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E3 2014: Sunset Overdrive Hands-On Impressions: Goofy, Vibrant Fun

When it was unveiled at Microsoft’s press conference last year, Sunset Overdrive grabbed people’s attention with a wild, in your face attitude, crazy weapons, and a colorful, vibrant world. Sunset Overdrive was playable on the show floor this year, and I managed to get my hands on this anticipated Xbox One exclusive.

The portion of the game I played was Night Defense, a segment of the overall cooperative multiplayer experience titled Chaos Squad. Night Defense has you and 7 other players defending two canisters full of energy drinks from waves of mutants. The basic premise is simple enough, but the weapons you’re given and what you’re doing to traverse the environment makes Sunset Overdrive a bit different from your typical third person shooter.

Because this is Insomniac, it’s no shock that the weapons you’re utilizing are all ridiculous and outrageous. High Fidelity is an automatic weapon which shoots out vinyl records, TNTeddy throws out dynamite filled teddy bears, while the Captain Ahab launches out explosive spears that’s effective at taking out groups. Along with some fantastic names, all of the weapons were satisfying and powerful in their own right, making each weapon both viable and fun. Of course, I had an AK-47 and a shotgun at my disposal, but I opted to stick with some of the more creative weapons.

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Another marquee feature of Sunset Overdrive is its traversal. The level I played had tons of wires to grind on, with trampolines scattered throughout the floor to encourage jumping on rooftops. Unfortunately, in a demo where you’re rushed to kill as many mutants as possible, it was tough to get a handle on the traversal. Although shooting down baddies while grinding across rooftops sounds cool, being accurate is obviously a little tougher than when you’re on foot. Whenever you bounced on a trampoline, a stream of fire would shoot out in a wide circle, which was handy in taking out large clusters of mutants. There’s no doubt that being able to properly utilize the traversal mechanic will be an exciting facet of Sunset Overdrive, but it’s definitely something that you have to get used to.

As we approached some of the later waves, large hulking enemies called Hurkers began to appear, and these took a bit more firepower to take down. It looked like the freeze bomb was effective at dealing with the Hurkers, and coordinating with your teammates with the variety of weapons seems like the most efficient way to fell the huge beasts. As with any horde based multiplayer experience, you can lay down traps, like spinning blades that shred most enemies as they get near.

As expected, the game looks fantastic. The world is bursting with color, with mutants exploding into a cloud of orange and neon lights placed throughout the environment. Insomniac is known for creating some bright, vibrant worlds, and it looks like Sunset Overdrive is no different. Sunset Overdrive is slated to release on October 28th, 2014 exclusively for the Xbox One.



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