Sunset Overdrive is the Xbox One’s latest exclusive, and it is made by the people that brought you Ratchet and Clank, Insomniac Games. Full disclosure, I was totally going to skip this game because of its crazy art style and over the top “humor”, but I am glad The Paladin convinced me otherwise because this is the most fun game to hit the Xbox One thus far.
The game’s setup is simple, an energy drink named Overdrive was contaminated and turned everyone that drank it in to crazy zombie-mutants, so it is up to you find out what really happened while trying to escape Sunset city.
It is easy to look at gameplay trailers and images and think that this is just a bright and cheerful third person shooter, but it is not. It is a game about movement, and grinding and jumping your way around a large city. Sure you shoot lots of stuff, but that is there to add to the movement, not the other way around. To play the game it is deceptively simple: You hit ‘X’ to perform tricks like grind or wall run, ‘A’ to jump, ‘B’ to use your melee attack, and the right trigger to shoot. You learn more stuff later, but those are the basics. Doing all those things in combination with each other while timing your tricks is where the complexity and the fun comes in.
This is also a very customizable game. You can make your character look however you want, and if you don’t like it, you can change it later with a push of a button. Even change the gender if you wish. You can level up and customize the weapons you want, so if you like bigger guns that do more damage you can get better at those, or if you like fully automatic weapons that you never stop firing you can do that as well. Your skills also get better as you do them. If you like to grind as your primary mode of transportation you get Badges for that, same with wall running, jumping, or running. The more you do stuff, the more badges you get. Get enough badges and you can turn them in for perks, so your character your gets better at those abilities.
If you don’t want to work at things you can buy Amps. They are modifiers that add things like fire damage to melee attacks, or make every other bullet explosive, but you can’t use your Amps all the time. You need to fill up your style meter. To do that, you need to perform combos of grinding, shooting, jumping, wall running, and just about anything else. The more your meter fills up the more your Amps become active. To get Amps you need to collect things. Things like toilet paper and stinky shoes. Yes no joke. Still it is a good excuse to get you to try and reach new heights in the city, or make that perfect jump grind to get on the wire with the shoes.
If I have any issue with this game is that it starts slow. It is a rough first hour or so. You need to train yourself on how this game works. You treat it like a shooter and you die quickly, or you don’t have your timing down well and you keep spamming the ‘X’ button to try and grind and whatnot you fall off of things and get hammered by bad guys. However, once you get the rhythm of the mechanics, this game really starts to sing.
The humor in this game is not for everyone as well. It is juvenile on purpose. It revels in trying to make a thirteen year old laugh while winking and understanding that you are probably much older than that. If that isn’t for you, you may like this game a little less, but the awesome gameplay still makes it worth a shot, and to try and soften the blow for you they do include language and gore filters.
I love my time with this game, and it is game that makes me love to play video games again. It is just so joyful in what it is doing, and that is a refreshing take, since it seems like all games are so serious and down in the dumps these days. If you have an Xbox One you should get this game or put it on your Christmas list because it would be a shame to miss it.