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Sunset Overdrive Xbox One review, it truly is an Awesomepocalypse

Sunset Overdrive from Insomniac Games is the Xbox One's newest exclusive IP. These guys have worked exclusively with Sony on PlayStation for almost 20 years. However, Insomniac studios decided it was time for something new and Microsoft was willing to take a chance on them. Thus Sunset Overdrive was born.

Insomniac takes a radiant apocalyptic world, adds some unique over-the-top game play elements, and a touch of great writing and creates the tour-de-force that is Sunset Overdrive. The game is in no way, shape, or form afraid to go all out. Xbox One gamers are in for a special experience with this one.

Welcome to Sunset City

Sunset Overdrive takes place during the "Awesomepacolypse," which begins when the new energy drink "Overcharge" begins to turn its consumers into mindless mutants called Overcharge Drinkers or "OD'd." Fizzco, the creators of the drink know they're at fault for the horrible mutations, but they choose to cover up their involvement instead of helping to fight the new plague.

As the Awesomepocalypse begins, a tutorial gives players a quick lesson on Sunset Overdrive's traversal experience, extreme weaponry, and sense of humor. The game has no run button, and walking on the floor makes you an easy meal for the OD'd. Instead, Sunset Overdrive allows you to grind on any railing and bounce on almost any object. What sounds like a rather easy task, turns out to be quite hard. Nonetheless, once you get the hang of it, it's probably the most rewarding way to get around. The game has a fast-travel feature, but I hardly ever found myself using it.

Sunset Overdrive's weapons are completely over the top. "The Flaming Compensator" was the first gun that was handed to me in the game. It's a long-barreled shotgun (with two huge balls on the bottom) that shoots orange gunk. The guns only get sillier and more destructive from there. Soon you'll be firing explosive teddy bears at hordes of monsters, or planting acid sprinklers to create a defensive perimeter.

To make things even more interesting, Sunset Overdrive allows you to upgrade weapons using Amps. These allow your weapon to be amplified by adding special abilities once you reach a certain combo level. For example, that TNTeddy we spoke about earlier is great for taking out a group of OD'd, but if you add the "Winter Is Coming" amp to it, it will gain a blast that freezes enemies in the area.

Speaking of combos, Sunset Overdrive would be nothing without them. The combo system emphasizes the game's broad range of movement options. Instead of focusing totally on kills, it's wall riding and grinding that add to the combo meter. That adds a lot of difficulty early on. Beginners might find themselves pressing the wrong button or simply missing an easy grind, killing their combos. But once you get the hang of it, filling the combo meter won't be so bad.

The enemy of my enemy is, well, still my enemy

Sunset Overdrive features three kinds of enemies with unique strengths and weaknesses: OD'd, Scabs, and Fizzco Bots. The most prevalent of them all of course, is the OD'd. They tend to crowd around and are easily susceptible to fire weapons.

A few classes of enemies come in larger sizes and take more effort to kill. The Herker, for example, is one of the bigger OD'd and loves to charge or throw objects at you while you grind or jump about.

No two fights feel alike here due to the variety of enemies and environments. The smaller areas really add to the challenge of combat. Sometimes a fight would break out in a place with very few railings, and I suffered a few deaths and I tried to figure out how to escape to higher ground.

The fourth wall breaker

Sunset Overdrive is probably the most self-aware game I have ever played. It is constantly making fun of itself as well as video games in general. For example, at one point during the game an ominous voice starts talking to you and giving you tips on how to play the game and your character can't help but to bicker with him or it for that matter.

The writing in the game is simply amazing. I can't remember an original game that has as great a sense of humor as Sunset Overdrive does. You will often find yourself enjoying cut scenes just to hear the next punchline or the next fourth wall joke. As much as I could argue that the gameplay kept me around, I could equally argue that the writing in the game did as well.

Mr. Errand boy

Like many other open world games, story progress often involves completing simple point A-to-point B missions as well as escort missions. I like to call these missions errand missions because they feel like real life errands, which can get annoying. Sure, they're an easy way to push the campaign forward, but I prefer more variety.

On the other hand, at least the game acknowledges its formulaic missions. The player character jokes about them at one point, breaking the fourth wall as Sunset overdrive loves to do. Even if the story missions are too similar, the random encounters with enemies and witty writing manage to keep things entertaining.

Chaos Squad

Chaos Squad is Sunset Overdrive's online multiplayer that allows you to join up to 7 of your friends for some open-world mayhem. First the group votes between two objectives. At the end of the objective you choose between another two, and this goes on for another 2-3 rounds. Once all rounds are finished, the group begins a Night Defense mission. This is Sunsets Overdrive's take on horde mode.

Night Defense begins with the party placing traps around their base. Once the traps are set, the waves of enemies will start rolling in. Depending how much chaos you collected in the previous rounds, they can be very difficult to keep at bay.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend any time with Chaos Squad before release (ahem!) so I can't go into more detail just yet. However, we will be streaming some Chaos Squad on launch day, so keep an eye out for that.

Achievements

About half of the Achievements in Sunset Overdrive can be obtained from beating the campaign. But the majority of the higher GamerScore Achievements require profound dedication and intense focus.

One Achievement I am adamantly trying to get is called "The Floor is Lava." It requires you to chain together 100 traversal moves without stopping or touching the ground. The closest I've come to achieving this so far is 46 traversal moves.

Another cool but hard Achievement is the "I should get paid for this" achievement. This one has you playing the Buck's Revenge challenge, and requires you to score a 534,080. This score beats the score of Insomniac's QA team. But if you want some killer Achievement loot, I will recommend that you get you and your buddies in some Chaos Squad matches.

Overall Impression

Sunset Overdrive is the most fun I've had with a shooter in a long time. If you took BulletStorm, Crackdown, and Tony Hawk Pro Skater and morphed them into one, you'd end up with Sunset Overdrive. The game simply goes all out from beginning to end. Its punk rock sass and colorful world makes it so distinct from other games, a breath of fresh air. This feels like the game that Insomniac has always strived to create, finally realized on Xbox One.

Sunset Overdrive will have you grinding, wall running, and jumping around like never before, giving players an unusual level of freedom of movement. If you're looking for a new gaming experience and over the top fun, this is the game you need to get your hands on.

  • Sunset Overdrive Pre-Order Edition - Xbox One - 22.98 GB - $59.99 - Amazon Link (opens in new tab) - Xbox.com Link (opens in new tab)
  • Sunset Overdrive Day One Deluxe Edition - Xbox One - 22.98 GB - $79.99 - Xbox.com Link (opens in new tab)
93 Comments
  • Jonathan! Love the review man! Was pretty sweet watching your live stream on twitch
  • didnt know he streamed on twitch, i thought paul was the only one......
  • No, Jonathans there new Xbox reviewer for WCentral. He's pretty cool and yeh, they gave away a couple $25 Xbox cards during the stream
  • Thanks guys! No I was doing the Sunset Overdrive stuff and Paul will be doing the upcoming Halo stuff
  • Anytime bro! Good talking and stuff, hopefully we can play sometime soon.
  • Looks like Crackdown on something. Awesome!
  • Still not a fan of this game, hopefully others like it but I don't enjoy the constant jumping around while shooting thing.
  • Kind of like Titanfall..  
  • Titanfall is awesome. I tried playing Destiny and CoD Ghosts after playing Titanfall and had to stop right away because they were so boring in comparison. I just pre-downloaded the Halo:MCC, but I'm worried that the same thing is going to happen--i.e. that I will find them boring because Titanfall changed everything.
  • Lol, I said the same thing a while ago and have the same fears. Completely agree.
  • Ok, but the game has great reviews, it is not a bad game at all.
  • Ok so you have never played a game with great reviews (from companies getting paid to review) and fond that you personally didn't like it? It's called personal choice and this game obviously isn't for everyone.
  • Yes, its very clear that this game has been " sponsoring reviews" as they call it. Windows Central is clearing getting something here.. They have covered this game more than the release of some handsets.
  • Considering they explicitly state it when articles are sponsored, I doubt they're being paid here. It's just that this game is important for the future of Xbox.
  • They always cover exclusive games.
  • that's not fair because this has been the driest season for handsets since Windows Mobile. There is not much to talk about on the WP front. Plus have you stopped to think that this game is getting covered allot because its actually good. MS promoted the hell out of it when they announced the XB One, the wait is finally over and people are excited it lived up to the hype.
  • Well I personally played it at e3 and I didn't care for it. I wish they would stop making it out to be a console seller because its not. In my opinion.
  • We don't get paid anything from game developers or publishers. They provide a review copy of the game and that's it. We're totally free to express any opinions we have on a game, good or bad. We gave Sunset Overdrive a lot of coverage because it's a big exclusive that our readers care about, and because several of us in the staff like the game.
  • I never said specifically you got paid btw. I meant overall lots of places are giving it great reviews and I can't imagine why.
  • Hey, just because it's not for you doesn't mean it's not for everybody. Reviewers dig the colorful visuals, creative weapons, humorous story and world, and freedom of movement. It's not a mystery.
  • How much more clear can I make myself? I specifically stated this game is not for me. So why would you keep at it?
  • You said "I can't imagine why," so I told you why. It's not a big deal.
  • You can't see that sometimes people love different things? Get over yourself. If you knew you didn't like the game, why did you read the article? This is like complaining that the weather guy on national news is covering more than just your town.
  • Oh geez sorry I thought I could post a comment on the article that gave an opinion about the game in question.
  • I love that metaphor is now the official English language bro... We know what sarcasm is my friend ;)
  • That's not how game reviews work at all. On YouTube some channels will get paid and/or have restrictions on what opinions they can share, but that doesn't apply to actual members of the press - websites like us.
  • I'll play devils advocate and ask do you really think IGN doesn't get paid for a lot of their reviews? How there are CoD ads everywhere on the day they come out and they just so happen to give it a favorable review. Regardless, I trust you guys that this was a genuine review.
  • IGN's advertizing division certainly negotiates a lot of promotional deals, but (hopefully) that is kept separate from the editorial division - the writers. You can safely bet that the reviewer is not paid a bonus for a positive review or anything like that. At worst, there might be pressure to keep his critique mild in order to avoid scaring off the advertiser. But the only time I as a reader would think that had happened is if the majority of the reviews were negative but IGN's reviewer somehow overlooks all of those reviews' complaints. There's nothing suspicious when most reviewers are happy with a game - that just means it's a generally well-made game.
  • Perhaps a good example of this is the game Destiny. Clearly IGN received a boatload of advertising money from Activision and Sony for that game, as they have written up hundreds of articles about it (and continue to do so), but when the time came to review the game, they, like almost every other gaming publication had no hesitation acknowledging that the game didn't live up to the hype and scored it in the 7/10 range like everyone else. That said, it's hard not to acknowledge that advertising money influenced their coverage of the game (out of sheer number of trivial articles they penned on the subjectt) and helped drive the game's insane hype train. I only wish that Microsoft promoted some of its exclusives even 1/100th as much as Sony seems to do with their multiplatforms: I've never seen a commercial for Dance Central Spotlight, Dark Dreams Don't Die, Project Spark, or Fantasia, and only saw one for Forza Horizon 2. Yes, those are niche games, and I'm not asking for a Destiny-sized budget, but I can think of plenty of markets where they could've run commercials for those games. Many of the casual gamers who would play some of those games (like Dance Central or Fantasia) don't even know the games exist, and there are still plenty of major publications that haven't even reviewed Project Spark yet, even though it's been out for 3 weeks, yet there are already more than 50 reviews of Sunset Overdrive and it's not even out yet.
  • We tried really hard to get a review copy of the Project Spark starter kit (even had one of the devs try to help), but we never received an answer. It's strange.
  • Looks good! Cant wait to play it. This will satisfy my ratchet and clank hunger along with my want for another (proper) Tony Hawk game. Thanks insomniac!
  • Can't wait till tonight
  • Omg !
  • Is this game rolling out for pc? I want it
  • Nope
  • Nope cause PC has no good games except multiplatforms PC sucks :)
  • Kinda like Windows Phone. :D
  • Great comeback /sarcasmWins /fatality
  • With windows 10 PC will never suck.
  • Wow, one person that is stuck in console world and does not even know how epic the PC gaming market is over the console market, even across all consoles...
  • Good review, unfortunately the numerous grammar and spelling flaws made it difficult to read :/. That said, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Looks pretty cool, but there are already so many games I want to finish/start playing right now. Looks like this is going to be a fun holiday season for Xbox one gamers...
  • Yeah! I'm not normally the type to complain in the comments section about spelling and grammar mistakes, but the review was painful to read. Some parts I had to read two or three times to understand the meaning. I'm also still not sure how I feel about the game. The review didn't really help since it only mentions one mission type they didn't like, but doesn't really talk about the missions they liked... So I knows the game is funny and you have to do combos, but I still have no idea what types of missions are included, appart from the type they didn't like.
  • Sorry was up until 4am writing the review :/ ... But I state that all missions are the same. You go run an errand for someone in return for something.
  • For both, check the reviewd from another webs, the game is awesome.
  • We gave it another proofreading pass. Please try it again if you have a chance. :)
  • Paul pay no attention, I had no problems reading the review. Overdramatic readers I tell ya...
  • Sure sounds like readers just pointing out that "professional writers" are screwing up the content they are trying to read. What's wrong with that?
  • This got a metacritic score over 80, it looks really good. Cant wait to get this later in the week.
  • It's at 83 now.
  • Still wish there was a PC version... sniff sniff
  • Only if it was an Xbox Live-enabled Windows 8 version with cross-sync play with a Windows Phone version!
  • LOL why are people downvoting comments asking for a PC version? :D
  • Because they have nothing better to do?
  • So happy I took a chance and pre-ordered/pre-downloaded the game. Microsoft is really fleshing out their portfolio. So many cool games to play this holiday season!
  • Great game ... Everyone must pre-order if your into this game!!!
  • That's what u get when Sony pushes devs to make games like these on PS vita. Sunset is awesome. And on Vita it would S*ck, it loses all the potential and awesomeness Sunset has. Great it ended up on Xbox. Sony eats dust again.
  • I'm going to the launch party tonight.
  • Thanx for the review. I preordered the white combo, can't wait for it.
  • Thanks for the review. I guess I have to add this to my ever expanding list of games to play. I have to finish maxing out my 3 different classes in Destiny first. Well, back to the grind...
  • I maxed out my one hunter, and well, not going through the grind again.
    I'm happy to start sunset tomorrow. =D
  • PC sucks :D
  • Disc or download? Tough choice. Worried I will hate it and will have no resale value if I download. Would kill for a demo of this.
  • Always disc. I spent $60 on watch dogs and hated it. Could have resold it for $45 had I gotten the disc but I was being lazy. Lesson learned.
  • My thoughts exactly.
  • Download
  • Disc. Unless its something you have tried and know you will like or will like regardless.
  • Yeah, would have loved a demo.
  • It's like JSRF meets Crackdown meets Dead Rising. Not my cup of tea honestly.
  • Those are 3 of my favorite games. Haha. This looks perfect to me.
  • I thought the same! Especially JSR.
  • Insomniac better bring this game home at some point. Its the one and only x1 game I have any interest in.
  • For everyone hoping for a PC version, Microsoft did promise "One Store" for the next release of Windows, and the Xbox One was literally part of the "One product family/One platform/One store" picture.. And where do you get the game? On the Xbox One store... Now, I'm not saying that this specific game will come to the PC, but Microsoft sure has hinted the possibility. They're even calling the apps and games that will run everywhere "Universal".
  • I've been saying for a year now that Microsoft needs to bring the Xbox One platform to PC. Call it "Xbox PC" or whatever, lock the specs the same as Xbox One, and automatically turn any PC with decent specs into an Xbox One. They don't make money from hardware sales anyway, and this would entice developers to make more Xbox games (as they'd easily be able to release it on both platforms: PC and console), and it would reclaim from Steam the PC gaming market for Microsoft. PS4 and Steam would both be left in the dust as Xbox deftly unified both platforms.
  • @Carlos but the "one store" will only include apps written for the WinRT API. The OS that the Xbox uses for games doesn't use those and use their own. I mean, unless you thought this game will run on a 520 top :p. There are two different OS in the Xbox (Windows and Xbox OS) and only the ones that use Windows will be universal. @coip I don't understand what you're talking about. A small minority of consumers will actually have EXACTLY the same specs as an Xbox One. And even then, why wouldn't they just buy an Xbox?
  • Let me preface this by stating that I am not a videogame developer/programmer so I have no idea what I'm talking about. That said, my limited understanding of the industry is that programming for consoles is nice because the specs are locked, and that programming for a PC is a huge pain in the neck because you have to optimize the game for countless different setups from low- to mid- to high-end setups. As consoles like the Xbox One are, at best, on the upper mid-range of most PCs (and will become average, at best, within another year or two), would it be possible for Microsoft to make an "Xbox PC" platform that mimics the Xbox One locked specs in order to make it ridiculously easy to make advanced games for both Xbox One and Xbox PC simultaneously? By "lock in" I was imagining something of a virtual machine where, if you have specs on your PC that are better than an Xbox One (which will be the norm within a year or two), that you can run the "Xbox PC" platform client on your PC and it will play ported Xbox One games (but, perhaps, only using some of your high-end PC's specs)? Regardless of whether or not that is possible or not, I still think Microsoft should release a Steam-killing "Xbox PC" client and find a way to make it very easy to port Xbox One games to Xbox PC and vice-versa, and then focus on selling games on both of those platforms.
  • My copy arrives tomorrow. Cant wait to play!
  • nice
  • There should be a link here to the Microsoft Store pre-order. If you are an Xbox Rewards member you get $15 in Microsoft Account credit for the pre-order. They were also offerring release day arrival of the game but I am not sure if that is still in force.
  • It doesn't look very appealing to me but I might have it if I happen to pick up the white Xbox One.
  • Am I the only one here who looks at game details only and can only conclude that the game is BAD in almost every way? Probably am..
  • Which details sound bad to you?
  • Ahhhh, it's been in my cart for digital pre-order for days, but I'm still hesitant to pull the trigger
  • Pull that trigger!!
  • 6 more hours untill my pre-download unlocks (hopefully ontime).
  • Really excited for this!
  • Just a Heap of Crap that we have to pay $90.00 for the same game in Australia.
  • Hmm, here in the Philippines my XB1 is set as US Region when charging my CCard(Digital Download and Disc), this is only USD59.99 here. Maybe you could do the same. :)
  • Not really interested in the game much after watching various twitch streams. Good review tho.
  • I want this but, need to wait.....Yes, it's a problem trying to play every game for every system... At one time it was easy, spend 20+ hours a week gaming and 40 hours working...now with a Wife and kids with a job with an hour commute , I'm lucky if I can get 10 in a week. So, I had to put this up against the new COD or this for now, and due to family who is ALL getting the new COD, I guess I will have to wait on this a little. I have a lot of people asking me what I want for Xmas, I guess I will have to put this one on the list Ugh...Nice review tho, looking forward to getting it...at some point
  • I been waiting for this and I'm loving all the good reviews.
  • Hmm, me I like games where we use Swords rather than guns as weapons, I am waiting for a much much better Ryse(xb1 exclusive) game I guess. How about a Sunset Overdrive on a medieval setting? :) This is why I may take Lords of the Fallen first rather than this one for now...
  • So its different to the Saint's Row games (well the last 2 anyway) how? It really just sounds like a shameless rip off like SR was originallt a GTA rip off.
  • Wow... You just put this game on the top of my want-list! :)