I think that the majority of games are ‘fun’, in a conventional sense. Cod? Fun, FIFA? Fun, Left 4 Dead? FUN. But I think it’s difficult for a game to be fun, fun. Ya’ know what I mean? No? Well, I mean fun as in playing in a ball pit or bouncing on a bouncy castle. That sort of no holds barred, off the wall, full of energy, high-octane fun. The sort of fun that makes time fly, the sort of fun that leaves a gigantic smile on your face. That’s the sort of fun that’s hard to come by, especially in video-games. Sunset Overdrive, however, is the definition of that sort of fun, and here’s a few reasons why.
The way you traverse the map
The thing that’s most fun about Sunset Overdrive is the way in which you get around the game world. Never before have I played a game where running around on the ground is actually boring. That’s because it has taken the conventional way of travel, and flipped it on its head. It’s so simple to zip, slide, jump and grind around the city and you can pretty much get from one side of the map to the other without ever touching the floor. The way you move around the world on Sunset Overdrive is like Mirror’s Edge on LSD, and that really is a good thing. Most of the time I’ve enjoyed getting to the mission as much as the mission itself, which is a rarity for an open-world game.
I think that this is the first game that I’ve ever played where I’ve actually enjoyed dying. It’s actually got to the point where I’m intentionally killing myself, because the re-spawn is that good. Instead of having a boring old load screen, or a slow-motion death animation like on GTA V, and then starting from an earlier checkpoint, Sunset Overdrive brings you right back into the action; but with a twist. There are a variety of different ways to re-enter the world, from slamming to the ground in a one -man rocket, to climbing out of a TV like the girl from The Ring. Sunset Overdrive doesn’t seem to have a serious bone in its body, and that’s really encapsulated in these mini-animations. They’ll put a massive smile on your face, which is exactly what you want before re-attempting a part of the mission that has just defeated you.
Humour is the key to Sunset Overdrive, because it helps to make the unbelievable, believable. Nothing is realistic in this game, but they’re constantly taking the piss out of that fact. For instance, there’s an ‘Announcer’ in the game who helps to guide you through things like upgrading your character, or changing your weapons. The whole time your character will make references to where the voice is coming from, or the fact that it’s kind of like a video-game, but all the while he or she is just detached enough that the whole thing feels kind of believable. Stupid weapons have a place because the character’s openly mock them. The occasional repetitive task doesn’t feel quite so repetitive because, you’ve got it, the characters are constantly taking the piss. The humour helps to ground the game so that you can sit back, have fun, and smile whilst you’re doing it. I think that, without this sense of humour, it would have felt like Sunset Overdrive was taking itself far too seriously, and that’s clearly not what the game is about.
I didn’t want to waffle on with this article, I wanted it to be sharp, snappy and to the point – much like Sunset Overdrive. I’ve omitted the combat, for instance, which is incredibly satisfying. Nor have I really talked about the characters and the fantastic performances by the voice-actors as well as the writing. Still, the references are what really stand out for me. I’ve not played the game for very long (just three or four hours so far), but I’ve already spotted references to Breaking Bad, The Ring, and (bizarrely enough) Sunset Overdrive itself. I know for sure that there are more dotted around the game, and that really pushes me on to play and explore further.
It’s not often that you get a game like Sunset Overdrive. To be honest, it’s difficult to ex plain exactly how much fun it is. If you’re in to sarcastic, silly, over the top and hilarious games, then you’ll probably love Sunset Overdrive. Just play it, and I bet you’ll have a smile plastered over your face for the entire experience. Still, I’m kind of wondering how long this fun can last. I’m concerned that it could get a bit repetitive and that, once I’m over the honeymoon stage, those cute, funny little quirks might get a bit annoying. I’m also wondering how long the game can last as a whole. These sorts of games, for me at least, usually last a few weeks where I’ll play them intensely, then forget about them when I’m done. I’m hoping that Sunset Overdrive could stick around for some time, however. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.