sunset

It’s that time of the year again! The time when we get a slew of new titles to enjoy and our wallets become very light. I had the pleasure of playing Insomniac Games’ Sunset Overdrive, a game that surpassed the expectations I had set for it in almost every way.

Sunset Overdrive is an open world third person shooter in which the main character tries to save himself and bands of survivors from the mutants that have succumb to Overdrive, an energy drink made by the all powerful company Fizzco. While playing the game, it was hard to recall anything that even came close to being as over the top or gave me as much enjoyment. The only games that came close to helping me explain what it feels like are Infamous and Saints Row 3, with a little bit of Lollipop Chainsaw humor thrown in. Even that feels like it doesn’t do Sunset Overdrive justice. Grinding, bouncing, and gliding thorough the city feels really balanced and fluid to the point where I seldom ever touched the ground.

From the very beginning of the game, Sunset establishes that it doesn’t take itself seriously. The first weapon you get is shaped like a giant dong and is dubbed the Flaming Compensator. From there, the game breaks the fourth wall by having the character talk directly to the player from time to time. It is very clear that Insomniac Games has strayed very far from the days of Resistance: Fall of Man, a stern, run of the mill FPS exclusive to the PlayStation 3. This game feel much more like Ratchet and Clank than any serious FPS you will ever play.

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The character customization in the game is fantastic. I’m generally not a fan of character customization, because the initial batch of options is usually less than stellar. But, the amount of options available at the beginning of Sunset Overdrive is great. I felt like I was able to create a character I was proud of by working my sense of style into the on screen persona. Throughout the game the character can unlock and purchase a large amount of items to change their look, but I was so pleased with my initial creation that the only thing I changed was adding tattoos.

The gameplay for Sunset Overdrive has very few flaws, except for the repetitive nature of the in-game mission’s voice over reminders. Every few seconds whichever character I was working with would come on and say “Hey did you get that thing I asked about” or “Did you forget about..?” Thankfully, these mission reminders don’t take away from the overall experience, even though after a while some might become a bit of an annoyance.

While playing Sunset Overdrive I only encountered one glitch. While running around looking for collectables I tried jumping at a wall to push off of it and get to a ledge. Instead, I fell through the wall into the building and bounced around uncontrollably like a rubber ball until I suddenly began free falling under the map. The fall lasted for ten seconds and then my health was empty, but before I knew it I was back on the street. It didn’t dampen the experience, in fact I was laughing for most of it, but it was an odd enough experience I spent the next several minutes trying to duplicate. After many failed attempts I resolved that it was simply a fluke and moved on.

The defense missions can become a bit tedious at times. Defense missions task the player with defending a machine that makes amps for the character to trick out his weapon and add abilities. These missions seemed to restrict the player from their usual bouncing around and rail grinding otherwise typically encouraged. Granted, while not technically prevented from doing so, the character is pretty much trapped in the confines of the base for the duration of the defense.

The multiplayer aspect of the game did have some slight issues, namely with matchmaking. Whether this was an issue with the game’s matchmaking or my horrid connection is still to be determined. Multiplayer,dubbed Chaos Squad, is initiated easily enough. You walk up to a specialized booth in the campaign and with the press of a button you’re in match making. What came next however was very unexpected: mulitplayer felt mediocre.  While still enjoyable,  it felt like a hollowed experience. Playing with seven other players doing miniscule objectives wasn’t nearly as fun as roaming the city on my own. In multiplayer, players compete to get the most points in by completing a specific objective, then voting on a new objective and moving on. A the end, players participate in one of the “Survive the Night” missions where they have to hold off the hoard and protect the vats.

This is where multiplayer shines, when eight players are free to glide on rails, bouncing around and destroying the mutant attackers. After everything is said and done, a leadboard pops up and shows the scores and who placed first through eighth. Then the game adds up all the bonus objectives you completed while competing with the other player into an overall score for the team and then you’re given a chaos score. That score represents how the players are rewarded for the match. For example, we made a few hundred points and as compensation I got 1,000 dollars in cash and then another 6,000 in Overcharge.

This guy can be a bit of a nusance

This guy can be a bit of a nuisance

Despite a few short comings, Sunset Overdrive still stands out as a superb game. The controls are tight, the sheer number of enemies on screen is daunting, and the humor embedded in the game is top notch. The game included some simple, funny references like ,“IT puts the lotion in the basket” to entire ‘Breaking Booze’ missions based on the popular TV Show Breaking Bad, where players help Jess protect his unique blue vodka. Not only that, the game gives players superhuman qualities that help boost the overall insanity of the game. There is no fall damage, the ability to jump higher than any human should, and flamboyant parkour skills are a given to all players. The Amps also add to the overall craziness by giving players even more ridiculous abilities such as improved weapon skills, the ability make enemies that melee you fly back in pain, the ability to turn enemies you shoot turn into teddy bears that explode and kill other enemies, and so many others. These, plus the tons of other awesome in game mechanics allow the player to have as much fun as possible.

Insomniac truly outdoes themselves with Sunset Overdrive. I was actually sad that it was over! If you’re a fan of Insomniac’s previous works or are just wanting to try something new, potentially gut busting, and grandiosely over the top, I highly recommend purchasing Sunset Overdrive.

Sunset Overdrive Review
Sunset Overdrive grabs players by the throat and shouts "LET'S DO THIS!" and the without remorse takes players on a wild ride that truely stands out as one of this years top games.
The Good
  • Addictive Game Play
  • Handy Collectable Maps
  • Fantastic Customization Options
The Bad
  • Annoying mission reminders
  • Multiplayer was a mediocre experiance
  • Aiming is wonky in close quarters
9.5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
8.9

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel