Sunset Overdrive

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Sunset Overdrive
Sunset Overdrive cover.jpg
Sunset Overdrive cover art
Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios
Composer(s) Boris Salchow
Engine New Insomniac engine
Platform(s) Xbox One
Release date(s) NA October 28, 2014[1]
JP 20141030October 30, 2014
AUS 20141030October 30, 2014
EU October 31, 2014[1]
Genre(s) Action-adventure, third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Blu-ray Disc

Sunset Overdrive is an open world third-person shooter comedy video game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Microsoft Studios exclusively for the Xbox One. Set in 2027, in the fictional open world metropolis called Sunset City, players control a fully customizable FizzCo employee who fights the OD, humans transformed into mutants after consuming an energy drink. Players wall-run, use zip-lines, and grind rails to swiftly navigate through Sunset City, and have a large weapon arsenal to use in action.

Gameplay[edit]

Gameplay screenshot of Sunset Overdrive.

Players navigate the open world metropolis Sunset City in 2027. The dystopian world has been overrun by mutants called the OD aka Overcharge Drinkers. The player character, whose gender, skin tone and body type can be customized, is a former FizzCo employee, tasked with cleaning up the mess left behind from a party FizzCo has thrown in celebration of the launch of their new energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT. Players fight the OD'd humans who have mutated from drinking too much of the energy drink. [2]

The game focuses on "agile combat", including wall running, zip-lines, parkour, acrobatics and water traversal.[3] Players use grind rails to deftly navigate city streets. On-foot, players cannot run or take cover, but instead must rely on agility to survive. Players can carry up to eight weapons at once, including the standard assault rifle AK-FU, and the TNTeddy grenade launcher that fires teddy bears strapped to sticks of dynamite. All weapons eventually run out of ammunition, but do not need to be reloaded while being used. Players unlock more weapons by progressing through the story or purchasing them from shops. Weapons can be upgraded by applying "Amps" that increase their lethality. The Style Meter in the head-up display (HUD) increases as players perform stylish moves like killing enemies and grinding on-rails without touching the ground.[2]

In the online co-op mode called Chaos Squad, up to 8 players defend vats of Overcharge Delirium XT from waves of OD'd. Although they work together, players also try to earn more Style points during play than their co-op partners.[4] However, the game would not support free roam co-op at launch, but could be added to the game through a post-release expansion.[5]

Plot[edit]

In 2027, FizzCo releases their new hit energy drink, OverCharge Delirium XT. FizzCo, in an attempt to sell OCD faster, skipped health regulation protocols. Unknown to FizzCo, the drink causes everyone who drinks it to turn into hungry, violent mutants known as OverCharge Drinkers aka the OD. FizzCo, in order to cover up their mistake, claims that a virus has broken out in Sunset City, and quarantines the whole city, preventing any entrance or exit. The player, a FizzCo employee who works in the sanitation division, is saved from an attacking OD by Walter, a fellow survivor.

Upon learning that Walter is creating a plane, the player obtains the aid of Sam and the Oxfords, a group of rich but lazy geniuses. After multiple errands, the Oxfords are forcibly convinced to build a propeller to complete the plane. The player joins Walter in his plane to escape the city and reveal the truth about the outbreak. At the last second, Walter notices an invisible wall preventing their escape and pushes the player out of the plane, sacrificing himself.

Still planning to escape, the player aids Troop Bushido, a group of scouts living in a samurai museum, and the Fargarths, a group of larpers who now believe they're the medieval characters they played as. In thanks, the 2 groups, respectively, design and build a ship out of garbage which tricks the FizzCo sensors to allow them past. The player and some of the Fargarths almost escape when the player learns that FizzCo robots are attacking the Oxfords and Troop Bushido to kill all witnesses.

Forcing the Fargarths to turn around, the player returns to Sunset City and saves both groups. Following the battle, Sam learns that FizzCo is planning something else at their headquarters. To break in, the player gains the help of Las Catrinas, a trio of cheerleaders caring for the Children's' Ward of the hospital, who had previously broken into the offices. In the end, it is discovered that the FizzCo main office is a self-destructing building robot that is going to destroy Sunset City. The player defeats the robot and has beer with the other survivors. After the credits, Protocol X26 has been activated and FizzCo helicopters are seen being sent around the world to deliver OCD. [6]

Development and release[edit]

While completing work on Resistance 3 (2011), Drew Murray and Marcus Smith of Insomniac Games began brainstorming their next game. They presented their ideas to Insomniac's owners, and CEO Ted Price, envisioning a project that would borrow influences from the documentary Hyena Men of Kenya, Tank Girl comics, the novel I Am Legend and the British television series The Young Ones. The initial presentation failed to generate interest, but Murray and Smith were instead asked to come back after a week to present how the actual game would play. In their second presentation, they envisioned a game featuring fast-paced action that would be "the rock and roll end times", which, according to Smith, ignited some confusion among the team. "All of a sudden, people thought that we were making Brütal Legend," he explained. With Sunset Overdrive green-lit internally, Insomniac pitched it to a number of different publishers. Insomniac wanted to retain brand ownership, causing some to opt out of publishing. Murray and Smith traveled to Microsoft Studios a number of times to pitch the game to them. The "main pitch" began with the playing of "Kick Out the Jams" by MC5, and ended with Murray "on top of a chair, mimicking how the game was going to play, and the last minute heroics." Microsoft ultimately agreed to publish the game.[7]

Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price has said that the game's irreverence and stylization reflects the personality of the company.[3] He compared the game's humor to that of Spyro and Ratchet & Clank.[3] The style is driven by the game's story "theme of freedom and self-expression".[8] According to Smith, the game returns to Insomniac's "roots" and draws influence from Sega games like Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio.[9]

On the game's native 900p resolution and 30 frames per second, Price felt that the developers prioritized having more action on-screen in favor of a higher resolution.[5] When Microsoft removed Kinect from standard Xbox One bundles and let game developers access CPU power formerly reserved for the peripheral, Insomniac used the extra power for the game's physics and AI systems.[10]

The game is expected to use Microsoft's cloud computing to create a living world, where user feedback and ideas such as Internet memes, social commentary, new items, weapons, and characters can be quickly added.[8]

The game was announced during Microsoft's E3 2013 press event.[11] On 9 October 2014, Insomniac Games confirmed that the game had gone gold, indicating it was being prepared for duplication and release.[12] It was released on October 28, 2014 in North America for the Xbox One.

Sunset Overdrive is included in a white Kinect-less Xbox One bundle for US$399/£329.[13]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 83.16%[14]
Metacritic 82/100[15]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 7/10[16]
Destructoid 8.5/10[17]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 9/10[18]
Eurogamer 8/10[19]
Game Informer 9.25/10[20]
Game Revolution 5/5 stars[21]
GamesRadar 4/5 stars[22]
GameSpot 8/10[23]
GameTrailers 7/10[24]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[25]
IGN 9/10[26]
Joystiq 5/5 stars[27]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 8/10 [28]
Polygon 9/10[29]
VideoGamer.com 6/10[30]
Best Buy Canada 96%[31]
Digital Spy 3/5 stars[32]
Hardcore Gamer 8/10[33]
Metro 7/10[34]

Sunset Overdrive received positive reviews. It received aggregated scores of 83.16% from GameRankings based on 61 reviews[14] and 81/100 from Metacritic based on 84 reviews.[15]

Sam Prell from Joystiq gave the game a perfect score, praising its voice acting, fluid control, varied weapons, impressive range of mission types, satisfying upgrades and in-depth character customization as he described it as "king in Sunset Overdrive". He summarized the game as an experience which has successfully created a world where the apocalypse is fun instead of depressing.[27]

Eric L. Patterson from Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the game a 9/10, praising the well-crafted gameplay, satisfying act of movement and stylistic storytelling decisions. He also praised the multiplayer mode Chaos Squad as he stated that he found the mode more interesting and worthwhile than he originally expected. However, he found the muliplayer aspect of the game disappointing, mainly due to lack of other game mode beside Chaos Squad. He summarized the game as "fun, interesting and engrossing experience" and he considered Sunset Overdrive as "one of the most enjoyable games I have played so far this generation."[18]

Andrew Reiner from Game Informer gave the game a 9.25/10, praising its fun, lighthearted action, great protagonist’s animations and respawn sequences, excellent gunplay, high replay value, entertaining humor and highly detailed environment, but criticizing the occasionally tedious missions, as well as the non-engaging multiplayer. He described the game as "an immensely rewarding experience that has a look and style all its own and a great gameplay package to complement it" and "a colorful return to form for Insomniac games, and a hell of an exclusive for Xbox One.".[20]

Chris Carter from Destructoid gave the game a 8.5/10, praising its vibrant visuals, huge amount of customization, excellent free-movement system, which he added that it may take time for players to get used to. However, he criticized the disappointing story, as well as the lack of an engaging narrative.[17]

Lucas Sullivan from GamesRadar gave the game a 4/5, praising the vibrant graphics, but criticizing the trap-based defense missions which feel entirely needless, as well as some hit-or-miss moments of sophomoric humor.[22]

Peter Brown from GameSpot gave the game a 8/10, praising the convincing and entertaining voice acting, empowering mobility, wide variety of challenges, unique art style, as well as solid frame rate, which remain uncharged even with all the action on screen, but criticizing the non-scale-based difficulty of the multiplayer, as well as repetitive mission design at the beginning of the game. However, he still summarized the game as "one of the best games on the Xbox One, and a refreshing shot of merriment."[23]

Ben Moore from GameTrailers gave the game a 7/10, praising the satisfying movement, creative weaponry, but criticizing the flat and predictable humor, undercooked characters, thin plot, and poor presentation in term of story, as well as non-challenging gameplay.[24]

Leon Hurley from Computer and Video Games gave the game a 7/10. He praised the limitless and enjoyable movement, as well as the relentless comedy, but criticized the overly complex upgrade system and the exhausting and tiring gameplay. He described the game as "an energetic and different shooter that can occasionally be too loud for its own good."[16]

Awards and nominations[edit]

List of awards and nominations for Sunset Overdrive
Year Award Category Recipient Ref.
2014 IGN's Best of E3 2014 Awards Best Xbox One Game Won [35]
Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated [35]
Best Trailer Nominated [35]
Best Original Game Nominated [35]
2014's Game Critics Awards Best Original Game Nominated [36]
Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated [36]
32nd Golden Joystick Awards Most Wanted Nominated [37]
IGN's Gamescom 2014 Awards Best Console Game Microsoft Xbox Nominated [38]
The Game Awards 2014 Best Score/Soundtrack Nominated [39]
Best Action/Adventure Game Nominated [39]
Hardcore Gamer's Best of 2014 Best Xbox One Game Won [40]
Best Artistic Design Nominated [41]
Best New IP Nominated [42]
2014's Dark Horse Nominated [42]
Game Revolution's Best of 2014 Game of the Year Nominated [43]
Best Developer (Insomniac Games) Nominated [44]
Best Xbox Console Exclusive Won [45]
Destructoid's Best of 2014 Best World Design Nominated [46]
Best Game Mechanics Nominated [47]
IGN's Best of 2014 Best Action-Adventure Pending [48]
Best Overall Game Pending [48]
Best Xbox One Game Pending [48]
Most Humorous Pending [48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Romano, Sal (June 9, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive release date set". Gematsu. Retrieved June 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Moriarty, Colin (May 8, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive: Open World Adventures in the Awesomepocalypse". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Lien, Tracey (June 11, 2013). "Sunset Overdrive turns a city ravaged by catastrophe into your playground". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  4. ^ Albert, Brian (June 9, 2014). "E3 2014: Hands on with Sunset Overdrive's Crazy Co-op Mode". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Eddie Makuch (October 21, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive Dev Explains Why It Chose 900p Over 1080p". GameSpot. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Caveshen Rajman (October 27, 2014). "Review: Sunset Overdrive Overdelivers On Quality". EGMR. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Moriarty, Colin (May 9, 2014). "How Sunset Overdrive Became an Xbox One Exclusive". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Xbox Wire Staff (June 11, 2013). "Sunset Overdrive Q&A with Insomniac CEO Ted Price". Xbox Wire. Microsoft. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ Moser, Cassidy (September 5, 2014). "Creative Director Discusses the Light-Hearted Tone of Sunset Overdrive". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  10. ^ Karmali, Luke (September 25, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive Dev: 'It's The Biggest Game We've Ever Made'". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on October 21, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  11. ^ Gera, Emily (June 10, 2013). "Sunset Overdrive is an open world game for Xbox One". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  12. ^ Tom Ivan (October 9, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive goes gold: Insomniac's Xbox One exclusive ready for late-October release". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved October 9, 2014. 
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  17. ^ a b Chris Carter (October 27, 2014). "Review: Sunset Overdrive". Destructoid. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Eric L. Patterson (October 27, 2014). "EGM Review: Sunset Overdrive". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  19. ^ Christian Donlan (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review: Grind over splatter". Eurogamer. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Andrew Reiner (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review: Insomniac Games Is Home From War". Game Informer. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  21. ^ Danielr Bischoff (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review". Game Revolution. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b Lucas Sullivan (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review". GamesRadar. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b Peter Brown (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b Ben Moore (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive - Review". GameTrailers. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  25. ^ Brad Shoemaker (October 31, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive Review". Giant Bomb. Retrieved November 1, 2014. 
  26. ^ Marty Sliva (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review: Charmagedden". IGN. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  27. ^ a b Sam Prell (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review: It's my party". Joystiq. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Matthew Castle (October 28, 2014). "Reviews: Sunset Overdrive Xbox One". Official Xbox Magazine. Retrieved October 31, 2014. 
  29. ^ Arthur Gies (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review: Orange Agent". Polygon. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  30. ^ Steven Burns (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive Review". VideoGamer.com. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  31. ^ Matt Paligaru (October 28, 2014). "Review: Sunset Overdrive might just be the best Xbox One game yet". Best Buy Canada. Retrieved October 28, 2014. 
  32. ^ John Robertson (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review (Xbox One): Not an open-world revolution". The Escapist. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  33. ^ Adam Beck (October 27, 2014). "Review: Sunset Overdrive". Hardcore Gamer. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  34. ^ David Jenkins (October 27, 2014). "Sunset Overdrive review – constant grinding". Metro. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  35. ^ a b c d "IGN's Best of E3 2014 Awards". IGN. Ziff Davis. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "2014 Nominees". Game Critics Awards. Retrieved December 27, 2014. 
  37. ^ "Golden Joystick 2014 Awards Nominee’s Revealed". LzyGamer. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  38. ^ Karmali, Luke (August 6, 2014). "GamesCom 2014: Evolve Leads GamesCom 2014 Awards With 5 Nominations". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  39. ^ a b Samit Sarkar (November 21, 2014). "Here are the nominees for The Game Awards 2014". Polygon. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  40. ^ "Best of 2014 – Day Two: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Wii U". Hardcore Gamer. December 24, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Best of 2014 – Day Four: Graphics, Art, Story, Writing". Hardcore Gamer. December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  42. ^ a b "Best of 2014 – Day Five: IP, Sequel, Remaster, Dark Horse". Hardcore Gamer. December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  43. ^ Nicholas Tan (December 24, 2014). "Best of 2014 Awards: Game of the Year". Game Revolution. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  44. ^ Daniel Bischoff (December 24, 2014). "Best of 2014 Awards: Best Developer". Game Revolution. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  45. ^ Daniel Bischoff (December 20, 2014). "Best of 2014 Awards: Best Xbox Console Exclusive". Game Revolution. Retrieved December 24, 2014. 
  46. ^ Steven Hansen (December 20, 2014). "Nominees for Destructoid's Best World Design of 2014". Destructoid. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  47. ^ Brittany Vincent (December 19, 2014). "Nominees for Destructoid's Best Game Mechanics of 2014". Destructoid. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  48. ^ a b c d "IGN Best of 2014". IGN. December 19, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 

External links[edit]