I never quite understood the hype around Sunset Overdrive. Sure, it looks like it could be fun, but it never quite grabbed me. I got ushered into a secret room to see some gameplay footage of it at Gamescom. Did I see enough to board the hype train?
If you have no idea what Sunset Overdrive is, the premise is simple. FizzCo is a large corporation that put out an energy drink called Overcharge Delirium XT. The drink was bad news, resulting in Sunset City changing into the mad place it is. It’s now filled with mutants, factions, and a whole lot of crazy.
The demonstration kicked off with a female protagonist, something which I was told is fully customisable. You can be male, female, black, white, or even Chinese-coloured. We are following one of the missions in the game, the search for a samurai sword.
Our leading lady breaks into a Japanese museum, and a cut scene ensues. It’s pretty damn obvious that the game is packed with attitude, but in a good way. There is all sorts of humour; it’s in your face and really good. I like it.
We fast forward somewhat, and we are now after components for this sword. I finally get to see some of the combat, and it all looks rather good. Depending on how you play the game, you will level up the style meter. Filling it can come in the form of just killing enemies faster while grinding along a rail for example. Having a fuller bar means your weapons will be stronger, plus they will have some added effects.
Extra effects come in the form of Amps, which are ways in which you can customise your character and weapons. For example, they had a scorched earth Amp equipped, which meant that the character left a trail of fire behind her which did damage.
The combat genuinely looks quite fun. There are some insane weapons to play with, over 20 in fact. The combinations are quite cool. For example, you can quickly freeze the enemy with a freeze bomb, before switching over to the propane launcher for some nice explosive damage.
Movement is also key to the game. There’s lots of grinding for speeding up your movement, as well as bounce pads to gain some verticality. Traversing around is meant to be fast and fun, and it does look like it is. That movement comes in handy when facing the various enemies. There were 7 new ones revealed to me during the demonstration, all with mostly bizarre names which were tough for my forgetful brain to remember.
I do remember the Spawner though, which is a mutant with a dumpster fused to his back. I was told that this enemy is a top priority, as he spawns loads of smaller mutants which can prove to be quite the headache if left unchecked. I also saw the Winger, a flying enemy that spawnsFflobbers. These spawned minions can make grinding an absolute nightmare, and they can be hard to deal with in large numbers. These are just a few and I can confirm that there are a lot, many varied enemy types. They all have their own weaknesses and strengths, so players need to be on their toes if they want to survive.
In terms of music, it really is something I would expect. There is some accompanying punk which matches the fast pace of the action going on. I’d imagine that most of the soundtrack will be something similar.
The demonstration took me through the protagonist collecting metal, melting it, shaping it, and cooling it… basically making the sword that she was in search of. It was just a bite of the game, but I saw enough to say that I quite like it. I was told that there is 8 player co-op on the floor, so I am going to try my very best to get some time with it if I can. Hold out against waves of enemies with your friends? Sure it’s not new, but I bet it will be a load of fun.
There was so much more to say, I just can’t quite fit it all into this post. Basically though, Insomniac have a simple philosophy – Fun trumps realism. I can see their vision, it’s almost tangible. Sunset Overdrive is packed with fast paced action, and it’s all designed around the notion of having fun. I quite liked what I saw. If you are excited for this game, you have every reason to be.
Expect it to land on October the 31st.