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I played the first two hours of Sunset Overdrive and I liked it a lot

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Azure, lavender, tangerine and teal splash across the screen with exquisite abandon, illuminating a 3D easel of vim and vigor.

This is Sunset Overdrive, a game that has embraced the visual possibilities of new consoles with an almost child-like lack of restraint. Every inch of this rapidly moving world is saturated with glow and hue. It is a madcap celebration of color and of movement.

Curiously, this visual wantonness sits in direct contrast to Overdrive's mechanics, which demand exactitude in design, in order to present a world that actually works.

Sunset Overdrive is a shooting and fighting game, but it is also a stunt skater and a platformer. You, the player, are tasked with eliminating bad guys while constantly on the move. There is no room for tediously hiding behind cover, or creeping around, quiet as a librarian.

sunset overdrive

Like a moustachioed Victorian man-chap, this game demands that you exert constant energy and action, skidding along zip lines, bouncing on umbrellas, pirouetting across fire hydrants, all the while firing off wacky projectiles at bad-guys, who explode, pleasingly, like strawberry donuts dancing in a blender.

Developer Insomniac has left behind the grays and browns of its stern Resistance series from the last generation. Like a defrocked cleric who finds love in the arms of a plump bassoonist, the company has embraced the delicious freedom of a new beginning, by being as naughty and as cheeky as possible.

The story is utter bollocks, a shamelessly stupid and wholly enjoyable tale about a fizzy drink that turns party-town douchebags into roaring ogres. A 3D urban playground has been provided in which you find allies, weapons, bonuses and missions to while away the hours.


I played for two hours and was not bored for one single second. I cannot say if this extremeness of fun is sustainable for longer periods, but as a mission-by-mission fantasy world, the early game is varied and pleasing.

I found myself gallivanting around town, firing off silly Saints Row-style guns at chasing monstrosities and I found myself holed up in tight areas, defending a glowing Important Thing against enemy capture. There is always the potential for such things to grow tiring after a while, and it is to be hoped that later missions continue to offer variety and diversion.

Having just played some of the ponderously scripted Destiny, I'm pleased to report that characters, dialog and narrative are all gloriously inane and funny. I created a protagonist who I wanted to be, and spent a happy time interacting with foolish characters who I was delighted to meet.

sunset overdrive

Controls take a bit of getting used to, and this mainly tutorial section taught me how to jump, swing, reverse and spin across all manner of traverse-able street furniture. Sunset Overdrive only seems to get annoyed with the player who insists on walking around on the ground. This is generally a bad idea and almost inevitably concludes with a pile-on of fat beasties.

Talking to the game's makers, it's clear that they began with a mandate to exploit Xbox One's capacities for speed and color, and have sought to tie this together with a tight play mechanic that allows you to feel in control, even when you're sort of losing it entirely.

It's nice to not be entirely punished just for missing that bounce-able awning by a half inch, but it's lovely to pull off a series of spectacular almost-planned dashes and leaps across a connection of red, blue, green and pink bouncy things.

Sunset Overdrive is released on Oct. 28. From what I've seen so far, I like it.