After All These Years, Sunset Overdrive Deserves An Improved Sequel

The epitome of fun right here, save for a few shortcomings.

Story Highlights

  • Sunset Overdrive is an action-adventure game from 2014, and a high-rated Xbox exclusive. 
  • The game has its strengths, and boasts one of the most fun-focused gameplay mechanics out there.
  • It’s not, by any means, perfect, however, but it would benefit greatly from a bigger, better sequel. 

Sunset Overdrive is on its way to becoming a relic if things keep going the way they are right now. Insomniac Games, whom you may recognize as the masterful creator behind the Marvel’s Spider-Man IP,  pushed this action-adventure out back in 2014, launching it to great fanfare as an Xbox exclusive, and rightfully so.

The title gets a lot of things right and it’s genuinely one of the most fun times I’ve had with my Xbox One back in the day, but I’ll speak my mind from the perspective of someone who’s unbiased as well in saying that Sunset Overdrive had its fair share of issues, with some of them sullying the whole experience more than what came across as passable. 

But the idea of this piece is realizing the potential of a Sunset Overdrive sequel in the right direction, even though the chances of one happening are pretty slim, but the demand, on the flip side, is super high. Starting with the humor, here’s everything that the game excels in, followed by its shortcomings that need a strict stricking out.  

It’s Going To Make You Laugh More Than Often 

Sunset Overdrive
Humor Is One Of the Games’ Strongest Suits | Source: Steam

Sunset Overdrive takes fair enough pride in its nonsensical humor that actually manages to amuse you quite a bit over the course of its single-player gameplay. You’ve got constant moments where in-game characters break the fourth wall — those are always fun to see — references to pop culture, weird character interactions, jokes—you name it. It’s actually impressive that the game is so focused on being fun in every way possible.  

Sunset overdrive a gem
byu/DinnerSmall4216 inxboxone

Even more so, the very weapons you fire in Sunset Overdrive have humor attached to their name, quite literally. You’ve got a gun in there that launches a teddy bear at your enemies. There’s another weapon that shoots vinyl discs, hilariously named Nothing But Hits.

YouTube video

Speaking of the enemies, though, the whole plot of the game is bananas as well. Some mega corpo makes an energy drink called Overcharge, with hundreds of thousands drinking it during its big reveal. 

Little do the poor and innocent drinkers know, OverCharge never underwent basic checking for upholding health standards, because said corpo got greedy and wanted to get the drink out to the world faster. Now, everyone who drank OverCharge turned into a mindless mutant, but that’s not all, FizzCo — the company that I keep referencing to — is hiding and deceiving further. 

In an attempt to save the fictional Sunset City, therefore, our protagonist, who’s a janitor, awakens his inner world-rescuer and takes it upon himself to do God’s work. That’s where this entire things takes off, and trust me, it gets better with time. Talk about improvisation on an ethereal level, random chance occurrences that feel well-executed, and a ton of exploration potential. 

And with that being said, let’s cast a lens on the gameplay aspect. 

Fluid Traversal, Ample Customization, Remarkable Art

Sunset Overdrive Boasts Incredible World Design | Source: Insomniac Games

One of the cornerstones of Sunset Overdrive’s gameplay is traversal. You, as the player, have to get around Sunset City by sliding, jumping, hopping, vaulting, dashing, and even ziplining your way around because almost everything in the in-game world can be utilized for maneuvering. It honestly gets real fun, especially after you acquire the Air Dash ability to add to your aerial movements. 

That’s when the magic happens. And quite fortuitously, this is where Insomniac would learn how to master a game’s movement because years later, the same studio would go on to work on one of the most famous video game franchises of all time, Marvel’s Spider-Man—something whose free-roam gameplay is praised across the globe.

Think of this game as ‘Insomniac practicing for Spiderman.’ The bones of what they would attempt to do in that game’s traversal systems are front and center here,” expresses one u/NoCoolNameMatt.

Character customization is fairly simple yet effective as well. You can trick out the protagonist in multiple ways, adding cool new outfits, headgear, and face paint to give them their unique identity. But then again, in a world overrun with roided-up crazies, you, as a normal human, stand out just fine anyway. 

how many of you played sunset overdrive? it is my favorite game of all time.
byu/chainsaw_man121 inXboxGamePass

But … There Are Pitfalls To This Adventure 

With all of the above said and done, Sunset Overdrive has attracted a lot of criticism for some of the things it falls short in, with mission design being one of them. Later rather than sooner, you will realize that the title is following a matching pattern with its mainline missions, one that gets repetitive fairly easily if you’re not trying to be creative yourself. To many, that’s a grave shortcoming.

And this next part is something I do not agree with: The rails system coupled with the constant bouncing on and bouncing off apparently didn’t hook quite a few players, but again, this boils down to subjective reasoning. 

Look, all I’m saying is that the game could use a sequel, one that’s a little more focused on keeping things together and not making any mission feel forced. After all, this is a game that makes you not want to fast travel, given how the traversal is so fun, but yes, Sunset Overdrive 2 in today’s day and age would be a killer, even if the first title couldn’t be a commercial success

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Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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