Sunset Overdrive - Welcome to Insanity

Review by Nathan Miller.
Available exclusively on Xbox One.

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"Take me down to the Sunset City, where the people are creatures and the weapons are crazy, oh why don't you please take me home.." (Done in an Axl Rose singing voice). Sunset Overdrive is the embodiment of insanity in video game form. The colors are vibrant, the weapons are remarkably unusual, and the characters are all one of a kind. Insomniac Games (the creators of Ratchet and Clank) have always had a knack for crafting unusual weapons and characters, but Sunset Overdrive is easily the best representation of their ideas and concepts. Sunset Overdrive is an open-world third person shooter exclusively on the Xbox One. Microsoft gave Insomniac Games the freedom to create whatever game they wanted (with no restrictions) and the result was a game that not only is good, but it might be the best Xbox One exclusive thus far.

The Story

Sunset Overdrive takes place in Sunset City. a futuristic metropolis, where a company named FizzCo decides to test out their new energy drink, OverCharge Delirium XT. The main character is a fully customizable (skin tone, gender, body type) individual who works for FizzCo at the start of the game. As he/she is working a release event for OverCharge, all the people who quenched their thirst with the new energy drink began to mutate into horrible creatures dubbed "OD." FizzCo initiates a city wide lock-down and starts doing "damage control" to stop survivors from escaping or releasing the truth of what happened. The main character's mission is to find a way out of Sunset City and bring back help for the remaining survivors.

My Unique Snowflake.

My Unique Snowflake.

The Gameplay

Sunset Overdrive is all about style. The game awards players for grinding, bouncing off cars, wall running, zip-lining, and various other aerobatic movements with a point multiplier and special "amps." It is worth stating that if you run around on the ground and try to kill enemies, you will die. Style is king in Sunset City so hail to the king, baby. Amps are basically what runes are for armor in any role-playing game. They add special abilities or perks to your skill gauge, weapons, or various equipment slots; such as: A melee amp can make your character throw fireballs every time you melee or a hero amp can make it so enemies are knocked back with a force field when they hit you. There are a lot of different amps with a ton of insane effects (the ones I listed are nothing when compared to others). Other than the amps, the more style based movements and kills you do will unlock upgrades (overdrives) for your character. These upgrades make single shot weapons stronger, make grinding give 20% more styles points, and etc. The upgrade system is very complex with tons of options.

Free falling

Sunset Overdrive is an open-world third person shooter that relies on style (as I mentioned before). There are easily near a thousand collectibles in the game and 50 plus challenge missions sprinkled throughout this humongous city. The challenges consist of jumping through x-amount of rings in a certain amount of time, shooting down x-amount of mines in the sky while flying a plane (from a story mission), and etc. There are a lot of different options and all have leaderboards to help fuel your competitive fire. The main story can be finished between 6-8 hours, but there are plenty of side story missions that can easily double that amount of time. The missions vary between collecting items for characters, protecting your various bases from OD, stripping down nude and swimming in a fountain in order to have leeches latch onto you, then drinking an entire bottle of flu medicine (to make the leeches absorb the medicine), so you can then put the leeches on a very ill larper who takes his role too seriously, and various other weird scenarios. 

The weapons in Sunset Overdrive are unconventional and inventive. Examples: "The Dude", A bowling ball launcher; or the "TNTeddy", a cannon that shoots out teddy bears strapped with TNT. Let me just say, that these weapon examples are only the tip of the iceberg. There are some weapons that will be wacky and non-sensible, but it adds to the rest of the insanity in the game and that is welcomed by me. Amps can have a huge effect on the weapons you use. For example: you can equip "The Dude" with an amp that will shoot rockets out of any enemy you kill just to spice things up. Also, the more you use a weapon will level it up. Leveling up weapons will give you an amp slot and more ammo capacity just to name a few. There are plenty of ways to acquire new weapons and amps, but you need to be willing to invest your time into more than just the main story missions. The more you do, the more currency you will earn. You can buy hundreds of new customization items, weapons, amps, or even collectible maps from different store fronts. It will make life easier on you, and it will keep your interest up for the game.

A few of the weapon choices. The Flaming Compensator is a shotgun with "balls" that shoots
fire buck shots

Lastly, Chaos Squad is an 8-player online co-op mode where you protect precious vats of OverCharge from waves of "OD." Your team is given a grace period before each wave, so players can set up traps (these are also in single player) that can kill or stop incoming "OD." Traps can vary from turret guns that upgrade themselves after so many kills, spinning swords, or even a spring board that can launch "OD" into those swords, there are tons of options for traps. Traps use energy and some traps take more energy than others to run. This adds a strategic element to these traps which also needs to be coupled with team strategies in order to take full advantage of them. Your team needs to work together if you guys want to survive the many waves of "OD" chaos squad has to offer. 

The Good

Sunset Overdrive is a fascinating game. It is the Deadpool of video games. The Jet Set Radio-esque killing spree you will embark on is filled with pop culture references and a lot of breaking of the fourth wall. It is a game that loves itself and in collation is a game that has had a lot of love put into it. It is easily one of the funniest games I have ever played. The humor is nonstop and never seems to get old. Whether it be the ridiculous flying mascot calling you expletives, a comic book store clerk sending you to collect comics from deceased/mutated customers, or the sheer insanity of everything that makes this game what it is, Sunset Overdrive has an ambiance that is solely its own. The visuals are bright and colorful while the weapons are unlike anything I have experienced. The amps in the game can completely alter the way a gun works, and they can also change the way you control your character. Once you get the hang of traversing around Sunset City, you will never walk around on ground level. Insomniac games did an outstanding job pushing for players to adapt with the needs of the game. It is rewarding to keep up your style gauge and multiplier, and they reward you well enough where you always keep your style up regardless of if you are fighting enemies.

Fizzy

The sheer amount of content puts most games to shame. When I stated earlier that there are near a thousand collectibles in the game, I was not exaggerating. The personalization of your character is the best of any game released, period. There are no rules which leads the way for people to create distinct characters that represent an unbiased vision of themselves for an online environment. You can play multiplayer and see all different types of characters that are not close to yours in any way. On that note, you will play multiplayer and have a tremendous amount of fun. It is a fun mode that can create intense moments of pressure whenever the OD begin to overwhelm you. In retrospect, the entire game is like that. Sunset Overdrive is fun as hell.       

The Bad

The over excessive expletives (there is an option to turn them off) and humor could be a turn off for people. It can be perhaps to insane for people to handle. The upgrade system can be cumbersome thanks to the jammed packed menu screens and could confuse people who were not paying attention during the tutorials. I had a few technical issues while playing. Most were very minor, but I had one where I died and every time I was revived I would fall through the map just to die again. This happened a vast amount of times before it finally did not happen (I did not want to lose progress on the mission I was completing). Although that sounds like a big issue, the game is well polished and that was the only time something of that nature happened. Lastly, I did not like that there is more than one currency in Sunset Overdrive. It is not that much of an issue, but it is a bit pointless. Why not just give more of one over having multiple ones?

Conclusion

Grind

Sunset Overdrive is unlike any other third person shooter you have played. It is a full packaged product that gives you all the bells and whistles that would overjoy anyone picking up the game. You will laugh your ass off and have an excessive amount of fun in the process. If you have an Xbox One and did not pick up Sunset Overdrive, you are missing out on a truly unique game that should be picked up by anyone passionate about gaming. Insomniac Games envisioned an explosive game that would drop the jaws of all who played it, and they succeeded in creating that game. Kudos Insomniac, Kudos.

Final Pew Rating: 5 out of 5 Pews

SHOULD I BUY THIS IF I AM A FAN OF SAINTS ROW?
YES, YOU WILL FIND MUCH AMUSEMENT IN SUNSET OVERDRIVE IF YOU ENJOYED SAINTS ROW.

SHOULD I RENT THIS OVER BUYING IT?
IF YOU ONLY CARE ABOUT COMPLETING THE STORY, I CAN SEE ONLY RENTING IT; HOWEVER, IF YOU WANTED TO EXPERIENCE EVERYTHING THE GAME HAS TO OFFER, BUYING IT IS THE ONLY VIABLE OPTION.

SHOULD I WEAR THE CASE ON MY HEAD LIKE A HAT?
IT'S AMERICA, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT MY FRIEND.