It’s hard to describe this game as a whole, it’s as if Insomniac Games decided to mix several awesome games together and make an even ‘awesomer’ game. Welcome to the Awesomepocalypse, where we make up words and life isn’t nearly as boring. Sunset City has been taken over by some of the weirdest mutants of all time and the culprit behind it all? An energy drink. Sunset Overdrive combines some awesome gameplay mechanics, with an entertaining story, interesting art, and some awesome customization. It’s a game that takes away from other games, but still manages to hold it’s own and it stands tall.
The gameplay is such an odd mix, at first it looked as if Sunset Overdrive might get old after a while, but during my stay in Sunset City I am surprised to say that I have not been bored once. I some times just grind around and about for fun, because it’s awesome. The gameplay throws hordes and hordes of enemies at you and the more diverse your play-style, the better you become. As your style level unlocks some interesting perks and you unlock more by doing this. The game sets you up with a variety of interesting weapons, amps for those weapons, and traps.
Its alternate modes, challenges, and story set up an interesting game that doesn’t have a dull moment. One of the most interesting things you won’t see mentioned elsewhere is the respawn system. As it kicks you back in with style. I’ve seen my guy come out of a coffin all Dracula style, come down from a rope (assuming it’s from a helicopter or something), some futuristic portal type deal, Star Trek teleportation style, Portal, and a couple of others. The online during E3 was rather basic, but during it’s final release they improved upon it drastically. Originally it was only the defense, but now you build up the Chaos meter by completing multiple missions. The Chaos meter determines the difficulty of the defense.
For example, my first run was about 90%, we had meh hordes rushing towards us, 3 Herkers, and it wasn’t exactly difficult. Our 2nd run however, was much different with the Chaos running at 160%. We were introduced to about 6-10 Herkers, overwhelming Hordes, and a more intense experience. The mode wasn’t difficult, but we were in the first district and even then it’s rather rewarding, as my level 1 gun jumped to level 3 in round.
The story is something to be interested in as well. It feels somewhat like Borderlands, with some ridiculously hilarious moments, but there are also some serious moments as well. It’s the type of story that reels you in to the characters through comedy and then gives you a deeper understanding of them by switching out to a more serious tone.
While the serious tone doesn’t happen often, it’s still present in the game and it gives you that deeper look and connection. The story can’t help but be ridiculous and it’s truthfully a relief. As games go for the more serious tone it’s always refreshing to see one that doesn’t want to follow the crowd. While Borderlands has done this, it’s a genre that has plenty of room to grow. The game is always breaking the 4th wall and is doing or saying something ridiculous. Even the tutorials are rather ridiculous as they break the 4th wall throughout. The game’s story is also complimented by it’s ridiculous customization and awesome art style though. It has a ridiculously satisfying ending as well, it’s awesome from start to finish.
The art is similar to the story really, as games are always attempting to tackle more realistic visuals. These aren’t the most realistic, they aren’t the most detailed, but they do the job and they do it right. The art in the game is something else refreshing though and I love it. It fits the story and compliments the game in every way. It’s really the perfect style for the game. The graphics for this style are the best I’ve seen, but they aren’t used very often. The character models are very well done and the OD look extremely interesting.
The variants of the OD are always creepy and interesting to look at as well. The game offers 3 factions for you to get murdered by the OD, Fizzco, and Dicksmokes (Actually Scabs, but Insomniac’s Senior Community Manager has an interesting nickname for them). The game just has this beautiful look to it with the art style done oh so perfectly. It’s ridiculous art is only furthered by it’s ridiculous customization.
What naturally makes Sunset Overdrive a much more enjoyable experience is it’s customization. During my stay I played as a big man with a lumberjack beard, track shorts, a cape, goggles, and elf ears. While he didn’t look normal, he was the perfect video game version of me that ever was. While you can’t do much in terms of your body type you can do a ton of things for your clothing.
They give you a wide variety of things to choose from. You can be serious, whacky, or seriously whacky. What’s fun is that no matter what you decide, you will always be insulted by the shop keeper! While you can only select from presets on your face and body type, it does rather well with the clothing. The odd thing is that they decided to preset the voice actors as well, I would have loved to choose a different one, while mine does his work, it would have been nice to have the option.
While Sunset Overdrive isn’t awesome it does manage to be something completely different, in the spirit of making up words, Sunset Overdrive is FUAWESOME, F*cking Awesome. It’s legitimately the best IP this generation. It has a whacky story, great customization options, and it basically sets up a rather high expectation for new IPs to come. While most games won’t follow Sunset Overdrive’s footsteps, it’s a rather impressive step forward and it remains enjoyable throughout the entire game.
The only complaints I have are the story, while fun & awesome, is seemingly all over the place and it’s music doesn’t fit at times. It’s online at times can be rather easy and chaotic as well, but with the right group I can see it being rather enjoyable. It’s a game I can grind on for hours and have.
To the people calling it Sunset Overhype, I implore you to give the game an actual chance, as it turns out to be Funset Over… drive. Anyway, what Sunset Overdrive has done is given the Xbox One an interesting and unique game in the AAA season. While it is a blend of some other games, it still manages to hold it’s own and it does it properly. From the looks of it, Sunset Overdrive could spawn one of the more interesting series in recent years.
Overall Score: 9.5 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Review Copy Info: The author of this article received a digital copy of this game from the publisher for the purpose of this review.