If I had to admit that there was one game I wasn’t particularly interested in or over excited about before travelling to Gamescom this year (because I had already made my mind up from watching E3 trailers) it was Sunset Overdrive from Insomniac Games. It can be surprising though just how you can get the perception of a game completely wrong from a trailer in comparison to a hands-on session because after my time on this title in Cologne, Germany; it’s an insane game that is bursting with fun and exceptional use of team work! Sunset Overdrive completely blew me away to the point of fast becoming my least wanted to an absolute must-have in my collection. It’s not that the original trailers were a bore, but I felt a sense of trying too hard to be the new cool kid in town and wasn’t won over by its eccentricity.
During the Gamescom 2014 Xbox Brief, Microsoft announced the glossy white Xbox One console to coincide with the release of Sunset Overdrive on October 31st 2014. Having seen the console with my own eyes it does look every bit as sexy as it looks on screen, I wanted it so bad! If you’re not familiar with the concept of the game, it’s basically an open world with no rules or limits. You can leap off buildings, run along walls, and grind power lines and rails to destroy your foes from every angle. It’s definitely got the fun-factor embedded into every second of gameplay and I doubt you could ever get bored with this level of utter mayhem and madness from one title.
In what looked every bit an over-the-top action ride, actually is just that – a totally whacky over the top third-person insane shooting game, but it works a treat. It’s bright, funky, colourful and not all that serious where you are able to just pick up and play to get instantly involved. As part of our hands-on session at Gamescom this year, we tried and tested the multiplayer mode which shot us straight into a survival arena where teamwork was key to keeping alien life forms away from powerful generators. The developers and booth staff made it quite clear that the important aspect to the game was not to stay on the ground. At first it didn’t make sense to be a shooter where you were unable to walk around and shoot, but as soon as the game fired up I clearly see that the key to survival and acquiring the most points is moving, jumping and grinding down on buildings and objects. It’s a manic, fast paced environment where a horde of creatures pour out from all directions and the team protect the generators from alien attack. You have to be quick on your feet and certain enemies react differently to your weapons.
Even the weapons themselves are every bit as wacky as the post-apocalyptic game itself with teddy bears flying through the air, explosives, and more. TnTeddy launches cute teddy bears that explode on impact. You can use an AK-FU which is described as being like an AK-47 but not great for huge groups of enemies. The Captain Ahab machine is a harpoon that can take out an enemy in a single shot. Rather more random though is a High Fidelity Gun that fires vinyl records that play songs mid-air! You also have Hover Turret to play with that launches a miniature helicopter equipped with a 9mm pistol to fire at nearby enemies and there was also a Roman Candle – a veritable laser light weapon that fires out multi-coloured shots for aiming at and dealing with large groups of mutants all at once!
The aim of the game seems to be about survival elements in the most insane fashion applicable. It was like a version of Dead Rising on drugs, but presented as a characteristic cartoon with amazing art direction. As much as your eyes are looking out for enemies, you are just wowed by the level of detail and colourful characters that parade around for dear life. The concept of the story appears somewhat sadistic and disconsolate, yet the action packed gameplay leaves you wanting more. Sunset Overdrive is certainly unique and I’m pretty positive it will be a huge success for many years to come.
A refreshing new IP from Insomniac Games set to rock Xbox One from October 31st 2014.