Every now and then you’ll look at a game store page and see that it’s got pretty good reviews, and wonder if it’s actually any good. Well, I decided to play Sunset Overdrive and see if it lived up to the 4.4/5 stars it has on the Xbox store.
What is Sunset Overdrive?
Sunset Overdrive is a third-person action-adventure shooter game developed by Insomniac Games, who are known now for their work on the Spider-Man games. It is set in the year 2027, in a fictional settlement called Sunset City. You take control over a fully customisable protagonist that is working as an employee of a company called FizzCo. FizzCo makes fizzy drinks, and they’ve just launched their new energy drink through a huge launch party where half of the city was present. Soon after, everyone who drank the new energy drink had turned into mutants called OD (Overcharged Drinkers).
Luckily, you didn’t take a sip and you’re amongst the few humans left in the metropolis. You have to fight the ODs with a huge arsenal of weapons, and the game also features an interesting, easy to follow narrative.
What are the people saying?
Sunset Overdrive is very well received by players. Most people praise the game’s unique art style and popping colour palette. They also seem to like that the story was kind of light-hearted, and that the developers didn’t try to make it something it wasn’t. One of the key features of the game is its soundtrack; a punk rock loop that changes pace according to the gameplay, complementing it really well and makes killing the ODs even more fun. The gameplay itself is something rather unique and largely welcomed; you can wall-run, zipline, and grind on rails to smoothly traverse around the large city, killing everything in your way. There is also praise for its multiplayer mode called Chaos Squad, which features a series of missions that you can do with a team of up to eight players.
However, some people have different opinions about the game. Most of the complaints I saw are regarding the fact that the game has no New Game+ option, and some have trouble keeping up with the complex gameplay. There is also a small percentage of players complaining that the game lacks depth in the story department and has forgettable characters. But it’s worth noting, the positive reviews largely outnumber the negative ones.
Is it actually any good?
It is one of the best exclusives that launched on the Xbox One and is a severely underrated game. It features the same Insomniac element that the Spider-Man games do and also has some of the most fun gameplay in any game I’ve played. With a mix of both original punk rock and some other licensed songs, Sunset Overdrive comes with banging audio that goes exceptionally well with the gameplay.
Sunset Overdrive does not feel repetitive at all; with guns such as ‘The Dude’, which throws out literal bowling balls, to a gun that shoots explosive teddy bears, there is just so much complexity in the gameplay department. All the guns have distinct abilities which make you choose amongst them wisely according to the situation, and this isn’t even mentioning the vast amount of traps in the game; you are free to approach the missions however you desire. There is a wide variety of ODs and the ‘bosses’ you come across are also varied, which makes every single encounter more interesting.
One of the things that stood out for me — and what made this game incredible — was the comic book-esque art style and top-notch animations. The game still looks stunning and holds pretty well, considering the fact that it launched back in 2014, and it features many comic book inspired cutscenes that add flavour to the game. The customisable protagonist feature was also a highlight for me; you could make your personal super-rad character however you want, which would ultimately make you grow closer to them (or it did for me at least).
The only downside of the game seems to be the length. I mean, it’s a decent size; 12+ hours for the main story and 30+ hours if you do all the side missions and hunt for collectibles, rare weapons etc. I agree with the negative reviews about the game not having a New Game+ option. After collecting basically everything in the game, I returned to it after a while hoping to start a new save, but to my surprise, it wouldn’t let me. In order for me to start a new game, I’d have to manually delete my save from the cloud; meaning that I’d lose all the weapons I spent hours grinding for. After impulsively doing that, I later realised I could’ve just played from a different account and saved my 40+ hours of effort in the game.
To summarise, Sunset Overdrive is worth playing. The light-hearted story, breathtaking visuals, and amazing gameplay combines to make a super fun experience. However, the game is pretty fast-paced and action-packed with a complicated gameplay design, so keep that in mind if you’re not a fan of games like that.
The game does live up to the 4.4 stars it has on the Xbox Store and gives you a great bang for your buck. Sunset Overdrive is also included with Xbox Game Pass; you should definitely check it out and help me manifest a sequel for this underrated gem!