Sunset Overdrive Review
Sunset Overdrive Box Art
System: Xbox One
Dev: Insomniac Games
Pub: Microsoft
Release: October 28, 2014
Players: 1 (2+ Online)
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
And the Sun Sets
by Matt Walker

It takes a lot lately for me to stick with a game. I find myself wandering aimlessly through this campaign level or that, without much purpose or desire to continue the story let alone venture into the multiplayer world of the game. The latter there happens far less than it probably should. The mundane worlds, the sepia colored palettes, and the over the top end of the world scenarios have at best desensitized me to the point of becoming a near zombie when playing lately. However, I can say with much praise that Insomniac’s new Sunset Overdrive is one of the greatest breathes of fresh air I have had the privilege of experiencing in a long time. Because that’s just what Sunset Overdrive is–fresh.

First the boring stuff. Sunset Overdrive starts off in a dystopian future where the FizzCo corporation basically controls everything, and guess what, they are about to release a brand new energy drink upon the masses. The first place to get a taste of the lovely beverage is Sunset City. Just like our hero of the game things are not nearly as clear-cut as they first appear. Shortly after the patrons guzzle the new Overcharge Delirium XT all hell breaks loose. Everyone who has was at the quasi rave downing the drink starts to mutate into horrendous grotesque ODs, and all of the sudden the player’s dead end job cleaning up after a bunch of degenerate douchebags doesn’t seem quite so bad. After a brief “holy crap what do” I do moment, you find refuge in your apartment, until some crusty old dude smashes into your crib and you have no other choice but to venture out and get the hell out of dodge.

In essence, this is all there is to Sunset Overdrive. Sounds like your typical open world exploratory game as of late. Evil corporation? Check. Radical transformation of average people into butt-ugly monsters? Check. You (the player) doing hundreds of menial mindless quests to achieve an overall goal? Check. Normally this is where I would droll on about how Sunset Overdrive is just a re-skinned version of this or that, but there’s something extra this game gives I wasn’t completely expecting--fun on a different kind of level.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot

Sure, the trailers that have been available all suggest it was going to be a unique type of game, if for no other reason than because it ditches the cover mechanic of most shooters out there. I wanted something more than that though; I wanted to be entertained while I was doing these menial quests to end the evil corporation’s stranglehold of the world. Sunset does this and I for one couldn’t be happier that it did. Sunset Overdrive is like playing any one of the more recent open world titles and adding a mixture of Deadpool to it. It’s self aware of it being a video game. It is self aware of the ridiculousness you have to do, and very often calls it out to you as you play. Perfect example, during one of the more platform oriented aspects of the game, I found myself about to fall from a very high point of a building that was vital to the mission. My first thought was, “Great, now I have to start from the bottom all over again”. Utilizing what I would daresay is a direct “appreciation” of portals, I found my character restored higher that I expected. Once I did, the character pointed out how grateful they were they were not forced to start from the bottom. This is just one example of the aware attitude Sunset Overdrive delivers.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot

While this alone was a pleasant surprise as I plowed through the missions and various actions of the game, I also found myself occasionally chuckling. The names of the weapons and what they do. It would have been very simple for the developers to just create a plethora of extravagant weaponry for you to use--and believe me extravagant doesn’t even begin to describe how varied and unique some of the weapons are. Instead of just stopping there though, they decided to add yet another beautiful aspect just for pop culture fans. For instance, one of the first weapons you nab is called High Fidelity and it is a record based shooting weapon that flings the records at your enemies and then they ricochet to other enemies. One other example is called The Dude and yep, it fires bowling balls.

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