Xbox One exclusive, Sunset Overdrive, is a game that doesn’t take itself at all seriously. It offers players a tongue-in-cheek take on the apocalypse and, to be honest, it’s a refreshing change from some of the gloomy titles that we’ve been playing of late. Yes I’m looking at you The Evil Within.
When Fizzco decides to test their new energy drink, Overdrive Delirium XT, on the unsuspecting citizens of Sunset City all hell breaks loose.
The nefarious soft drink manufacturer has obviously taken some shortcuts in the quality control department.
Instead of getting wings the population is mutated into orange, Overdrive Delirium XT infused monsters known as the OD.
Enter our hapless hero who, Cinderella-like, was picking up litter whilst the rest of the city enjoyed the ill-fate revelry at Fizzco’s launch party.
But now, with the city gone to hell and full of mutants, our bad-ass hero is free to explore and have fun the awesomepocalypse (their word, not mine).
From the moment I started playing, Sunset Overdrive presented me with what has to be one of the most full-on gaming experiences that I’ve ever had. It’s like the developers emptied their entire ideas bag into the one game, stirred it up and called it job done.
It’s a barking-mad third-person shooter that draws upon the likes of Jet Set Radio and the Tony Hawks game, but with the vertical gameplay of Crackdown thrown in. The result is quite a unique and adrenaline-fueled gameplay experience.
The main method of transportation in the meticulously detailed Sunset City is by grinding on rails, cables and anything else with a suitably sharp edge. Cars, umbrellas and fans can also be bounced on to gain some big air.
Vertical gameplay plays a big huge part in the game, with the entire city from ground to the top floors completely traversable.
Staying at ground level is not only comparatively boring, but also very dangerous. Hang about at in the street and it won’t be long before manhole covers slide off and the OD pour out of sewers.
The OD come in various shapes and sizes. OD that consume too much Overdrive Delirium will expand into extremely volatile poppers that explode if you get too close to them. Blowers fire green ooze that’ll sap our hero’s health. Herkers are huge behemoths that like nothing better than to run humans into the ground. There are a few other types of OD, but I’ll leave them for you to discover.
Our hero is not the only survivor in town. The city has been overrun by Scabs and these disaffected citizens are just as lethal as the OD and want you just as dead.
Thankfully, over the top weapons are order of the day with exploding teddy bears, acid squirters and other ludicrous devices being order of the day. I loved the “Over-compensator” shotgun with its meat and two veg styling.
Not everyone is out there to kill you. There are also some other friendly humans that have congregated and made a base, adopting you as one of their own. It’s from them that you get your main story missions.
Around the city there are also a range of solitary types for you to interact with as well as a number of factions, each with their own set of side-missions.
There’s never a shortage of things to do in Sunset City. As well as the main missions there are loads of side-missions, races and collectables to deal with. And the city is huge, beautifully realised, and visible right off into the distance.
The protagonist and supporting characters are totally aware they reside in a video game- with them continuously breaking the forth wall. This gives the developer plenty of opportunity to poke fun of, as well as ironically take advantage of, common gaming tropes.
What other overtly game acknowledges the inexplicable disappearance of supporting cast members when the cut scene finishes?
But as amusing as it is, the game seems to be a little more zany than it needs to be, feeling a little forced at times. To be honest, Sunset Overdrive isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is.
That same feeling extends to the gameplay as well. I was expecting some crazed mix of Serious Sam with SSX Tricky and some Tony Hawks thrown it, and to a point it is. I just never found it as satisfying as I felt it could have been.
Overall, though, Sunset Overdrive is a good game that offers players something a little different and a few laughs along the way. For Xbox One owners, in my view, it’s pretty much a required purchase.