Personally, I suspect that we basically dream of an apocalypse. That all these dystopian doomsday stories that dominate our pop culture do not play fear but on the fulfillment of our innermost fantasies.
We are not really afraid of an apocalypse where the world becomes crowded by monsters, living dead or virus-infected desperados: we had welcomed it.
Rather fight for life and feeling alive, than huttering in the gray-haired autumn rain early in the morning, while waiting for a late local train that never comes.
Much rather get up with zombies as you transform the ruins of a broken world into their private amusement park, rather than work nine to four to pay bills and taxes before taking the dishes. Everyone wants to be unique snowflake, and the universe’s center. Everyone will feel alive and have fun without boring routines.
So everyone likes the idea of apocalypse now. Well, in theory and in daydreaming. In reality, of course it had sucked properly.
” Sunset Overdrive ” plunges into this fantasy of full freedom and full roll after everything goes to hell – just like so many other games have done before. However, unlike most other post-apocalyptic sand box games, the “Sunset Overdrive” is insidiously cheerful, colorful as a candy box, and chaotic-acrobatic on the border with the hyperactive.
Xbox One does not have so many exclusive titles to boast, and most people who have been released so far are not much to brag about. It feels striking that “Sunset Overdrive” has a similarity to one of the few Microsoft-exclusive titles that are really worth the time: ” Dead Rising 3 “.
Both play in an open world after the apocalypse, where one has impressed an impressive amount of enemies into the environment. Everything from the eccentric weapons committee, the crazy people you meet on your way and the feeling of creating your own fun in absurd costumes is about the same.
Oh for orange
“Sunset Overdrive” also throws in elements from a variety of other games: Feeling at different times like “Jet Set Radio”, “Crackdown”, “SSX Tricky”, “InFamous”, “Bulletstorm” and a Tony Hawk game from it fine time before the “ride” destroyed the series in total.
It is mostly in the small details that “Sunset Overdrive” contributes with a personal character: in the way words are spelled out in the orange act that explodes when you kill enemies.
In the different animations that come after your game figure revives, he or she is jumping out of a sarcophagus and doing the Walk Like an Egyptian hand movements from the old The Bangles music video or creeps out of a TV screen like Samara in « The Ring ».
Although much in the “Sunset Overdrive” is more enjoyable than direct fun, there are so little details that make you start to really like the game – and win over the charm, long after shaking your head over the brutal fun.
The first couple of hours I was not convinced. The protagonist is introduced in a clumsy way, and the story is just a pretext for putting things in the sandbox.
First of all you can choose gender, body phase, skin color, hairstyle, face, feather and clothes. Since all the male facial models look pretty brainless, I choose the one who looks the worst, and makes my guy look a little like a development home, Keanu Reeves, from the ” Bill & Ted ” period.
Whatever I do, he remains a charmless and unsympathetic physique, so after a couple of game nights I change sex. So to speak.
What we’ve seen of pictures and trailers has focused on the male protagonist, but the whole game really takes up after I transformed him from a clever, easily tiresome “dudebro” to a sarcastic girl with big glasses, tambourna hat and hotpants.
Certainly, because female voice spokesman Stephanie Lemelin does a significantly better job than her masculine counterpart, Yuri Lowenthal.
Moreover, her animations are much more fun, so pow. Take it, Gamergate!
Surprisingly, none of the game characters argue that this guy suddenly turned into a girl, which indicates that the future’s Sunset City is an exceptionally pleasant and tolerant place for transgender people.
Severe lesson side effect
We are in this sunny, summery metropolis in 2027, and the main character is on the subway when deformed monsters attack from all sides. With a quick look, we see that the guy (or possibly the lady) is working as a watchdog for the soft drinks group FizzCo, who has just launched its brand new energy broth, OverCharge Delirium XT.
A refreshing soda drink, with some leakage side effects: anyone who takes a sip turns into rainy mutants immediately. Now, this big corporation is desperately trying to conceal the situation and has isolated the entire city from the outside world while combat robots are making witnesses.
Forty days later, large sections of the population have turned into furious monsters called the NP’s, while the nameless protagonist meets the grumpy old man Walter.
He is the first in a series of smugglers survivors to become familiar with on their happy road, all offering a wide range of challenges.
In the first couple of hours, you will be sent out to the typical “hent dingsen” assignments that introduce the mechanics and familiarize yourself with the most basic elements.
Additionally, one gets a wide range of enemies, which includes different variants of deformed OD mutants, combat robots, criminal gangs and bosses.
History assignments are becoming more and more polite, too.
Eventually you meet a bunch of pampered, lazy rioters in The Oxfords , who need assistance for trivial tasks before they help you make a propeller. As soon as you go around looking for backpacks of self-baking cream, and before you know it, you are slaughtering hundreds of mutants by playing “pick up the canine” with a mechanical tick.
One helps roleplayers to retrieve reality perception, collect comics and revive the artificial intelligence of a deeply psychotic, inflatable FizzCo mascot.
Later, you meet a scout who has researched a Japanese tourist center, and now dedicates the life of the Samurai Code. Something that leads to a conspiracy that circles around a scout leader who disappeared in search of Viennese sausages.
So it is an idea and ingenuity here that prevents the quests from being monotonous and a big variation in the quests – although “Sunset Overdrive” sometimes tries a bit too hard.
Some fun things get too cramped and overkule. A good example is ” Sunset TV “. The idea is that big screens around the city should stream weekly TV broadcasts, which include game tips, contests and “fan art”.
Because the undersigned tested an early review copy, I received a special broadcast for us writers, where program director Brandon Winfrey asked me to avoid late descriptions like ” Sunset Overhype “.
A clever thought, but the apple pie “MTV early nineties” style torpeded a bit of goodwill. The same does more elements in “Sunset Ovehy … eh, Overdrive”. From the generic pop punk music to the teite puns, everything is getting too busy to hit the flash.
But even though the self-conscious humor could have been sharper, this is still really polite – much thanks to the lively fighting system.
Does not scream new generation
“Sunset Overdrive” overlooks Kinect functionality in favor of a little extra processing power, allegedly used to spell up the artificial intelligence. Visually speaking, this open world is not the most impressive we have ever seen. The graphics do not scream a new generation, and rob stable stable at modest 30fps and 900p.
This is nevertheless a very well-designed world in bright, bright tones. And while this is not the biggest sandbox we’ve fired in, Sunset City is packed with content and overcrowded by enemies.
There is also a good variety in the environments; from a fun amusement park to a state-of-the-art multi-level student area. We also get an assortment of multiplayer modes, which you can activate via phone kiosks around the city.
Since this after all is a game of Insomniac Games (” Ratchet & Clank “, ” Resistance “) you can be sure the weapon selection is as colorful as the environments. Around twenty home-made villager weapons in the Dead Rising style will be available during the game – from TnTeddy (a gun gun shooting explosive teddy bears) to High Fidelity (shoveling LPs in Shaun of the Dead style) .
The most impressive is that “Sunset Overdrive” manages to maintain the high energy level over so many hours without getting exhausting and that this world offers such wide variety.
A colorful sandbox full of fun, which rewards skills without penalizing mistakes too hard.
This becomes more fun the longer you hold on, and although many of the items are taken from other games, the combination is still healthy. This should have been a launch game – but hey, better late than never.
NB! «Sunset Overdrive» is released to Xbox One on October 31st.