Sunset Overdrive is a colourful, mindless game – and as such isn’t the sort of thing that’d benefit from having universal appeal. I personally have little to no interest in the game, because a juvenile game filled with bouncing about and shooting things ad infinitum doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun time. That said, our own juvenile reviewer, Alessandro, loved it – and apparently, he’s quite right too. Here’s what other critics think of the game.
It’s hard not to see the things that have influenced this game, whether it be the over riding Tony Hawks Pro Skater feel or the Scott Pilgrim style text pops. There is even a little Infamous and Jet Set Radio thrown in there for good measure but overall, I haven’t played a game that is this much fun for a long time and I can’t see me rating a game higher than this for a long time either. Sunset Overdrive delivers a superbly fun experience and a nostalgic thrown back to how games used to be. Just great fun.
Each of the game’s systems feeds into another, making the experience feel complete and purposeful. More importantly, it gives players a plethora of choices in how they look, what weapon they use and how they play, and then makes every single possible combination feel vindicated. Nothing goes to waste in the awesome-pocalypse, and everyone’s invited to Sunset City’s after-party.
As a collection of mechanics and ideas, Sunset Overdrive is an impressive evolution of things Insomniac has been doing for a long time. Every part of Sunset Overdrive hooks into every other part somehow, and often in multiple ways, and it makes the whole shooting, grinding, wall-running package better for it. But the best thing about Sunset Overdrive is how it’s unabashedly enthusiastic about what it is, in just about every way. That enthusiasm, and the freedom behind it, is contagious.
Sunset Overdrive is big, gorgeous, and a hell of a lot of fun. Never has getting from point A to point B in an open-world game provided so much enjoyment. It provides some of the most fun, frantic, and fantastic gaming I’ve had on the Xbox One. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to once-again adorn my wolf mask, leap off the highest ledge I can find, and fire an explosive stuffed animal at that group of angry robots.
Sunset Overdrive may have a few flaws inherent to many open-world games and lack an engaging narrative, but it’s an incredibly fun, vibrant game that’s a nice break from the overly gritty tone we see far too often in today’s market. After Fuse, this is exactly what Insomniac Games needed.
If you wanted to be uncharitable, you could voice the suspicion that a great many baseball caps were turned backwards in the echoing board room where this project was greenlit, but with the campaign done and the city freshly filled with challenges, I don’t really feel like being uncharitable. Beneath the glorious tech, and once the writing relaxes a little, Sunset Overdrive’s wonderfully lurid and heartfelt – a bit like playing an old 4AD album sleeve. If you get that reference, you’ll probably get this, too.
In retrospect, however, Sunset Overdrive is a game that doesn’t seem to have been able to build out on its initial promise. For every excellent element, there’s a poor design choice ready to scupper it all. Even the free and easy traversal is sometimes hampered by the sudden realisation that there’s no music playing, nothing driving you to new heights or better combos. Instead there’s just deathly silence, often followed by the observation that the world is empty. Multiplayer (see below) is the highlight of the package, but can’t rescue a poor campaign.
While its commitment to madness can be maddening itself, Sunset Overdrive is an energetic, fun-focused adventure. The jokes don’t always hit home, but this is a game that loves being a game, and you can’t hate that sort of honesty.
There is plenty to collect, to upgrade and to fight against. It’s as fun as they come if your idea of gaming is to have fun, and the story, while generic, still presents itself well enough to make it worth following. Sunset Overdrive simply puts fun first and does so in a way that will have you going back for more. You won’t be sorry if you pick this game up.
Sunset Overdrive’s stylistic gameplay and juvenile attitude doesn’t make it a title for everyone. It is, however, an incredibly fun, visually beautiful open-world title that exhibits the best parts of what a sandbox game should be. Tight, stylish movement, engrossing combat and chaotic online fun makes Sunset Overdrive a no brainer for any Xbox One owner.
That’s very nearly universal praise for the game, with just the chaps from Videogamer.com not liking the game very much. I’ll still maintain that the game just doesn’t seem like my sort of thing, but apparently I hate fun.
Last Updated: October 27, 2014