After waiting 2 hours in a queue at Gamescom 2014 to get my first hands-on experience with Sunset Overdrive, I knew my time had not been wasted. Although the game was not due to be released for a couple of months, I was still amazed by its fluid and stylish gameplay. After experiencing the full package, I’m glad to say that it doesn’t disappoint.
The first area you go into is character customisation, and I couldn’t help but let my stylish fashion sense go wild. The variety at hand is impressive, and I chose to kit out my character with bright pink double buns, denim dungarees and a baseball bat melee weapon – taking cue from what I admire to look like in real life. But that’s exactly what I love about this game, the mad fantasy that you get to live out, no matter how crazy.
As you’d expect from the energetic exterior of the game, the storyline is equally as wild. An energy drink named ‘Overcharge’ made by the company Fizzco, has turned the residents of Sunset City into monsters, called OD. The OD come in various different shapes and sizes, and are all equally as enjoyable to kill with your absurd range of weapons. As you progress further through the game the selection of tools in your arsenal continue to expand.
The first few missions were relatively easy, but you also aren’t bound to a strict path in which you have to follow. Instead of highjacking a car from some poor fellow and driving to the mission destination travelling is all about being fast and stylish in the process. Whether you’re jumping from building to building or grinding across telegraph poles, it’s all performed in a buttery-smooth fashion. Cars and trucks act like trampolines and water is no issue either, simply skid across it or use boats to hop, skip and jump your way to the other side. Killing whilst jumping and traversing is much more rewarding too, earning you more points for each kill and making your weapon lock-on much more effective. When you unlock the air boost, things become a whole lot easier too.
You are also rewarded with badges when you use special moves such as the air boost, which can then be used to get Overdrives- giving you the ability to gain more style points. Some of the missions are actually based around collecting badges too, which give you good practice to get those vital kills whilst looking stylish. As I touched on previously your weapon selection expands as you progress, and I found my favourite to be the TNT Teddy. Some are pretty expensive though, so you will probably need to go back and replay through past missions in order to collect all the overcharge cans in aid of your spending sprees. This may feel like a chore for some people, but personally I didn’t mind it. As long as I chose the missions I most enjoyed, it still felt rewarding to replay them.
You may discover on your way to missions or by looking at the mini map but there are also a whole host of collectibles to find all around Sunset City. From balloons to mobiles you’ll be glad to know that there are also maps to purchase that specifically show you where each collectable is located, and it can get pretty addictive attempting to complete each set. Although at times the urge for the game to seem “hip” or “cool’ can be slightly cringe worthy, for the vast majority of the game you’ll be laughing along with the storyline, not at it. Pretty much every character swears too, which can become hilarious if you are as immature as I am. It’s refreshing to have a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but can also draw some emotion out. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but there are some parts of the campaign that made me surprisingly empathetic towards other characters.
Even if you are not a huge fan of the crazy gameplay there is one thing that no one can deny, and that’s the undeniable fact that it’s one of the best looking games to come to Xbox One. The vast city is crammed full of detail, with no building looking the same and variety around every corner. Even with the cartoonish style plastered throughout, everything still looks realistic; they’ve got every proportion right without creating the same basic town.
Multiplayer is one area that really excited me about this game, although disappointingly no free-roam mode has been implemented, which I found a real shame. Even so, the multiplayer missions have been enough to keep my friends and I coming back for more. It’s very appropriately been named ‘chaos mode’, which is full of short missions that have individual criteria you need to fulfil in order to complete them. The final game in each multiplayer match, wherein you have to protect the overcharge vats form being attacked by the ODs, was actually more difficult than I had experienced during Gamescom 2014, which for me was a good thing. It made me want to go back and replay through all the missions to complete it, after failing it with my friends a few times. I was also surprised by how well the system coped with the vast amount of monsters storming into the area at once. There was never any lag, even when 6 of us were shooting TNT Teddies all over the place.
- + Traversing is fluid and super fun
- + Storyline is addictive from very beginning
- + Multiplayer’s ‘chaos mode’ has been well thought out
- - Multiplayer free-roam mode should be implemented
- - Some weapons are expensive and will require some time to obtain