By TheAcidSkull 11 Comments
It's becoming a tendency of mine to pick up games I wasn't even considering this year. First Wolfenstein, then The Evil Within, and now I've come to Sunset Overdrive. The reason I picked it up though, is probably because of the fact that I was sincerely happy that there was another open world game, which focused on mind blowing fun, and really, that's what Overdrive is all about. If you want a quick description of the game the only thing you need to know is that Insomniac games decided to take the zombie apocalypse, the punk rock aesthetic, parkour, insanity, some seriously ridiculous guns and decided to role them into one single adventure.
All of these ideas - when rolled into one - create something very distinct and interesting, so even if you enjoy some of these concepts, chances are that you may not like the final product. Basically, I'm just telling you to know what you're getting into, which you probably already know.
Now I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the people picked up the game for the sake of the aesthetic and the gameplay rather than the story, because for the most part, sunset overdrive is very cartoony and overly ridiculous. The game constantly makes fun of itself and all the usual game tropes it uses, and there is nothing really wrong with that. Some may enjoy this type of 4th wall humor and some may not. Personally, my experience was a little mixed on this. The first 4 to 5 hours were very fun to play, but really weak in terms of story and humor. I barely even chuckled, and most of the jokes kind of made me cringe rather than laugh. It had it's moments, I'll admit that, but overall the beginning isn't something I genuinely liked. That being said, I'm glad that I kept playing, because at a certain point in the game everything picks up and never looks back. The humor becomes sharp and funny, new and diverse characters are introduced, and the game generally manages to stand tall in the very tone or style the developers have chosen.
Moreover, every character in Sunset Overdrive can be considered a walking and talking apocalypse cliche, and I mean that in the best way possible. Whereas some of the comments and remarks came off as cringe worthy and boring, the characters really brought the game to life for me. They are diverse, fun and absolutely crazy. Almost every guy or girl you meet in the game has his or her own unique gimmick, which I'm sure everyone will enjoy. The writers don't hold back on using these stereotypes to their fullest potential either. Plus, you can tell that the voice actors are having a blast, since they did such an amazing job of portraying their given roles. I'm sure you'll have - much like me - a personal favorite among the plethora of side heroes you meet. In many ways, they make the bizarre and crazy story of Sunset Overdrive much more coherent and enjoyable.
Sunset Overdrive also gives you a lot of freedom on how you want to look. I wasn't even aware of this when I picked it up, but after the weak and pathetic customization options in Destiny,I was very happy to see that I had so many options. When I sit in front of a screen for 30 minutes, trying to decided on what my face should look like, it means that the game is something right. What's humorous is the instance I'm referring to was at the beginning of the game, where you're sort of limited on what you can wear. As you proceed and advance further, you will unlock new costumes and clothe, all of which you can easily buy and purchase with money gained through slaughtering mutants, bandits and robots.
Speaking of which, while the enemies do share similar visual qualities, they do differ in interesting and unique ways. Most of the powers the enemies have exist to serve the gameplay, which is fantastic if you ask me. In Sunset Overdrive the most integral rule is to always stay in motion. The gameplay mechanics and level design is completely built on the idea to allow the player as much freedom of movement as possible. This is where the game really shines. The gameplay manages to make you feel both invincible and helpless simultaneously. While grinding and jumping around different platforms and ropes, you have an enormous advantage over your foes, whereas on the ground, you are as slow as a slug, which makes you extremely vulnerable, especially when facing hordes of enemies. But the game doesn't make you overpowered, since most of the enemy "powers" I mentioned above are aimed at hindering and stopping your constant motion, thus making you easier to kill. You're goal is to avoid these attacks while trying very hard to keep yourself from stopping. This may sounds simple, but when actually playing it's much more difficult to execute than it sounds. Granted, the game does leave a lot of room for mistakes, because I've encountered some overwhelming odds at certain points, and I know for a fact that I would have been extremely frustrated if the game had forced me to start the whole section all over again . Luckily, sunset overdrive isn't a trial and error game. The main goal of here is to provide a fun but somewhat challenging experience, which, is something the developers accomplished with flying colors.
Furthermore, to further add layers to the gameplay, Insomniac games added a lot of weapon and power variety. Through certain missions you unlock new amps, which in some ways adapts to your style of gameplay. I didn't experiment much with it, but for the most part all of the powers seemed very useful in many ways. But like I said, it won't make you too powerful. For example, most enemies have this very annoying jab attack which knocks you off balance, but through a certain amp you can repel these foes upon contact. However, you'll have to sacrifice the ability in exchange for a new one.
These upgrades aren't limited to your physical capabilities though, since these amps can be applied to guns as well. Which brings me to my next point, the guns in this game are absolutely, fantastically and amazingly insane. The gimmicks and names alone are absolutely hilarious, but they enhance the experience in multitude of ways. As I said, the main focus here is to allow the player as much freedom as possible, thus, the guns have unique properties, which allow the player a lot of room to experiment and find the style the find the most comfortable. Personally, before going into a fight I freezed most of my enemies to keep them in place, and then proceeded to bomb them with acid sprinklers and Teddybear grenade launchers. And if this wasn't enough, you can plant different traps around the area, all of which have unique abilities that grant the player some degree of crowd control.
However, I was a bit disappointed by the boss battles. Don't get me wrong, the game has two very cool and interesting boss battles that utilize the core gemaplay mechanics, but essentially, as the characters in Sunset Overdrive point out themselves, most of the battles only include easy mini-bosses. This is in no way a huge problem, in fact, I had a lot of fun during these mini encounters, but after seeing what the game can accomplish with it's level design and gameplay during the boss sections, it kind of burst my bubble when we didn't get to see more interesting mega fights.
Furthermore, the main structure of almost every single assignment in the game boils down to "Go from point A to point B", which, is usually really boring and annoying, but In Sunset Overdrive the missions, while the the same in many ways, have specific embellishments that set them apart from one another. Plus, to be fair the game addresses and makes fun of itself on the mission structure so I guess it's okay. Personally though, I hope that next time around they'll think of more diverse ways to tell the story, because, despite the versatility, at certain times doing similar errands got a bit tedious.
In conclusion, if you manage to blow through the story and/or single player quickly, there's tons more to do in Sunset Overdrive. There are numerous side missions, collectables, enemies, and online challenges to keep you entertained at all times. Basically, you have a lot of excuses to take enjoyment in Overdrives insane punk world with wonderful cartoony visuals, great music, witty(though initially tedious) dialogue, and interesting gameplay.