So after what seems like another life I finally own a Xbox One console and just so you know it was a bundle that came with Rise Of The Tomb Raider so expect a review for that in like a couple weeks or so but any way since I have a new console giving me new games to cover I bought Sunset Overdrive and thought it would make a good edition to the review pile on here.
Sunset Overdrive is an open world, third-person shooter developed by Insomniac Games, the developers of the Resistance series and was published by Microsoft Studios exclusively for the Xbox One that released worldwide during October of 2014 with the US getting it on October 28th, Australia getting it on October 30th (which is my birthday by the way) and Europe getting it on the October 31st.
The game is set in 2027 in a fictional metropolis called Sunset City that is swarming with mutants called “OD” thanks to a contaminated energy drink called OverCharge Delirium XT (yeah try saying that five times fast) created by a company named FizzCo and the player who is a former FizzCo employee (who works in the sanitary department) is saved from an attacking OD by a fellow survivor named Walter and they try and find a way out of the city which has now been quarantined by FizzCo in a attempt to cover up the event.
Now I can’t give away the plot because I just told you but anyway the game features various story and side-missions and most of these quests mainly involve players delivering objects to other non-playable characters and collecting items from the world in order to finally escape the city so with that out the way I think I should move onto gameplay.
Before you start blasting way through the hordes of OD and Scabs (the human enemies) you are taken to a character customization screen, you can customize everything from your character and there is quite a bit of depth in the system which is rather good in my humble opinion.
You can choose to be male or female as a base and from there, you have 4 preset body types for each, 18 preset faces, 8 standard eye colours or 8 weird eye colours and 7 facial hair styles and before you ask yes female characters can have beards but they cannot be topless…..if you want to see a animated female run around in her birthday suit kicking ass then take a trip to good old Steelport instead of Sunset City but moving on.
Gameplay wise Sunset Overdrive takes inspiration from various games like Prince of Persia, Jet Set Radio and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, yeah I know it is a rather odd mix but it works so well in this game because the game places a super heavy emphisis on movement both in combat and exploration of Sunset City, the player can wall-run, use various zip-lines and grind rails to swiftly navigate through it and this makes a huge difference when in combat.
Throughout the game, players will encounter human enemies and mutant OD’d and believe me, those things might be squishy but they can be a major pain in the ass in large groups and they will without a doubt kill you if you end up surrounded but don’t worry because it’s the “awesomepocalypse” (that’s Insomniac’s words, not mine) you have a complete arsenal of rather absurd but cool weapons like a flaming shotgun called the “Flaming Compensator”, a rocket launcher that fires explosive teddy bears called the “TnTeddy” and a harpoon gun called the Captain Ahab along with many more to aid you in your escape from the city.
The above clip is my first attempt at one of the many challenges around the city and yeah I kinda screw up early on but as soon as it hits the 1:40 mark you will see why movement is absolutely necessarvariy because I get completely swarmed and destroyed in about two or more minutes so if you want to survive Sunset City you have to keep moving and try not to miss which is kinda hard at first but you will soon get the hang of it after a few hours which is good because will encounter even nastier forms of OD later on.
Movement is key to survival in Sunset Overdrive and you can move around the city in various ways like wall running, bouncing on things like umbrellas and air conditioning vents, swing along poles and finally grind things like telephone lines and numerous rails around the city but movement is also important for another reason, Sunset Overdrive features a Style Meter (as shown in the top right of the HUD) and the meter increases as players perform stylish moves like killing enemies while grinding on rails, wall running and bouncing and when you reach a certain level of style that is when another element of Sunset Overdrive comes into play and that element is called “Amps”.
Amps are pretty much power-ups in Sunset Overdrive and there are five different types of amps in the game starting with Melee Swing, Hero, Epic, Dive Bomb and finally Weapon and they can be acquired and upgraded by buying them from Floyd who is a NPC you meet early on in the game, earning them in Chaos Squad which is the multiplayer mode and doing various story missions.
The Amps come into play when the player reaches a certain style level, for example Hero Amps activate at Style level 1, Melee Swing, Dive Bomb and Weapon Amps activate at Style level 2 and finally Epic Amps activate at Style level 3 and they can have some pretty interesting effects on your character’s abilities.
For example you get some Amps early on in the game and one of those is a Melee Swing Amp called Fired which becomes active as soon as you reach Style level 1 and it gives your melee attacks the chance to shoot out a fireball at enemies which is good but there are better Amps out there and you get them in special “base defence” levels at certain points.
Before I forget I should mention that all weapons can be upgraded and modified by applying “Amps”, which increases weapons’ lethality, efficiency and strength and there are some great Amps you can apply to your weapons to made them super effective in a number of ways but now onto “Night Defence”.
Now I personally haven’t had the chance to record any “Night Defense” footage but I found an excellent video that shows off this aspect perfectly above but I will still break it down here just in case you are not able to keep up with the above video, so “Night Defense” is pretty straight forward but it can be challenging sometimes so here is how it goes.
So as you can see from the above video there is a tank filled with Overcharge in the centre of the first base in the game, why is there a tank filled with that orange monster making liquid smack bang in the middle of our base you might say well that’s how you make new Amps and this is how you do it.
First you have to collect ingredients to add to the giant vat of Overcharge to make the Amps and they are honestly kind of weird, the various but important ingredients are toilet paper, orange glowing neon signs, smelly shoes, balloons of Overcharge’s mascot Fizzie and finally security cameras and these are scattered all about Sunset City all over place and once you’ve gathered a certain amount…..it’s time to cook player and yes I did just make a Breaking Bad reference.
The bases are full of bouncing, grinding, swinging and vaulting objects to help you move around the base and to build up your Style meter which is pretty good because you can easily get to Style level 3 during these missions and there are some pretty cool level 3 Amps so now onto the traps.
Traps and barricades are your best friend in these levels and there are quite a few unique ones that can and will hold back the hordes of OD that come for the vats however all traps require Energy to set up and you get a set amount of energy to spend which means once you run out of energy that’s it but you can disassemble some traps for energy and put them up somewhere else if you feel that they could be used elsewhere.
You can also earn new traps as you progress during the game, completing missions both side and main, saving other Survivors of which there are a few or getting high scores on the various challenges around the city will give you the opportunity to add to your defensive arsenal and most of them are great when used properly like my personal favourites the Tesla (a giant Tesla coil that can be chained together with other coils in a circuit), the Pryo Geyser (a trap that roasts enemies when they are nearby when you bounce on the switch) and the Hack N’ Slay (spinning blades that slice anything in range in half), there are 15 traps in the game with 5 of those being included in DLCs.
So Overdrives are passive buffs that the player can obtain and these buffs have a variety of useful effects and are always active, they do not require the Style Meter to activate unlike Amps and they fall into three categories and those are Combat, Hero and Style and each category has unique buffs that you can unlock by crafting badges which you earn by doing specific actions like grinding rails, killing hordes of OD, using various weapons and etc.
Six Overdrives can be equipped at a time and you can mix them to suit your playstyle they can be upgraded with additional badges and you can see how well you are doing earning badges by pressing Y in this screen and the upgrade cost of a specific Overdrive.
My personal Overdrive setup focuses on giving me as much ammo possible for my single shot weapons while giving me as much damage possible to deal to enemies along with a Style generation Overdrive or two to help with the Style meter and Amp use but moving on.
Good gameplay aside Sunset Overdrive has a great art style, its bright and colourful which is a complete 180 from Insomniac’s previous game franchise Resistance and it works really well tying the game together with its various other elements like the rather outlandish plot, crazy weapons, the various unique factions you come across and it is honestly one of my favourite aspects about the game.
Sound is also good, the voice acting is clean and varied which considering the different types of characters you meet is a good thing, for example the Fargarthian’s who are a group of Live Action Role Players you come across in the second act all speak in medieval English and well they all sound like they have spent far too much time playing Dungeon’s & Dragon’s with the exception of a huge guy named Hardcore who only says one word and you guessed it…..the word is hardcore.
The soundtrack is also great with it’s mix of original punk and garage rock and EDM music, the whole soundtrack fits the game perfectly, Sunset Overdrive has a total of 42 tracks which were produced within a six month timeline for the game and each song has nine submixes for use with the game’s dynamic music system, where the fullness of the song is determined by the player’s Style Meter and the amount of action on screen which is pretty damn cool honestly…..I personally have one song from the game on my Ipod and that is Give Me More by one of my favourite artists K-Theory along with the song in the game’s 2013 reveal trailer called “They Come To Get Us” by The Death Set.
So I have covered the gameplay, the graphics, a few story elements like the plot and a few of the absolutely crazy characters you will meet in this bright but lawless metropolis so it’s time to cover the little things like replay value and my personal thoughts about Sunset Overdrive.
Sunset Overdrive has 88 achievements with a total of 1925 Gamerscore and you will earn as you play through the game, some are pretty straight forward like the “Orange Soda” achievement where the goal is to kill 5000 OD while others like the “The Floor is Lava” achievement where you have to chain 100 traversal moves (wall running, bouncing, grinding) without stopping or touching the ground and this one is a slight pain in the ass….well a pain in my ass anyway.
There are collectibles in the game with most of them being the Amp ingredients but there are also four more types of collectibles, smart phones from FizzCo employees, 40 billboard which you can vandalize with graffiti, 9 conversations which you can listen into via hacking into any nearby satellite and 20 sightseeing spots which are usually up high and this can take quite a while normally considering the size of Sunset City but that is where the maps from Two Hat Jack come in….each map shows every collectible of a specific type in a certain area once you buy it meaning the entire endeavour will become so much easier.
Adding to Sunset Overdrive’s total replay value is it’s multiplayer mode Chaos Squad where up to eight players can team up and complete several missions and you can access this mode directly from single player by going to the numerous photo booths dotted around Sunset City and using them where it takes you to the multiplayer mode, if you want to see some Chaos Squad footage the trailer is above, I personally haven’t gotten around to playing this mode not because I am a loser who has no friends but because none of my friends play this so check out the trailer for a brief overview.
I can however tell you about the mode so when you start up Chaos Squad you are taken to a mission select screen where you have vote between two missions to start and when you complete the voted upon mission you get two new ones to vote on and each mission has a different location, objective and bonuses from the previous mission and completing these missions will unlock new items and weapons to customize your character with as well as some cash or Overcharge.
Rounds of Chaos Squad end with a 8 player Night Defense mission where the difficulty of this final mission is determined by what missions have been completed and Chaos earned previously in the voted upon missions from earlier so the higher your Chaos the tougher this ending mission becomes but don’t worry it is like the normal “Night Defense” and traps can be used to make it easier.
That about covers all everything about the game so what are my personal feelings about it, well I personally was blown away by the 2014 E3 presentation, I really liked what I saw back then and it still holds true 2 years later and while I cannot give a exactly completion time my time played statistics on Sunset Overdrive according to my Xbox One clocks in at 29 hours and 5 minutes but that isn’t all at once so disclaimer there folks.
One thing I did find somewhat annoying about the game was that it’s humour got a bit tiring after a while, Sunset Overdrive breaks the 4th wall so much that the damn wall might not very well exist…this game mocks everything and it takes pride in it, hell even the character you play as is aware that they are in a video game and makes half a dozen references.
Now I am not against breaking the 4th wall a few times here and there but good god the humour got a bit tiring but it didn’t really take too much away from my enjoyment of the game, I had a lot of fun running around Sunset City killing every OD I came across and becoming a post apocalypse saviour of the masses but is it for everyone well that depends.
If you like open world games that have you running around a whole lot and killing hordes of mutants then Sunset Overdrive is worth picking up, its a good game that is fun to play and easy to earn some more Gamerscore if you are a achievement addict like I am and it should be pretty cheap now considering I picked up my copy brand new for about £9…yeah £9 godamn pounds people but it might be more on Amazon so that’s about it from me.
If you like this review then please like this post, share it around with the hashtag #Slay3rNation so other people can read it and comment down below in the comments section and that about does it from me, I am sorry this took so long to get out and I am incredibly sorry about the lack of posts these few months but I will be back up to speed with some new content for you guys, like a review of The Wolf Among Us and Rise of The Tomb Raider for the gaming side and a few anime shows from my mile long backlist so see you then.