the end of the game I still occasionally found myself having to really work to make sure my six-foot transvestite brute was doing what I intended. The controls do require time to get used to, but when you’ve mastered the system seamlessly grind on a wire, killing a swarm of O.D. below, wall-running along the side of a building and so on, it’s incredibly satisfying.
Along with the main story, there is an online game mode called Chaos Squad. This involves you and up to seven friends cooperatively tackling wave based siege defense missions whereby you set up traps, engage with enemies and put your traversal skills to the test. Although it didn’t engage me as much as the single player campaign did, it is a neat addition to the game nonetheless. It does make for a nice alternative for fully upgrading your weapons, since progress is carried between both 0nline and single player.
Sunset Overdrive is a genuine pleasure to play. The 25 plus hours I put into the game - bouncing around the bright city and blasting anything and everything in sight rarely disappointed. Thanks to Sunset Overdrive’s unique approach to traversal, which combined with its fast paced, non-stop action gameplay, provided me with one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had on the Xbox One so far.
- Bright, colourful city to explore
- Game’s style system can be hugely rewarding
- Weapons are insane
- Pure, silly fun
- Controls not perfect
- Game’s humour is very hit and miss
- Campaign takes time to get going