Sunset Overdrive Review – Playground of Destruction

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Published by 4 years ago , last updated 2 weeks ago

Posted on October 27, 2014, Mitchell Saltzman Sunset Overdrive Review – Playground of Destruction

Sunset Overdrive, the latest from Insomniac Games, is a game that’s all about surviving the apocalypse with style. It’s an open world action game that turns its open world into a playground for the player. Now let me clarify: other games might have described their open worlds as playgrounds as well, meaning that their world is filled with destructible objects, rideable vehicles, environmental hazards, all sorts of side missions, minigames, etc.

When I say that Sunset Overdrive’s world is a playground, I mean that absolutely every object in the world is specifically placed there to facilitate you having fun while getting from point A to point B. If you cannot grind it, vault off it, bounce on it, swing off of it, slide on it, wall run on it, or blow it to smithereens, then it’s the ground.

Combine that emphasis on traversal with Insomniac’s trademark assortment of outlandish weaponry and a horde of energy juice powered mutants that will tear you apart if you remain on the ground for more than 5 seconds, and you have essentially got Sunset Overdrive in a nutshell.

There’s nothing quite like it. It’s outrageous, it’s often times ridiculous, and it’s also by far the most compelling reason to pick up an Xbox One at this point.

Sunset Overdrive
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: October 28, 2014
MSRP: $59.99
Available: Xbox Marketplace

Sunset Overdrive begins with the end of the world – or at least, the end of the world for everyone living inside of Sunset City. Nearly everyone in the city turns into a mutant after a pre-release party for a new energy drink called Overcharge Delirium XT goes awry. It turns out that drinking Overcharge has the unintended side effect of turning you into a mutant. One hopelessly addicted to more Overcharge, no less.

That all may sound very grim, but Sunset Overdrive isn’t your typical tale of the apocalypse. There’s none of the doom and gloom, fire and brimstone, or brown and gray color palettes that typically accompany the end of the world. Instead, the world of Sunset Overdrive is full of vibrant color and its non-mutant inhabitants seem to have adjusted quite well to the new way of the world, forming a series of wacky factions and claiming parts of the city as their own.

Players take control of a customizable nameless protagonist that can be either male or female of either skinny or muscular builds. If you’re neither skinny nor roided up like The Incredible Hulk, unfortunately Sunset Overdrive offers no sliders or detailed customization options to truly make the protagonist your own, which is a bit of a shame considering one of the focuses of the game’s advertisement is how it’s all about you.

Regardless of if you’re male or female, skinny or muscular; the protagonist’s personality is always the same: A lovable scoundrel with a penchant for breaking the fourth wall and making a ton of video game and pop culture related references.

The heart and soul of Sunset Overdrive is its focus on movement. Enemies are extremely aggressive when you plant your feet on the ground for more than a few seconds, and thus the game teaches you that if you want to survive, you’re going to need to make use of the many different ways provided to stay in the air and keep moving.

The X button acts as your contextually sensitive traversal button. Press X while near a power line or the edge of a building and you’ll grind it. Press X near a wall and you’ll wall run across it. Press X before you hit the water and you’ll slide along the water’s surface for a short time. As I mentioned earlier, Sunset City is a giant playground with every single object specifically placed to make it possible to get around the city without ever having to touch the ground.

To make up for the fact that you’re being encouraged to fight while constantly moving, aiming is basically automatic. As long as you move your reticle somewhere in the vicinity of an enemy and you’re within the currently equipped weapon’s range, all of your shots will hit. You may think that this makes the game rather easy, and to an extent you’re right, but mostly it means that the game’s challenge lies more in mastering its traversal mechanics than its shooting mechanics.

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