“Sunset Overdrive” review


Gosh this game is fun.

I mean it. I’ve had a lot of fun playing “Sunset Overdrive” over the past week.

After creating my own character, I was flung into Sunset City post apocalypse caused by a Monster-esque energy drink that mutated all the citizens during what the game affectionately calls “Horror Night.” With nothing but a silly array of guns and some sweet grinding skills, I’ve been tasked with helping others survive the deadly city while getting to the bottom of the catastrophe.

But let’s be honest. Just because I like the game so much doesn’t mean everyone else will. So we’ll get down to business.

“Sunset Overdrive” plays a lot like “Infamous” had a baby with “Jet Set Radio” while the “Tony Hawk” franchise watched and fist-bumped “Ratchet and Clank.” If that isn’t the most colorful sentence I’ve ever written I don’t know what is.

In all seriousness, the game has a very fluid traversal style that can only be described as a free-roam grind fest with some sweet glide moves and clever harpoon puzzles. Combine that with a fast-moving third-person shooting system, and “Sunset Overdrive” promotes a feeling of constant motion.

Some might find this a little jarring and hard to get used to, but the game provides you with a lot of practice as there is always something happening in Sunset City, and there’s no shortage of missions to complete. And if you ever find yourself tired of the story, you can always go back and play a mission you’ve already done for points.


This image sums the game up pretty well.

Speaking of points, kills and frequent usage of abilities are how the game advances the player. There’s no leveling system for the character, but for their skills instead. This is kind of reminiscent of “Skyrim” or another “Elder Scrolls” game. What’s nice is that this promotes the player’s own style and helps them become more effective by allowing them to level up what they like doing.

Say you’re a grinder and jumper. The game will allow you to make the points and damage you do while grinding and jumping increase so that you can be a master at what you do. Couple that with some bonuses to the guns you frequently use, and you’ll find yourself becoming quite the badass.

And did I mention how awesome some of the guns are? Guns that shoot teddy bears that are attached to TNT. Pistols that launch tiny helicopters that have guns strapped to them. The list goes on. That’s the “Ratchet and Clank” twist.

What “Sunset Overdrive” and “Wolfenstein” both seem to have nailed is the ability to have fun with themselves and not try too hard. I think that’s what makes the game so light-hearted, despite the gore and swearing. Just like “Borderlands 2” did when it first came out. Sure the game can get corny and a little annoying, but that’s its charm.

I will admit that the movement style can be difficult to master at first, and once you’ve got your favorite combat style down there’s little to make you feel like trying something new. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

That being said, “Sunset Overdrive” feels like a game to play through completely and never pick up again. There is some multiplayer, but that feels like a supplement to the game that allows people to play together and increase some of the skills they’re mastering.

The game is a decent length, and it doesn’t feel short or rushed. If one plays through the side quests and takes their time buying the guns they like and trying them out there’s a good time to be had.

Of all the games that are exclusive for the Xbox One at the moment, “Sunset Overdrive” seems to be the only one that could be called a must have.

If you’re thinking about picking up “Sunset Overdrive,” do it. In all likelihood, you won’t be sorry.