Sunset Overdrive

10 Things You Need To Know
by Tim Turi on May 08, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Platform Xbox One
Publisher Microsoft Game Studios
Developer Insomniac Games
Rating Mature

Earlier today we revealed new, hands-on details about Insomniac’s new Xbox One-exclusive title, Sunset Overdrive. This colorful, third-person open-world game is a new direction for Insomniac, and there’s a lot to digest. From Tony Hawk-like traversal to Ratchet & Clank-inspired gunplay, we’ve boiled down everything you need to know.

It’s An Open-World Game

The sprawling, colorful landscape of Sunset City awaits you. Rails and power lines connect buildings of various heights. Demented, soda-infused mutants roam the streets ready to be blasted with your weapons. Completing side missions and exploring unlocks new implements of destruction and other incentives. Even at this early stage in development, Sunset City looks like a promising open-world environment with lots of fun things to do on par with heavy hitters like Infamous and Batman: Arkham City.

Traversal Feels Like Tony Hawk

Sunset Overdrive isn’t just about plodding around on foot or floating through the skies. Traversing the city requires skill and precision, and the game will reward you for it. Grinding rails and hooking your crowbar to slide along power lines looks cool and effectively gets you around. Cruising around the city constantly builds up a style meter which strengthens weapons and other abilities. The end result feels like keeping a Tony Hawk combo going while gunning down enemies with forgiving, Ratchet &-Clank-esque aiming. Sunset Overdrive evokes that magical, the-floor-is-lava type of motivation.

Upgradable Weapon Variety Rivaling Ratchet & Clank

Speaking of Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive is going to have an arsenal rivaling the famous Lombax’s. The more you use weapons like the exploding teddy bear launcher and vinyl record-launching firearm, the more powerful they become. Sunset Overdrive even harkens back to Ratchet & Clank with its weapon wheel. The action slows down to let you choose your next weapon without throwing off the sense of momentum.

We Played It And It’s Fun

I sat down to play through roughly 30 minutes of Sunset Overdrive. It was rough at first without a tutorial to settle into, but I found myself getting the hang of things so quickly it surprised me. After tapping into my aforementioned Tony Hawk skills, I was grinding circles around and above my enemies while blasting them with fireworks. Combat and traversal are generally mutually exclusive experiences in open-world games, and Sunset Overdrive is blurring those lines with impressive results.

It Feels Like A True Insomniac Game

Save for the bright colors of its early platforming games, Sunset Overdrive doesn’t look like anything Insomniac has developed in the past. The goofy attitude, gonzo weaponry, and overall tone are a far cry from the grit and grounded gunplay of the Resistance games and Fuse. While it may not look familiar, Sunset Overdrive oozes with the studio’s signature style. The vivid color palette and platforming of games like Spyro and Ratchet are here, along with endless waves of ugly mutants reminiscent of Resistance’s Chimera. The Insomniac spirit is alive and well in Sunset Overdrive, and shows promise to thrive in the new open-world formant.

By The Creators Of Resistance 3

Speaking of Resistance, the Insomniac team working on Sunset Overdrive is being led by the men behind Resistance 3. Marcus Smith, who previewed a section of Resistance 3 with us, is creative director and Drew Murray is game director. For Resistance 3, these developers spearheaded the charge to return Insomniac’s iconic weapon wheel, more creative upgrades, and co-op after Resistance2 did away with these features. These two have a firm grip on what makes Insomniac games special and fans should find comfort in that.

You Can Customize Your Character, Big Time

Insomniac’s lead character artist is Gavin Goulden. Goulden’s resume includes work as lead character artist on BioShock Infinite and character work on Dead Rising 2. These credentials are important because of the huge role character customization plays in Sunset Overdrive. The protagonist is largely a wise-crackin’, fun-loving cipher for players to project their own identity upon. Players can express themselves by freely selecting their gender, body type, tattoos, and a large variety of clothing. Goulden’s stunning work on BioShock infinite along with the staggering customization variety of Dead Rising 2 make him a perfect fit for the role.

Not For Children

Despite the liberal use of bright colors and multiple nods to Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive is a game for adults. Insomniac’s story about a powerful soda company turning a city’s residents into mutants is a tongue-in-cheek commentary on big business’ influence on our lives. It comes complete with fourth wall-breaking quips, restaurant menu items referencing genitalia, and strong language. Insomniac is pulling out all the stops with a much more crass tone this time around. 

Multiplayer Is Planned

Sunset Overdrive's campaign is single-player only. Insomniac isn’t talking about competitive of cooperative multiplayer modes in Sunset Overdrive’s open world, but has mentioned multiplayer will be part of the experience in some form. The reveal trailer shows what looks like cooperative play, so we’re crossing our fingers for that.

When Does It Release?

Sunset Overdrive will hit the Xbox One this Fall.

For a more in-depth look at the game, read my preview.

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Sunset Overdrive

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