I have to say I had low hopes for Insomniac Games’ newest title, Sunset Overdrive. Insomniac Games has a track record of making either really good or really bad games, among the better titles include Ratchet & Clank & The Resistance series. On the poor side of their past games are titles such as Fuse, which was an all around failure when it came to gameplay and story. This mixed bag of games made me feel uneasy when it came to the pre-release of Sunset Overdrive, but thankfully most of my predictions were wrong, although some remained true.
Sunset Overdrive takes place in a dystopian metropolis by the name of Sunset City in the year of 2027. The player works for a company by the name of FizzCo, a large corporation that owns and controls multiple different markets and acts as the antagonist in a way since they caused the situation in Sunset City. During one of FizzCo’s parties to launch their new energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT, the drink ends up turning the consumers into mutants. These fast running mutants often roam in hordes and are the main enemies players will encounter in this collapsing society. There are also specific kind of mutants (this idea of specialized infected is a call back for me at least to the Left 4 Dead series). While the mutants may be fast,
their AI isn’t exactly the most advanced when compared to other titles; the shear amount of enemies you will encounter in the streets of Sunset City, though, is enough to make up for the lack of intelligence in the mutants. In summary, the story and plot is the last thing you will be worrying about – instead Insomniac provides players with a unique run and gun type of game play.
The gameplay is what really makes Sunset Overdrive a worthwhile game. It combines aspects of free running, running-and-gunning, and both vertical and horizontal traversal all into a smooth and fluid process. The aiming feels a lot like Saints Row and the grinding aspect, oddly enough, where you use rails for transport reminds me of the older Tony Hawk games. The developers obviously want players to be mobile on all terrains since your character is pretty slow on the ground. This forces the player to move since if you stay on the ground, you will be swarmed by the mutants. That being said, you aren’t completely safe on the rails, but once you are there you don’t have to worry about balancing yourself like in the Tony Hawk games. The wall running also comes in handy as you make your way around the collapsed city.
The overall atmosphere of Sunset Overdrive isn’t that original. Its blatant humor and perverted jokes take obvious aspects from comical games such as Saints Row. I found the over-the-top jokes to be too “out there” and honestly some of the references felt uncomfortable. In other words, the game doesn’t take itself that seriously, which in some people’s opinions doesn’t really matter. In my opinion, I felt that the games humor simply wasn’t targeted towards my own age group, and its tone would suite far better with a younger age group, if the game wasn’t so graphic. I for one am not against video game violence, but the over-the-top violence against the player’s adversaries is a little to much, even if they are mutants. Sunset Overdrive simply glorifies violence by adding unneeded amounts of gore which some may find comical in a sickly manner. Luckily players can turn down the gore and language in the game options, something I myself did to get rid of all this unneeded and over the top violence and language. That aside the game itself really is enjoyable when you look beneath its surface.
Finally, the customization and cosmetic options in Sunset Overdrive are abundant. The items and apparel that can decorate your player character reminds me again of Saints Row, acting as just another aspect borrowed from the other franchise. You can make your character look all tough and apocalyptic, dress them up in a fur get-up, or put them in a football uniform. I was honestly impressed by the amount of choices the player is given, so if personalization and in-depth customization is something you look forward to in a game, Sunset Overdrive has an abundant amount of choices.
Verdict: 7/10 * Sunset Overdrive has fun and enjoyable game play, but it lacks in a reasonable story and borrows multiple aspects from other games. It takes all of these aspects, though, and blends them into a fun package. It is entertaining to play, and if you are into senseless action and violence (something I myself don’t seek in a game), then you will more than likely enjoy Insomniac’s new title. I feel this game was merely put out as a filler game to keep gamers busy until The Halo Master Chief Collection comes out, so if you can wait until the 11th of November I don’t suggest getting this game, because the MCC will be awesome!