Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sunset Overdrive Review

Sunset Overdrive is an action game that was developed by Insomniac Games and published by Microsoft in October 2014 for the Xbox One. In April 2016 Sunset Overdrive was released as part of Microsoft's Games With Gold program. When it was launched it was marketed as a game that was good enough to help sell the new Xbox One. Did Microsoft succeed with Sunset Overdrive?


Sunset Overdrive takes place in the year 2027. The city of Sunset is the home of FizzCo, a company that launched a new energy drink called "OverCharge Delirum XT". FizzCo didn't do enough research on the drink and when it was launched it turned the drinkers into monsters called OD for "OverCharge Drinkers". Your character, who works as a janitor for FizzCo, has to team up with the survivors to escape before Sunset City is destroyed so the OD don't spread across the world.

As the game begins you're at work cleaning the city when the OD attack you. You are able to escape without being killed by help from a man named Walter. He tells you that he has a way to leave the city and needs your help to get the things he needs to escape. You set out to find the equipment needed to escape while the baddies try and kill you.

In the city, you'll find the OD monsters everywhere. The OD are basically zombies, and honestly, with how popular zombies are right now I don't understand why they didn't just make the OD zombies. Possibly to make the game unique? You'll also find enemy humans that are called "Scabs". While traveling through the city you'll come across the Scabs fighting the OD and if you get too close they will also attack you. Both of these groups will also attack the four friendly human factions in the city who are willing to help you to escape the city before it's destroyed.

The first group you'll encounter are the Oxfords which is a group of rich college nerds. Sam who is the spokesmen for the group offers to help you gather up the supplies you need. Next, you'll encounter the Troop Bushido who are a late teen to young adult group like Girl Scouts that are into Japanese culture. After them, you'll find the Fargarths who are LARPers that have watched one too many episodes of Game Of Thrones. Last you'll encounter Las Catrinas, a group of cheerleaders who have been helping the suffering children left in the city.


Moving around in this game to me feels like the old Tony Hawk games but instead of skateboards you just use your feet and travel by grinding rails, hanging off power lines and bouncing off all kinds of objects including cars. Unfortunately, you cannot drive any vehicles in this game. There is no run button so you'll be parkouring all over the city and I have to say it was a lot of fun.

The weapons that you'll be using are a handful of fantasy projectile weapons. You'll use things like a roman candle shooter, electricity guns, a few realistic guns and lots more. Your character doesn't level up like in normal games. Instead, you'll earn XP for the guns that you use which works basically in the same way. Each gun can level up five levels and they get more powerful with each level.

As you're killing bad guys you'll need to grind rails or bounce off things while you fight the bad guys because it gives you more XP. There is a lightning bolt graphic on the top of the screen and the more XP you earn through killing and tricks the higher the modifier is so you'll want to constantly shoot while performing tricks.

It looks like I'm busting ghosts.

While you work your way through the game you'll earn badges for movement like grinding or bouncing, weapon badges for kills with different guns and kill badges for killing certain enemies. Once you do enough to earn a badge, I'm not sure how many it is, you unlock an overdrive. There are six different overdrive spots you can use. The overdrives you select grants you different modifiers so it's important that you choose overdrives that match your style of gameplay. I choose overdrives that gave me extra style modifiers for the weapons I liked to use which helps me level my weapons up quicker.

The other modifiers that you can use are called amps. Each weapon can use an amp and you can get them either through missions or buy purchasing them. You also have five personal amps including melee swing, hero, epic, dive bomb and hero extra. All it means is the melee swing is an amp that will do something when you are swinging your crowbar. Each swing has a chance of doing something like shooting lightning or fire at other enemies. I'll admit this may seem a bit confusing, and it was for me when I started the game, but you'll figure it out as you play.

One of the characters has no arms or legs.

The biggest tip I can give you is to use the right weapon for the right enemy. On the weapon screen, it will show you how much damage each weapon does to specific enemies and you'll want to switch to the appropriate weapon. Trust me that I had some trouble until I this out and it made the game much easier. Also, the "Dirty Harry" revolver seems like a bad gun because it only holds a few rounds and is slow to fire but you'll want to use it, especially on bosses because it does some serious damage.

Sunset Overdrive has some online modes to play as it's become customary for every new game to have an online mode. In this game online is called Chaos squad and you and up to seven other players can battle the OD in what are basically a tower defense game. I haven't played online and I'm sure if I'll try it so dig in if it interests you. Everything transfers from online and the single player game which is nice.

There are also a number of challenges that you can complete for a bronze, silver and gold medal in each. Each challenge has you do something like kill enemies with a specific gun or making it from one section of the city to another within in a time limit. You'll earn rewards and XP for doing these and some of them are fun to do and some suck. I'm sure you'll find something you'll like to try.


I'm not a fan of collecting items in games especially for the sake of adding length to a game and this game definitely has some of that going on. There are a bunch of things to collect including cell phones, balloons, holographic signs, supply drops, shoes, and fashion items. There are also cameras vending machines and blimps to destroy. You can also find secret locations, satellites to hack and billboards to vandalize.

Some of these have over 100 to find so it would take you some time to find all the items. The makers do make it fairly easy to find them by selling maps for each item in the different locations in the city. Most of these collectibles are easy to find so I would always grab a few I see when I complete missions.

To me, it seems like they went a little out of control by putting so many collectibles in this game but most do serve a purpose. They can be exchanged for amps for yourself and your weapons so there is a reason to collect them. My suggestion is to buy all the maps for each city section and do them one at a time because collecting everything in the game in one sitting will take hours.


The makers of Sunset Overdrive went with a very colorful style for this game and I liked it a lot. As I mentioned earlier I think they wanted to skip the zombies and go with something unique and It works well.

Sunset Overdrive is a very over the top tongue-in-cheek game. When your character meets with Los Catrinas and asks for their help they decline. Then your character says I will do some jobs for you and then I'll earn your trust and you'll help me, that's the way these things work. When you die you respawn in a bunch of different ways. You are dropped off in a flying time machine car (Back To The Future), a coffin will come out of the ground and you step out of it (Zombie), a phone booth comes out of the ground (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) but my favorite was when the red rocket ship crashed and you climb out which looks exactly like the rocket that Superman arrived at Earth in from the 40's and 50's comics.


I've had a bad run with bugs in the games I've played recently and I found some in Sunset Overdrive too. A few things happened that were not too important like when the music cut out and the game felt creepy. I didn't much like the punk music in the game but it fits this game so when it was missing it stood out to me.

I also found a truck that I could walk right through.

Neither of these are too bad but then I had maybe the worst glitch I've ever encountered. I was doing one of the longer missions and I don't know what happened because suddenly I was stuck in a car bouncing up and down at an incredible speed. I could fire my weapons and take damage from enemies but I couldn't move. I tried everything and nothing worked. Eventually, I decided to let the OD kill me and restart the missing but before I did that I used all my ammo and ran up a kill streak of 459 so that's something I guess.

Here I am stuck in the car.
You can see my kill streak of 459.

This isn't a glitch but I don't like that every time I do something in the game, run up a high score or kill a boss, the game saves the gamer clip for me to watch later. I don't completely understand why the Xbox does this because I can easily record anything I want on my own. Sunset Overdrive recorded 90 video clips, 90! I am not making this up. This seems to be a new thing because other games have done the same thing.


When I first played this game I tried it for an hour and quit. It didn't seem fun to me and I was going to skip it and play something else. A few days later I gave it one more shot and as I learned how to play the game I enjoyed it quite a bit. If it doesn't work for you at first I would say to give it time for the game to get going.

Sunset Overdrive has references to everything, similar to Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. You'll be diving into the water nearly naked to collect leeches. You fight all kinds of monsters and robots and dragons. You'll organize a rock concert. One of my favorite moments involved me making a sword with a nuclear reactor! This game has a lot of great things in it make it a fun world to play in.

This game was a blast to play and had lots of very funny moments. I won't give it away but the ending but it made me laugh. When the credits rolled it said "In Order Of Termination" before the names scrolled. This game has a great sense of humor but it's not for kids. There is lots of swearing and lots of blood and guts so I wouldn't recommend it to younger kids but.... you can turn the swearing and gore so anyone can play it. I'm not sure if I'd seen this before but it's a great idea.

As of this writing, I have 18 hours into the game and that includes completing the main story, all the side quests, at least half the collectibles, and about 20 challenges completed. If I just played the main game it would have taken around 10 hours I'd say.

I have the Power!!

I really had fun with this game, I liked the world you play in and the crazy different missions you'll play. For me the vast amount of collectibles was annoying and the big glitch I had sucked. I think that while a bit flawed this is a good game to get people to buy an Xbox One to play Sunset Overdrive. I rate Sunset Overdrive a 7 out of 10.

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