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.
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.