Review Price to be confirmed
Xbox One Exclusive
Sunset Overdrive release date: October 31
GamesCom Preview by Samantha Loveridge
After a lengthy play session at E3 with Insomniac’s Xbox One exclusive, we got to take another look at Sunset Overdrive at GamesCom - albeit in a hands-off manner.
You can read our initial impressions below, but we were led through a couple of new areas of the game by two lead Sunset Overdrive developers.
To begin with we were shown one of the many factions you’ll meet in Sunset Overdrive. The Japanese Troop Bushido is one you’ll meet on your quest to meet Trick Master Brill Cream, who we weren’t shown during our demo.
Troop Bushido is holed up at the Japanese Heritage centre, all decked out with Pagodas and Cherry Blossom trees. It is fortified by a series of mutant trapping gadgets included machete blades and Mornings Stars that the protagonist is thankfully nimble enough to outmanoeuvre.
Once we managed to skip past the defences, we come face-to-face with some of the Troop Bushido clan. The characters we met even in this short scene are filled with emotion and really help to flesh out create the lighthearted, comedic storyline.
The cut scenes are very Saints Row, full of witty, quick humour that pokes fun at the OTT macho Troop Bushido clan leader. It helps that your character is completely customisable. You can play through the entire game as male or female and you can kit them out with the clothing of your choice. For example, our demo used a female protagonist wearing a white Busby-style hat and even a tail for added effect.
After our brief introduction to Troop Bushido, the dev took us to a section a lot further into the game. We were on the hunt to retrieve a Samurai sword (of no connection to Troop Bushido apparently), but it was used to show us some of the previously unannounced enemies.
The level they played through usually takes around 45 minutes to complete, but the developer rattled through it in just 30 minutes. Even he struggled in some places, and they were keen to stress this wasn’t being played on Hardcore mode. It looks like Sunset Overdrive isn’t going to offer as casual a gameplay style as its cartoonish, colourful graphics belie.
You’ll need to take advantage of attack combos to build up your Style Meter. Once you’ve reached Style Level 3, you’ll be able to take advantage of amps. Once of these is Scorched Earth, which leaves lava trails behind you wherever your feet touch the ground. There are over 50 amps to utilise in the game, including one called Twist of Fate, which lets you unleash a nuclear explosion.
You can also use your character’s special moves such as Air Dash. This helps you traverse through the air for a brief moment in time, which may just help you out leap the mutants’ attacks. Aside from the explosive Teddy Bear gun, we also like the Freeze Bombs, which are particularly effective against OverCharge drinking mutants.
As for the enemies, so far we’ve been shown a few enemies including Herkers and Blowers. Herkers are mutants that through smaller OD at you and have some pretty devastating up-close melee attacks. The Blower on the other hand is an OD with a longer range and has a leaf blower fused into his arm. This is used to spew OverCharge acid at you, meaning you need to leap and dodge his attacks.
During this demo, we were introduced a whopping seven more enemy types, including Muggers, Gunkers and Wingers. That puts the total count of Overdrive mutants to thirteen, all of which were shown off at GamesCom, but Insomniac promises there will be more than that in the final game.
Some of those will be Fizzco security forces, the company trying to cover up its botched Delirium XT energy drink launch that turned everyone who drank it into mutants.
Some of the mutants though include the Spawners. These are top priority targets because they’ve got a dumpster fused to their back, from which frequently emerge other OD mutants. Freeze bombs are great against these guys, because once they’re frozen you can smash them with other weapons.
Gunkers and Muggers, along with some other OD variants, are focused on interrupting your movement - something key to the Sunset Overdrive gameplay. They’ll fire crystals onto grind rails and vents to make your traversal that much more difficult.
Multiple varieties of OD will often group together, clambering atop of one another to make quite the formidable foe.
The flying Wingers are also new for GamesCom. They have ranged attacks and will light your pathways up with fire. they’ll also lob spawning minions at you, known as Flobbers.
Thanks to the power of the improved Fuse engine, the city itself is vast, with everything you can see at any point accessible in the final game. Insomniac, like other new-gen developers, is really playing with the verticality of Sunset City, letting you scale skyscrapers and other taller buildings.
We particularly like the “Booze Binge” fast travel feature, which lets you traverse the huge Sunset City map after downing a load of spirits. It pops you out in your desired location in a pretty GTA 5 style way. We saw our character emerge from a Portacabin, bent over with a pretty nasty hangover, but she was soon ready to face the mutants.
Updated Impressions from GamesCom
The latest build of Sunset Overdrive only served to increase our excitement for this Xbox One exclusive. It’s bright, zany gameplay, comic elements and myriad jovial weapons are sure to entice a few more people to jump on board with Microsoft’s latest console.
E3 2014 Preview by Evan Kypreos
One of the Xbox One’s most interesting console exclusives on show at E3 2014 was the anarchic and seriously OTT open-world third-person shooter Sunset Overdrive. It’s sure to polarise opinion with its brash graphics and gameplay. Some will love it, others won’t want to go near it.
Set in the fictional Sunset City in the year 2027 you are a FizzCo employee who has to rid the world of humans mutated by your company’s new energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT. That’s about as far as the plot goes, but Sunset Overdrive isn’t really a game with plot at its heart.
Sunset Overdrive is a game about style and excess. You control your character by jumping, wall running, grinding rails and zip-lining your way through the colourful world, all the while manically shooting at anything that moves using a wide array of long-range and melee weaponry.
Fans of Jet Set Radio Future will immediately be at ease with the fluid movement of Sunset Overdrive, while its gameplay also owes a lot to Dead Rising. From the outside it looks tough, but it’s actually a lot easier than it looks to pull off some impressive moves, although shooting adds another element of complexity that takes a little getting used to. If you want to do well you’ll have to spend much of your time performing acrobatics in the air, out of reach of the hordes of mutants, raining down terror from up high.
Hectic doesn’t begin to describe the eight-player co-op mayhem of the Chaos Squad demo we played at E3 2014.
Tasked to protect vats of OverCharge juice we started by setting up traps and waiting for the first wave of opponents to arrive. Once they do the screen becomes a riot of explosions and colours. Sunset Overdrive is loud in every sense of the word.
Weapons range from the usual AK-47 machine gun to an exploding teddy bear launcher and, in a nod to Shaun of the Dead, a vinyl record flinger. Play with extra style or combo-kill enemies and your Amp meter will rise giving you access to special abilities for traversing Sunset City or adding elemental effects to your weapons. Once earned these Amp abilities will stay with your character whether you’re playing single or multiplayer.
Developer Insomniac has opted for a colourful, comic-book inspired look for Sunset Overdrive and it works well with the manic gameplay-style. There have been a few grumbles from some gamers that it won’t run in full-HD. Instead Sunset Overdrive will run in 900p, 30fps and I don’t think this will be a problem.
I did not find any issue with the resolution or frame rate regardless of the size of explosions or having multiple enemies on screen at once. The cartoony graphics are also more forgiving. All in all, Sunset Overdrive looks fantastic.
There’s never a quiet moment in Sunset Overdrive, and while I have some concerns that the game will lose its quirky and frantic appeal quickly, it certainly looks like it will be a blast while it lasts.
Next read: Batman Arkham Knight preview
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