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Sunset Overdrive Hands-On #XboxGamescom

…let the madness commence…

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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.

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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!

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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.

Posted By: - Can be followed on Xbox LIVE as "Jason of Duty"

Founder of ThisisXbox.com (owner from 2010 - 2014), now writer and reviewer with an interest in writing thriller fiction. Two addictions; Diet Coke and Call of Duty. All views expressed everywhere are my own and not that of my employer!
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  • Geoff Carlin

    Nice review. I’m looking forward to this game. Just one minor correction the white console has only the standard 500 gb hard drive not the 1tb one thats included with the COD bundle.

  • http://www.thisisxbox.com/ Jason

    well spotted… obviously you can tell there was only 1 console bundle on my mind haha…

  • Paddy

    I’ve been debating which games I will get through the end of December. The budget allowed by my wife haha probably has me at 3 games with interest in Destiny, Sunset Overdrive, Halo collection, GTA5 (assuming out in reasonable time), Evolve, and COD (steered clear of COD the past few years). This review has me seriously considering Sunset Overdrive if nothing else than for a change of pace type game with unique elements. GTA5 is a must since I haven’t played yet and I’m thinking Destiny probably is as well. The only other game on my radar that is a first day buy is probably Doom, but I have a feeling that game is still a while off.

  • Davrosdeth

    Enjoyable read, glad to hear someone with doubts was swayed so strongly by a play through. I have thought this looks great from the start but (perhaps from reading/watching too much) I had started to doubt it may be a bit boring to actually play.
    I saw in a recent sunset TV article they responded to criticism that grinding may be too slow, by adding a boost function to insrease grind and wall run speed when desired :)
    One small correction, the Captain Ahab weapon fires out Overcharge energy drink in a puddle to attract mutant enemies to one spot so you can take out a group with one melee hit/tnteddy etc.

  • bob

    If you are open to suggestions I believe you’ll do fine with Gta destiny and Sunset Overdrive but if you are in a need for competitive multiplayer I would get the chief collection and buy sunset overdrive later down the road since it is a story mode co op you really wont be missing much