This is a review on the highly anticipated Sunset Overdrive for the Xbox One. I would like to start off by giving a quick description as to what the game consists of. Set in Sunset City, the game revolves around a new energy drink that was created by a company Fizz Co. It had an early release in Sunset city and unfortunately turned everyone who drank the new soda into mutant creatures who are driven by basic instinct – to feed and live. There are a few people who didn’t consume the drink(including yourself), and these are the AI that you interact with while playing. There are two ways you can play this game in general, both are very liable for fun. The first way is to just free-roam the city taking care of the OD (Mutants), or you can go through the story as intended and also take care of OD along the way. When you first start the game, you are prompted with a character creation screen, this was a nice perk and the options for customisation was good, and it gets better further on through the game.
The environments of Sunset City are definitely different, while providing a cartoon-level of detail, it creates a very immersive experience. The game provides a vibrant colour scheme (obviously changing depending where you are), which lets you enjoy the game without much thinking at all. While slaying the OD, you are explained what each type of creature does what, for example, there are a certain type of mutant that pops when killed. Usually when playing a game where a enemy/organism ‘pops’, you may get a nice sound effect and a bit of gore on the surrounding walls and floors. In Sunset Overdrive, there is all the normal gore (orange in colour) and sound effects, but it also gives an amazing visual display of onomatopoeia, not just with those creatures, but with different aspects throughout the game. I felt this was a great way to give an effective experience in doing different, usually normal, actions. I found myself actually searching for those types of OD to try and see the graphic, it was just that good. The scheme of the environment was carried very well in this title, and there were very few parts that could be improved on here, the only point that I found was that the game repeated an excessive amount of models (Roof vents, umbrellas, building shades), and this could be improved by using more of a variety of models, as once I realised this, it easily bugged me.
This game has come apparent to myself that it is a great option for when you have a bit of spare time and don’t want to get involved in a huge story or mission that takes a lot of thinking. This means it is well suited to people with busy lifestyles that don’t have a lot of time to play games. On the other hand, this game can also be played as a normal story mode-orientated play style, although this is not a strong point. After running through around 50% of the story mode, I found myself regularly playing the game like an online game of Grand Theft Auto (messing around/not paying much attention). As mentioned before this can be a good point for some people, but for some who want to sit down and really enjoy the game for the story, not so good. While doing a play through, it dawned on me how repetitive this story mode is, it is a typical ‘fetch and grab’ mission, but most of the way through the game. I feel that they could vastly improve on this title by doing a second iteration, with a better thought out story line that really makes you feel like you are the hero and has a wider variety of missions.
Traversing around the area of Sunset City is a task in itself, but as the controls are learnt, it can become a very fun task and actually became second nature with not too much time. The controls could’ve easily ruined this game, as the complex design of the way you move around the environment, and the way you interact with enemies can become frustrating when first starting out. It does give a tutorial at the start, however this is not the way to learn how to travel. I found the best way to learn to multitask and move around was to just do it. All the time. The quicker you learn how to grind, bounce, and shoot, the more fun you will have by far. They set the controls out very well and the multitasking nature of the game didn’t overwhelm me after a little experience. The developers did a great job here and i honestly couldn’t give any improvements. There is a control layout selection in the menu, but my preferred orientation was the default one.
The HUD, there isn’t much to say here, as there isn’t much of it. I see what they were trying to do by making is minimalistic and actually small in size. It was made this way to put all of the enfaces on the gameplay and environments, and it did its job. The problem is that it unfortunately lost a lot of its function by doing this, I constantly found myself running out of ammo without me knowing and only after a few clicks of the gun did I realise, by this time it was too late. The health bar was okay, it almost struck a good balance of what they were trying to do, and its actual function, if it were just slightly larger it could be practical size. The one thing about the Heads up display that I found worked for me, was the style meter in the top right, I felt this was a great size, it didn’t distract me from the mayhem on screen, but it was there when I needed it. Overall the HUD is far from perfect, but it doesn’t completely ruin the experience of the game.
To summarise, I may have sounded like I gave this title a lot of bad points, but for all it bad points I genuinely enjoyed playing it. As I said with the HUD, The faults with this game don’t completely ruin your experience, but if they went there, even the people without time would be stuck to the screen. This game is a hell of a start for a standalone release, and like I previously mentioned with the story, if they were to create a sequel with these problems fixed, then it could be a real winner in the grand scheme of Xbox One. This is a great game that provides a lot of simple fun, but it could be a lot more than this with a more developed story line.