When the Xbox One hype train started up a while back, Sunset Overdrive was among the chief titles. A teaser trailer showed a colorful, extremely parkouring world where one would slay zombie-like monsters. It was never meant to be a launch title, but it was certainly meant to push systems. So does Sunset Overdrive grind and smash its way to system seller? Well…
What’s It About?
Sunset City is the home of Fizzco, an incredibly large company in need complete control of the city. And why not! They’re fun, edgy. EXTREME. And so the masses line up to party for the release of Overcharge, the company’s take on energy drinks. Ensue Horror Night. Overcharge winds up turning its drinkers into snarling mutants and your life as a Fizzco janitor suddenly turns into that of Sunset City’s hero.
It winds up not being the most unique of stories. It follows typical patterns of character growth and pulls together a wacky group of folks together to help your cause. It actually bordered dangerously close to a Dead Rising 3 situation for me. But what does Sunset have going for it? It’s screw it humor.
Why Should I Care?
Now, that’s not to say Sunset’s humor leads it to be one of the most smartly written games. Far from, but it turns out to be a strong effort. Cover: it becomes self-deprecating and does just enough to not become incredibly annoying. But it also doesn’t become some big commentary on the state of monster survival games or how insidious highly consumeristic companies can be. It essentially puts itself in a position to almost literally say “fuck it, let’s survive this shit in style!” Granted, this won’t be for everyone. The game will be nearly too self-aware for some and sure, the joke can get a bit old. But personally I found it to be pretty enjoyable.
Sunset Overdrive’s missions are pretty cut and dry and will have you chopping up OD (mutant humans) and enemy factions throughout the city. OD actually aren’t the most difficult enemies; they’ll just come at you with massive numbers. Guns turn out to be the biggest annoyance in the game, pounding your character to no end to the enjoyment of Scabs (punkers, essentially) and Fizzco robots. You can easily switch into multiplayer, or ChaosSquad, at any photobooth within the city and you’ll be somewhat seamlessly transported into matchmaking. The only crossover involved between the modes is the experience and upgrades, so it’s somewhat more of a traditional game than it perhaps wants to be.
Gameplay is highly dependent on parkour style combat to a point where the ground might as well be lava — and in fact, it is for some game modes. It’s a video game, get it! It’s wacky and literal. But you won’t necessarily be overly punished for running around; you simply won’t accomplish things as easily. You build power through grinding, jumping and creating general chaos throughout the city. The more you build, the crazier things get and any attack has alternate, more damaging activity. To a degree, it can create almost too much chaos, but not at the cost of frame rate. Your screen just becomes splashed in orange OD blood.
Weaponry is more traditional than a game like Dead Rising, as not everything is a weapon. Still, you still have such weapons as a shotgun with balls and exploding teddy bears. Part of the problem is a general lack of ammo or confusing ammo availability when getting bombarded with enemies.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
It depends. Were you looking to have Sunset Overdrive sell you on getting an Xbox One? If so, you may want to widen your list of games to sell you. It’s definitely not the type of game to be marked as a system seller. It’s a solid effort that tends to have a lot of fun with itself. But it’s the living embodiment of a Mountain Dew attitude rather than a system seller. It drags a bit early on, but as I spent more time with it, Sunset Overdrive climbed to a comfortable, enjoyable level. And so for that, I’ll definitely say it’s worth checking out.