April Video Game Challenge Progress Report: Sunset Overdrive

Every game has its place and serves its purpose. Sometimes, you want a game with a really great story, an experience to not only play through but to step into their shoes and live through everything from their vantage point. Other times, you want a game that is mindless fun with little to no story. Your main objective is to get crazy and enjoy at all costs. Sunset Overdrive is a game I’d categorize as mindless fun, and it’s time you all find out how my experience with the game went.

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The story of the game is really simple––play as the unlikely hero/heroine in a post-apocalyptic city and work with other survivors to get out of this godforsaken joint. April has been quite the busy month for me and I needed a game where I didn’t have to take the time to soak up the story and its characters at length. Games like Dragon Age: Inquisition are like a fine wine, when the characters and story are so good, you want to savor each moment until the very last drop.

Sunset Overdrive gave me the ability to jump into the game, complete a certain amount of missions I have time for on any given day, and then leave it until the next day or weekend I can do more missions. When there isn’t an actual story to be fully invested in, I’m able to focus on completing the main campaign. Inquisition makes it difficult for me to just do the main story missions and leave out the side quests. Or not doing any bit of exploring to appreciate the depth and scope of the world the developers built. As fun and graphically pleasing Sunset Overdrive is, I stuck with the main missions and did very little exploration around Sunset City.

The best parts about Sunset Overdrive are the gameplay and cast of characters you meet. When you first start the game, you’re able to customize your character however you want them to look. The game’s character creation and customizing options are one of the best I’ve played around with. Naturally, I wanted my playable character to be female and my inner fashionista got excited by the amount of clothing and accessory options I got to choose from. Once I was satisfied with my character, I was grinding and ziplining my way through the game.

You’re encouraged to use every ability your character has available to them as you gradually unlock new ones. You acquire crazy looking but useful weapons, which you can test run on a bunch of OverCharge Drinkers or ODs to see which feels best for you. My personal favorite weapon from the game is  the TnTeddy. It’s pretty much a rocket launcher with a cute teddy bear attached to it. The weapon has a lot of fire power and does a massive amount of damage to enemies on contact. Nothing beats launching a seemingly harmless stuffed bear at an enemy and then have it explode in a cloud of fire and smoke. Cute and deadly, just how I like it. There are plenty of other weapons in the game with their own unique set of characteristics, but I’ve either spent less time on using them or haven’t bought every weapon in Two Hat Jack’s inventory.

As a platformer and open world kind of game, Sunset City literally becomes your playground. Grinding on rails, bouncing from one building to the next in a single bound, ziplining along telephone wires, and parkouring over walls are the skill sets you have to create a winning combination to avoid enemies or use them to your advantage to take out enemies. The game does give you a good amount of freedom for you to decide how you want to execute these moves.

The people your character meets along the way are about as weird, crazy, or both as you can imagine. Think of these other citizens of Sunset City, and not the Scabs or ODs out to kill you, as an island of misfit toys––you may be different and don’t exactly fit in anywhere but they’re reliable in their own way and will help you out in a pinch. At least until you do something for them first. It’s a “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of a policy. One of my favorite characters from the game would have to be Esperanza, leader of the Las Catrinas cheerleaders. If you think these cheerleaders are beautiful but airheaded, you’d be wrong in that assessment. With their faces painted in Day of the Dead makeup and carrying around a big bat, these ladies are intimidating and they hit super hard. Esperanza is a serious, no nonsense cheerleader who has a heart of gold, as her main concern is caring for the sick kids in the hospital they’re holed up in. Your meeting with Esperanza comes late in the game and is a little too short for my tastes, but she leaves an unforgettable impression.

Even with my poor platformer gaming skills, I’ve miraculously finished the entire game. The most difficulty I encountered with some of the missions included scaling the tallest buildings to get to the top or timing jumps to get to the next platform. Missions involving this level of skill and competency took me more redos than I can count. I did often get angry and cursed my TV when I got really close to tackling these specific hurdles only to fail by one dumb slip up. Knowing I was close and capable of doing it, I kept repeating these parts of the missions until I finally achieved success. Luckily for me, I always did.

Persistence and determination has served me well in the real world and apparently it works when you apply it to playing video games that aren’t exactly a walk in the park. One of my least favorite missions from Sunset Overdrive involved roasting a certain amount of pigeons in a timed mission. This required using timed jumps on traps your character bounces on to activate piping hot flames to flambe these pigeons as dinner for one delusional cosplaying, RPG loving king. A lot of the requests you’ll get in this game are strange, but so is the rest of the game. Just go with it. This is probably one of the few missions I had where I thought I’d be forever stuck on it and not be able to move forward with the game. Luck was on my side.

Sunset Overdrive is a colorful, wild game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has gameplay that’s fun and inventive enough to offer something different we haven’t quite seen in the platformer genre. Story takes a backseat in this game, but who really cares when you’re having too much fun grinding on rails while shooting at ODs, or bouncing off buildings as if you’re on a trampoline? Fun is your main goal in this game and I had it in spades.

Want to know what I’ll be playing in May? You know the drill, check back next week with my next video game challenge.

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11 thoughts on “April Video Game Challenge Progress Report: Sunset Overdrive

  1. This sounds really fun! I’ve been wanting to play it, it’s actually one of the reasons I got an Xbox One. Kind of waiting until I have time to play it before I buy it. I love that you can create a female avatar, too! I didn’t realize that was a possibility. Also, it’s funny to hear you talk about your platforming skills (or lack thereof) because I’m the same way. I’m replaying DmC Devil May Cry right now, which has a ton of platforming — I remember really struggling the first time I played and this time is not too different. Lots of silly falls!

    1. Yeah, I didn’t know you can play as a female avatar either until I tested the game out when it was free to try for 24 hours on Xbox One! I definitely fell in love with the character I created and I found myself quickly addicted to finishing mission after mission once I started going! The platforming aspect in this game isn’t too bad, but it does require a lot of patience. I think you’ll like it when you have the chance to play. 🙂

  2. This…sounds like something I’d like to try now. Sounds like a good mix platforming silliness and third-person antics. I’m also happy to hear that Insomniac appears to be undergoing a return to form with their characters. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to hearing about May’s game!

    1. Yeah, I’d recommend playing it, especially if you’re a fan of the platforming genre! The characters really are insane, but in a good way. I certainly loved the humor in it, which made playing the game really fun to dive into.

  3. Sounds like you had a pretty good time. 🙂 Sunset Overdrive was the last Gamefly game we rented, and I never had enough time to really get into it. Hope to fix that at some point as it was pretty fun for the short time I played it.

    Can’t wait to hear what game is next on your plate!

    1. Definitely grab a copy and finish it all the way through! After going through each mission, I was pretty excited to see who I’d encounter next and what crazy mission my character would be sent on. It’s truly a blast for sure. 🙂

  4. Ugh, you’re so right about that pigeon mission.

    For as much as I love the game, that mission was more of a chore to finish than anything else.

    Congrats on finishing the game and enjoying the ride along the way!

    1. What’s unfortunate about the pigeon mission is that those fire traps are really the only way you can roast the minimum amount of pigeons under the time constraint quicker. They do give you the option of shooting the pigeons out of the sky, but that really doesn’t do much. Out of all the missions in the game, that’s probably the only one I was glad to steer clear of once I completed it.

      But thank you! I really did enjoy my run with the game!

      1. Yeah, and I don’t know if you noticed but at least one of the challenge missions involves roasting pigeons as well. Needless to say, I haven’t and probably won’t be attempting to “Gold” that one…

      2. I actually didn’t notice because I haven’t taken a stab at any of the challenges. But if I do, that’s definitely one I won’t be playing. Ever! I’ve had my fill of enough pigeons to last me a lifetime.

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