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Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Developer: Insomniac Games

Platforms:  Xbox One

Released: October 28, 2014

 

Exclusive to Xbox One comes Sunset Drive, a big open world with a focus on rapid, super-human travel. While some elements of Sunset are reminiscent of Sony's own exclusive title Infamous, you've never quite frolicked about in an open world like this with amazing freedom and an infectious enthusiasm for mayhem.

Sunset Overdrive's story doesn't take itself seriously and it borrows quite a few elements from the Saints Row, Jet Set Radio, and  Crackdown games. You play as a regular citizen in Sunset city, but due to a plot from an energy drink company, most of its residents are turned into ravening mutants. Its manufacturer Fizzco in an effort to lock down the city, encircled Sunset with a formidable wall to cover up the mess. You play as a young, shiftless kid who used to be employed by the company, who now finds himself in the harrowing position of fighting to stay alive. Just when the situation reaches critical status you're  taken in by a group of survivors, who pull you into their plan to blow town and spill Fizzco’s secrets to the world. Despite the extremely cheesy storyline, Sunset has enough redeeming qualities going for it that it can be excused for that transgression. Your hero's enthusiasm which permeates throughout the entire game is backed by some beautiful graphics. Sunset City is full of colors that really pop and some really dope street art on nearly every building. Everything's been crafted with a nice touch from the pus-filled mutants that burst into splashy colors when killed, to atomic explosions that leave behind a plume of "BOOM"-shaped smoke. The enemies that you'll face are not limited to just mutant types, but you'll also have to tangle with also robots and other humans that don't really care that the whole city is invaded by monsters. Many enemies have special attacks so learning to keep your distance is crucial to your strategy when trying to defeat them. Fortunately, since you are constantly in motion you can escape dangerous situations pretty easily even when enemies gang up on you (which happens quite often). You'll find the human enemies have impeccable aim, so moving around constantly is essential if you don't want to be an easy target. Standing around –particularly at ground level – is only going to get you killed.  Your means of travel will find you riding railings, cables or barriers and bouncing off things like cars, satellite dishes and awnings. A squeeze of the left trigger slows things down allowing you to aim with the right stick and shoot with the right trigger. The more of these tricks you use help increase your style level making your attacks become more powerful and amps become active. Amps which are distilled from the energy drink are extremely helpful as they make your attacks more powerful. With the use of amps the straight dodge and roll move turns into an offensive roll, and  a miniature lightning strike will cause extra damage. As you progress through the game collecting more ingredients you'll gain access to the more powerful amps.  If there was one downside to Sunset Drive it would be the repetitiveness of the missions as they mostly involve traveling through the city, defeating mutants, acquiring powerups and protecting citizens. Rinse and repeat. Fortunately the entertaining dialog between characters make this a forgivable offense. There's also a ton of things to do within the world thanks to Sunset's superb traversal, subperb comedic writing, and wealth of upgrade paths for your character and weapons, that you'll find yourself veering off course to explore more often than not.

The XXL Endgame

Sunset Overdrive is a large open world filled with crazy adventures, imaginative weapons and more importantly very enjoyable to play. Sure it has the aforementioned gameplay weakness but Sunset's thrill ride and acrobatic strength's more than make up for them. —written by DJRhude (@DJRhude)

XXL Rating: XL (Excellent)