Hello you lovely people; Clarice here, and this may be a bit different to what I usually do! Despite me usually posting articles about my opinions on different gaming matters, today I will be reviewing an Xbox One exclusive game, Sunset Overdrive!
Due to having a lack of an Xbox One console for a few years, I had yet to experience such games as Halo, Gears of War, and Sunset Overdrive, and boy was I missing out on an experience and a half. Going into this game I was completely blind, and honestly just expected corny jokes, bright colours and barely any story, appealing to nothing but angsty teens that want to do nothing but preach anarchy…And to be frank, yes, that is what was presented to me, however it was more than just that, it was full of personality and energy, and although I have to say the story in itself wasn’t its strongest point, this wasn’t a game that focused on a story but the development of characters and the freedom to express yourself in how you play. Sunset Overdrive is a third person shooter that heavily is inspired by the Saints Row franchise – This much is prevalent within its’ mechanics and even how the game controls, down to the playstyle and presentation. It’s main gameplay focus are parkour elements, such as vaulting, swinging and grinding on cables, which helps you to get around the city in a much faster and more productive manner, and not to mention, just like in another parkour game with zombie-like enemies, Dying Light, parkour is essential in getting away from the OD (Overcharge Drinkers) Mutants that are running rampant in Sunset City. All of these elements, and even the way it looks blends nicely in with each other creating a fluent and pleasant experience, despite the obvious influences from other modern games.
So what is the story all about? You start of as yourself, the player, as you will always be called throughout the story. To start with, you begin by customising your character in a variety of body sizes, hairstyles, clothing options and facial structures, and to be honest I absolutely love customising, it’s what makes a game a much more of a personal experience – You can choose from a range face shapes and hair colours and it’s all very punk rockish, which I very much adore, and obviously whether you would like to play as a boy or a girl, and even if you change your mind halfway through the game you can change everything about yourself just as if you was at the beginning. The female voice actress (Stephanie Lemelin, ) is what made the game if you played as a female, she is quirky and sarcastic and can tell she enjoyed her time recording her lines, I can’t say much for the male actor (Yuri Lowenthal), as I didn’t experience the game as a male but I can guarantee that he too made the game strong and as charismatic just as Stephanie did, especially given his extremely impressive backlog of other roles in gaming.
You start of as a local cleaner in Sunset City and have been set with the task of cleaning up after party goers during a rock concert; bottles upon bottles of OverCharge Delirium XT (or OCD for short) are piling up, and people are growing out of control – This is where you, the player, begin your journey of self-realisation and confidence start. Due to FizzCo (The antagonist company of the game) skipping out on health regulations, whoever drinks OverCharge mutates and transforms into boiled infested mutants, that only want to kill and eat those who have not mutated, similar to the film I am Legend featuring Will Smith, and just like the film, FizzCo blocked all means of escaping or entering the city using various means. Seems to be a common theme within the gaming and film industry, don’t you agree? This is why I say in this game in particular, the story itself is NOT it’s strong suit, as we have seen this happen throughout the dawn of zombie and outbreak movies; however, maybe the developers, Insomniac Games, intended to use this cliché plot to emphasize on the cheesiness of this game..? Sounds silly, I know, but this game is full of gags poking fun at other franchises and referencing popular culture and I for one love it when developers do that. Even to when you respawn, every animation has some sort of reference to something, for example I once respawned by exiting out of a DeLorean from Back to the Future and a random NPC enters it and leaves, or maybe you resurrect from a grave and for a brief moment your body, or should I say corpse, is all decayed and greenish only to then pop back into reality and turn back into your character. Next minute you might be coming out of a Portal or a sarcophagus doing the Mummy Walk. This to me is what make this game really stand out, simple things like that they paid attention to, putting more love and care into a game that pokes fun at our film and gaming cultures.
Sunset Overdrive to me is a game not to be taken too seriously, it’s not something that is there to punish you if you died, nor is it there to completely challenge you, it is a game that is meant to make you laugh and have fun. To make you feel like a goddamn superhero, and it does that job right. Sure, there was a couple of missions where I nearly lost it as it got quite annoying and repetitive, but to play the devil’s advocate, what game doesn’t make you feel that? Especially when this game gets very hectic due to the amount of OD there are, swarming your screen and you got to grind, bounce and run to survive; sometimes it wasn’t that easy. There is plenty of variety of enemies, and different strategies that you need to undertake to beat them, ranging from human to machine, ranged enemies to tankier enemies, it has them all, and maybe too many of them at some points.
To conclude with, Sunset Overdrive was a blast and a honestly a bit of a gem that Insomniac Games have created, and whilst not everyone will agree with me, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and gave me a decent amount of hours that kept me entertained and wanting more. I would definitely give this game an 8 out of 10 – It does leave a lot to be desired, such as more side missions and maybe even more boss fights, but all in all, this was a solid game that will provide you with hours of fun.