Sunset Overdive’s world design is indicative of the attitude it wants to portray. The generation of zero attention span, multi-tasking, lack of serious emotion and quite frankly an annoying in-your-face attitude is what to expect from Insomniac’s new game. It’s story and characters will often annoy you as they try too hard to be relevant and spew humour that never hits it mark but that’s exactly what I wanted from Sunset Overdrive – I loved every minute of it.
Very quickly you will try to draw some comparisons to other games that came before including the Jet Set series and Tony Hawk with a splash of inFAMOUS and although those comparisons are evident, they don’t convey what moving and shooting around Sunset City is like. After the series of grim, dark games, Sunset Overdrive is a colourful romp in an anti-corporate narrative. The visual package also adds some punk-rock aesthetics with some fourth-wall breaking moments that range from genuinely funny to almost embarrassing.
In Sunset Overdrive, you are a rubbish collector for a soft drinks company. Upon the release of their newest energy drink, those who drink it turn into orange mutants known as the OD. You then become the superhero who grinds, bounces, and blasts his way through Sunset City with some ridiculously good weaponry, and some just ridiculous weaponry.
Customisation is central to Sunset Overdrive as you can customise almost every aspect of it to suit both your visual preferences and your style of play. One of the neat little aspects of the game is the character creation allows you to do what you want with it from adding make-up and facial hair to adding gender-neutral clothing to express your character in any way you want.
This freedom expands to the gameplay. Insomniac have become famous for their weapon design and this wackiness continues, albeit with some weapons simply being generic guns with a wacky name or aesthetic. The flaming compensator for instance is an obvious dick joke gun it essentially functions as a shotgun as well as the TNTeddy being a grenade launcher. There are some however that bring some uniqueness to your arsenal and a covers pretty much every base of offensive gameplay.
The game also includes a rather deep and diverse upgrade system in every aspect of your play. As you use your weapons, you level up that weapon you utilise. This can then allow you to add amps which act as a enhancements to add slight additions to your weapons. Amps are unlocked by defending your base in special wave-based missions. These amps can also be unlocked that will change your movement, as well as enhance your attacks like adding flame balls to objects that you bounce upon and more. Switching these amps up can change the feel of your player rather drastically.
Sunset Overdrive is all about style as it always shows a meter in the top right-hand corner that’s broken into four levels. This is a perfect addition to getting to the heart of Sunset Overdrive: the gameplay. Despite the gorgeous and bright visuals, the core of the game is the gameplay and combat. Even though Sunset Overdrive is an open-world game, you won’t be running down the street or getting into any vehicles. Traversal in Sunset Overdrive is all about grinding, bouncing, and gliding around the city.
Pairing that with shooting however is slightly frustrating system to get used to at the beginning. Being able to have the capacity to shoot down enemies as you have the perception to grind and bounce around the area. Chances are, you misplace your movement and miss grinds, miss vehicles and quickly end up on the ground and be crowded my multiple enemies. This frustration fades as you become accustomed to the different approach that Sunset Overdrive asks you to employ.
Another thing to expect is be distracted. From the stunning visuals to the amount of content in the world, there’s always something to do everywhere you go in Sunset City. There are literally hundreds of things to collect as well as complete a myriad of side-missions that helps you by rewarding you with money to buy more clothes as well as overcharge which is the currency used to buy new weapons and ammo.
The story unfortunately bounces around from trying too hard to being funny to trying to add some impact to the characters to create drama but that never delivers. Thankfully though, the gameplay is centre and rightfully so. Traversal is a thorough delight and even though the combat can disappoint, it’s incredibly hard to put down as you are bombarded with content. It plays best when completing challenges, devoid of narrative and it’s just you, the enemies, and a full arsenal of weapons. Sunset Overdrive is a massive, beautiful world, offering fun, something that is desperately needed this holiday season.