Revisit: Sunset Overdrive

Never, in the history of video games has one person tried so hard to like a game as much as I have tried to like Sunset Overdrive. I have tried ever way I know how. Tried playing in the morning, in the evening….in the middle of the night. Played for ten minutes, an hour, two hours , sitting in a tree, on the train, plane or in space, Okay so a few of them may have been a lie but, try as i might, I just couldn’t find the happy spot with Sunset Overdrive.


There was once greatness

Don’t get me wrong Sunset Overdrive, feels like it should be a great game it is filled with the ideas of brilliant ideas. It looks like they are the ideas of one person. one person  who had a vision of a game they wanted to create. A game that  had an open, colorful and unique world, added in a great traversal system filled the world with interesting characters, jokes and as many  pop culture references  as you could throw a stick at. You want interesting weapons? This game is filled with them. On paper this game is everything I look for.There is lots of stuff to do, there is an excellent character customization tool enabling you to create pretty much any character you can think of and a wonderful  I’m mentioning it again a wonderful  traversal system it has to be tried. All great ideas, that almost work perfectly. And it’s the almost i point too here, it as if who ever had the initial idea, didn’t  have quite enough pull at insomniac and they were ”helped” bring their ideas to life. But I am getting ahead of myself here let me stop for a second and get my breath.

Let’s start from the beginning

Sunset Overdrive created by Insomniac games is their latest attempt at making something different and I guess after making Ratchet and Clank and then three of the the four Resistance games, they wanted to make something new, clever and exiting and with Sunset Overdrive they certainty did this. The game practically screams Look at me, I’m new, exiting and want to be your new favorite thing. The trouble is, I think it tries too hard. The traversal system is as I have already said excellent and insomniac should be praised to bringing a new way of getting about there world, with the city being shut of due to the games big bad the Fizz co company releasing a new energy drink called Overcharge, that shall we say hasn’t been quite tested correctly due to anyone drinking it turning into flesh hunting overcharged beasts or OD as the game likes to call them, or other human survivors trying to steal your stuff, or the robot cleaners the Fizz co company send it to help repair the city trying to kill you themselves. Fear not however as with the city shut off it is now your playground filled with excellent ways for you to play with the traversal system and by system I mean an ability to grind around most of the structures in the city, from roof tops to power cables all can  move your character forward as if he was Tony Hawks,( just without the skateboard) as a tap of the X button gives you a forward momentum that has you speedily slinking along to get the drop on your opponents as this for the most part works well, which is my problem with this game. It mostly works well but sometimes, the traversal system wont do want you want for what ever reason and sometimes it does what it thinks you want, showing you the best way to get along is to do to slid along the city is to keep bashing the button and hoping for the best. Just walking around is not encouraged as any more than a few moments on the ground will have many of the OD attack you from all sides meaning the only real way of moving along is to take to the sky. There is a fast travel system but these seemed to take longer than just skating along the roof tops. Another mixed point is the humor, is starts of really well, with some well worded jokes but just like a washed up comic it cant end there and keeps re-hashing the same few jokes over and over again. Oh look a fetch quest how original it says in one excellent fourth wall breaking moment but the fact that this mechanic is used again and again doesn’t help it’s cause or that there are some nice moments of social commentary along the lines of ”let people be who they want to be” good to hear the first few times but once the line is used again and again it just becomes boring. The guns great as they are very nearly a lot of fun but are also very childish, and silly. There are a couple I will mention the first called the Flaming Compensator which is exactly as you would expect is a large shotgun filled from underneath with what looks like two giant balls( grown). So very funny the first time you see it but by the time you fill your weapon wheel you are not laughing any more as you are forced to use these silly looking guns that aren’t quite as imaginative as the development team thought they are. Although I must add that the shotgun is one of the very best I have ever used in a game so this almost gets let of and another where you attach teddy bears to TNT is so imaginative and feels so great to use that this gets a free pass and an entry on to my greatest guns in games list, which doesn’t yet exist.  Still after all this, something about Sunset Overdrive just doesn’t sit well with me. Its so hard to review as I know that most people who play it will absolutely love it but something about it made it hard to love.


Let me know your feelings if you have played Sunset Overdrive.


5 thoughts on “Revisit: Sunset Overdrive

  1. I was planning on writing about this sometime soon. I shouldn’t like this game. It’s filled with needless pop culture references, it’s open world with needless side quests, and it’s sense of humour is crude to say the least.

    BUT somehow I loved this. The movement system was fun, the guns were interesting and varied (after the first ones), and the story worked better than I expected (the final boss worked well within the context). I couldn’t help but enjoy it for the 9 or so hours the campaign lasted. I didn’t bother with the side nonsense.

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  2. The marketing and theme just put me off entirely. It tried so hard to be hip and irreverent that it came off like Poochie the dog (google it, kids). I didn’t like how all their ads and promotional videos always made sure to throw in some insults towards other popular games either. I thought we were long past that kind of thing these days.

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  3. I agree with the comment above: the marketing for this game seemed like it was thought up by a bunch of 40-something businessmen trying to guess what teenagers sound like, and that put me off quite a bit. But I’ve heard a lot of positive chatter about the game, particularly the traversal, which you highlight really well here. Makes me hopeful for Insomniac’s Spider Man game next year.

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