Sunset Overdrive Hands-On Preview

Insomniac Games surprised everyone at E3 by announcing their next game, Sunset Overdrive, would be an Xbox One exclusive despite their long-standing history with PlayStation. Sunset Overdrive is a third-person action game where you glide on wires, zip lines, and rooftops around Sunset City.

I played a round of its 8-player co-op mode called Chaos Squad, where all the players work together to defend points on the map against waves of enemies. Communication and cooperation between your squadmates is a necessity to both survive and defend successfully. There is also a competition between squadmates to get the most points per round. Each member accumulates “style” points for actions, such as headshots and long grinds, which unlock new equipment for the match.

Chaos Squad felt very different than other familiar Horde modes. If you try to stay on the ground and snipe or strafe and shoot, you will not survive long. The emphasis is on movement and traversal. You must make use of the wires and zip lines between buildings and keep moving to succeed. These features made the game feel like a mix between Jet Grind Radio and Ratchet and Clank. With traversal being so important, I was worried I would have problems moving from one line to the next without falling, but each line has a stickiness to it, much like free running in Assassin’s Creed.

Insomniac is famous for their inventive weapons and Sunset Overdrive is no different. There are crazy weapons and traps that you earn like disc throwers, bomb launchers, and a firework gun. One trap had spinning blades that shot out when activated. All of these lend to the cartoonish style of the art design. The game is designed around fun and the art style echoes that feeling.

After playing the 10-minute co-op demo, I’m looking forward to checking out the game’s single-player mode and seeing if it can translate the frantic pace of Chaos Squad. I love how the game encourages the player to play with style. Insomniac Games created a unique combination of third-person shooter with Tony Hawk or SSX and unique is always something I can get behind. From what I played, they are off to a good start.

Sunset Overdrive is set to release exclusively for the Xbox One on October. 28, 2014

Sunset Overdrive