[dropcap size=small]At[/dropcap] a first glance, Sunset Overdrive may seem like a chaotic cluster of colors, thickly covered in abstract over-the-top action that crosses the line into the territory of beyond absurd without ever looking back, while never taking itself too seriously. In fact, that is exactly what the game is, does, and is the precise reason it is epically entertaining. Think Dead Rising 3 meets Tony Hawk, then dump an entire Home Depot paint department on top of it. That is Sunset Overdrive.
During a launch party of FizzCo’s new drink, “Over Charge”, the game reveals that in order to remain one step ahead of their competitors, FizzCo accidentally forgot to prioritize government testing of their product to make sure it was safe to consume. The result? Everyone turned into ravenous monsters bent on destroying everything in the city in search of more Over Charge (such an over-used plot, right?)
The game does an amazing job of having a strong sense of humor that is not unlike that of Borderlands (Borderlands 2, The Pre-Sequel fall in line with this). Whenever you feel that something is too ridiculous, the game recognizes this and has a knack for breaking the fourth wall to remind players not to pay the absurdities any mind, because it is after all, a video game. Even the tips and tutorials in the overhead narration poke fun by reminding the player how to do things, just so the nameless FizzCo employee you play as can bicker back and forth with it.
“Think Dead Rising 3 meets Tony Hawk, then dump an entire Home Depot paint department on top of it. That is Sunset Overdrive.“
The wide range of weapons in your arsenal contains a vast array of enjoyment in their many forms. From exploding teddy bears, to a kitty cannon, to electrified vinyl projectiles, Sunset Overdrive has your back covered and then some.
Customization for your version of the character is equally impressive, with countless combinations of hair styles, clothing options, and facial features. Add a faux hawk hairdo, and you are ready to roll.
Of course, the clothing options often pay homage to other franchises, ranging from Assassin’s Creed to the more obscure wardrobe of the game director’s 5 year old daughter (Ainsley’s Outfit). But that alone isn’t all. Each time you die (and you will at some point from being overwhelmed by the endless waves of enemies you will face), you are brought back to life in the form of some sort of nod to something in pop culture like being revived from a mummy tomb, or being zapped in from Valve’s Portal Gun.
The fast-paced gameplay makes for unlike anything I can recall on a console in recent years, making Sunset Overdrive stand on its own in its unique sense of style and bravado. Killing enemies is a blast, and it doesnt seem to get old, no many how many come at you at any given time. Rail sliding, jump, swinging, wall running, the abilities are all here accompanied by player enhancements known as “Amps” which will surely add to the fun in the form of unique powers and weapon modifications. Your “Style Meter” keeps track of how often and how well you kill your enemies while keeping a close eye on how good you look doing it. The more style you have, the more Amps will be unloaded on the hordes of enemies thrown at you and your random arsenal.
The development team has an excellent sense of humor, giving gamers what they want in endless portions. Even the supporting Over Charge website is an entertaining read.
Developed by Insomniac Games and Published by Microsoft Studios, Sunset Overdrive is unique to the Xbox One, adding to a relatively decent list of reasons to pick one up this holiday season.