First Play: Sunset Overdrive Review

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 6

Where to begin? Zombies + open-world shooter = bound to be fun.
The long-awaited comedic title Sunset Overdrive is here just in time for the holiday season and your Xbox One. Aside from the brash in your face gamer cliché, Sunset Overdrive drew my attention mostly from the character’s range motion. Think Jet Grind Radio but more fluid and dynamic (keep this in mind). As a matter of fact let me fire off some of the games it reminds me of:

  • Dead Rising – Open mission based world with wacky weapon mods
  • Borderlands – Satirical gameplay but I think Borderlands trumps Sunset; hard
  • Jet Grind Radio – A hyper-stylistic take on future culture and of course the grinding
  • No More Heroes – Again, the ‘this is a video game’ feel

Comment below on any other tiles that may have come to mind for you! Although slight similarities exist, Sunset Overdrive is able to hold its own.

Aesthetically they OD’d but that was their point – right? The modern over-saturated style is a stark diversion from a lot of other titles but it adds to the overall mood of the game. The humor is cynical at best and the game actually has a couple ‘haha’ moments.

Sidebar: A key feature I should mention is that you can indeed turn off adult content so the little ones can have their five minutes of play.

First Impression
Gameplay
During my First Play I experienced smooth graphics with no lag in sight. I was able to play uninterrupted without error. I found the controls responsive,which is vital as some moves come down to exact timing. The single-player storyline progresses like a tutorial but it ddoesn’tforce you to stick to a set of sequential missions. I tend to accept side missions while I’m on other missions just to save time anyway.

The maniacal gameplay totally enhances the drama. While there is a bit of problem solving needed within the wayfinding in-game, it isn’t rocket science. Literally stopping for a moment to see the most sensible route for your Player is enough. Ex. Harpooning and climbing the towers during Max’s Parents mission.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 7

Character Customization
As with any game that allows character mods, Sunset Overdrive doesn’t fall short here. There’s a decent variety of faces, clothes, hats, tats, and more to make your Player uniquely you. There are four body types (two male, and two female) to select as a base and customize as you wish. I chose a flexi-rod afro because why not? One of the best skins for an afro I’ve seen in any game; the cornrows still need a lot of work (flat plaits that looked painted on are just no).

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 5

Character Abilities
Your Player will also hold their personal skill, based on your gameplay and choices you make.

  • Amps – Similar to Badass tokens (Hello Borderlands) you are able to modify your weapons and a number of other bonuses as your style meter increases.
  • Overdrives – Similar to any game’s Skill tree system (Hey PayDay) you can tailor your Player’s game style.

Hyperactive Movement
As one of the aspects that peaked my interests, I had no choice but to hop around like a mad-woman for…research purposes. I recommend you do the same to get have a good grasp of the controls. Don’t worry the missions are essentially tutorials on controls and styles (various movements; grinding, bouncing, wall running, etc.). There is also ample room for error as respawns are generous [unlimited]. Usually travel within any game can become mundane and long-winded but Sunset Overdrive shines in this aspect. There is a fast travel feature within the map (an orange fast-forward icon) but I didn’t use it much and instead opted to learn the map while honing my style movements.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 2

Chaos Squad/Online Multiplayer
Typically, for any game the features single-player campaigns and multiplayer missions I tend to opt for the latter immediately. Storylines and history are nice facets of a game but not something I mull over, I just want to play already! After having the basics down first of course; I’m not that one person requesting key binds two minutes into the game. Save yourself [and others] the time and at least get acquainted with the game first!

As far as the online experience, usually I have better luck with pubs on Steam than Xbox Live [which I usually mute – sorry] but being that the game just dropped and we’re all new it was a good time. In Chaos Squad you are able to vote on missions or take part in night defense. The amount of incentive you receive will appear in the single-player campaign but the more chaos the better!

Graphics
The graphics are as good as animated visuals get via console. I’m low-key PC biased but I overall I was not disappointed. The bright color palette is very play in the dark friendly. The game is packed with tons of detail and Easter Eggs.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 4

Favorite Bits

  • Stylistic movements – Just moving around Sunset City is fun and in an open-world the possibilities are endless. I rarely if ever felt restricted. Think parkour times 100.
  • Looting – An important aspect of the game, ironically, is money and particular materials. There are plenty of goods lying around and when in doubt smash open a vending machine for a surprise.
  • Plenty of OD (Overcharge Drinkers) – You won’t run into any trouble finding mutants to slay for HP, fun, or just because. Hopefully as your Player levels up they become more of a threat [harder to destroy].
  • Chaos Squads – Multiplayer is always reigns over single-player in my book (depending on the game). It’s a lot of fun but I would’ve liked to see a multiplayer campaign mode.

Synopsis
Don’t consume energy drinks and you won’t turn into an OD (Overcharge Drinker). If you are looking for a game to entice and keep you visually stimulated Sunset Overdrive is it. There is a lot to do in each game-mode. However, I’m wary about its replay value once I finish the single-player campaign. Sunset Overdrive exceeded my initial expectations and I’m glad I held onto my pre-order. Of all the titles purchased this year, Sunset Overdrive teeters between #2 and #3 on my list; keep in mind A LOT came out and I’m still making my rounds through Borderlands: The Pre Sequel (not sure if I’ll do a review for that – it’s fun but feels like nothing special), and The Sims 3 (surprisingly not playing as much as I intended). This game definitely has its own unique learning curve but you won’t be bored in the process of developing your skills. With that being said, Sunset Overdrive deserves a fair chance. If you are at all skeptical, try before you buy and get into some game-play videos. I’m interested to see if this becomes a forgotten title (hopefully not) or if DLCs will actively be dropped to increase the replay value.

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot 3

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