Sunset Overdrive is trying its hardest to put on a silly voice, some stupid clothes and shout ‘look at how zany I am’. And it sort of works. From its first reveal video Insomniac Games have gone to the extreme to show how colourful and vibrant Sunset Overdrive is. The open world adventure is set after an apocalypse, but you wouldn’t think that from the look of the game. Bright colours and a cartoonish aesthetic give life to the end of the world. The sense of humour is a mixed bag with forth wall breaking jokes and references to modern culture splattered about the place.
Sunset Overdrive wants you to keep moving, constantly. Thats the main point of the game, to keep moving. Free-running and grinding are your tools. Starting off it can be a little awkward. Your standard running speed is pretty slow and you can quickly become overwhelmed by enemies if you stick to the ground. So dive, duck, roll and dodge as long as you’re moving, you’re good.
With tap of the X button and you’re jumping, grinding or wall-running. Leaping from one object to the other, to keep your speed and a combo meter going, does take a bit of practice but it’s forgiving enough. It feels very much like a Tony Hawk title, well the earlier ones. Your grind ability is almost magnetic feeling as it snaps you to a rail. Blindly jumping into a bundle of cables will instantly start you zip-lining, jump and tap X again and your sure to land on something to keep your momentum.
This rubber-banding to grind rails is there for a reason, the vast amounts of enemies you’ll be facing. These raging mutants are deadly in groups and have great pathfinding abilities. Whilst attempting a mission at the fair ground I was surprised to see them climbing and jumping across the tracks to get to me. Lunging and hurling themselves at you can slow you down just enough for another one to tag you, then you’re in trouble. So like I said earlier, keep moving.
When you do get in to combat with these mutants, it’s chaotic and fun. Your weapon load-out is as crazy as the setting. TNT teddies, shotguns that fire records, mini-nukes and at least 40 more. Enemies are fast and attack in numbers so it works well to have a soft lock targeting system and weapons that do splash damage. It might seem a bit easy at first but combining free-running and combat can get tricky. The two are basic on their own but putting them together works incredibly well.
The one thing I was worried about was the frame rate but I happy to say that in my time playing I didn’t notice any major slow down. The game looked to be at a solid 30fps, even when the action onscreen was intense, full of explosions and a giant mutant on fire. The game world is massive and offers a great means of traversing it.
Sunset Overdrive is released in the UK on October 28th exclusively for Xbox One.