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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (494)

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A Hat in Time 3.5/5
Sunset Overdrive 4/5
The Vagrant 4/5
Honkai: Star Rail 3.5/5
MechWarrior 5: Mercenar... 4/5
Rage 2 3.5/5
Alan Wake 4/5
Riverbond 3.5/5
Dead Island 2 3.5/5
Saints Row IV 3.5/5
The Last of Us Part II 4.5/5
Torchlight III 3/5
Wolfenstein II: The New... 4/5
Ghost of Tsushima 4.5/5
Battletoads (2020) 2/5
Danganronpa: Trigger Ha... 4/5
Override: Mech City Bra... 3/5
Maneater 3/5
Door Kickers: Action Sq... 4/5
Spider-Man (2018) 4.5/5
Red Dead Redemption 2 4.5/5
Boot Hill Heroes 3.5/5
Control 4/5
Victor Vran 3/5
Katamari Damacy REROLL 4/5

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Sunset Overdrive   PC (Steam) 

Parkour TO THE MAX    4/5 stars

Even though Insomniac Games is widely known for their Sony/Playstation output - from Ratchet & Clank to the more recent and well-received Spider-Man games, in 2014 with the Xbox One badly in need of some truly standout exclusives, they struck a deal and Sunset Overdrive became one of the handful of games to be released solely on the system. It received mostly favorable reviews, sold decently and was (eventually) made available via PC/Steam and thus finally fell into my hands.

Looks and Stuff: Vibrant and loud - Sunset Overdrive is a bit on the cartoony side of things - but with a punk edge. Clearly inspired by Tony Hawk, Saints Row and, of course, Ratchet & Clank, the game certainly has some great aesthetics, along with a pumping soundtrack that features, I believe, mostly original songs but captures that Tony Hawk vibe. The voice acting is also well done and you can customize the main character (male or female) and the game gives you A LOT of options along the way as well. There are some big names in the voice acting world here including Yuri Lowenthal as the main male character (Stephanie Lemelin voice the female version) with Tara Platt, Laura Bailey, Fred Tatasciore and Brian Bloom among others. Whoever was in charge of casting did a bang-up job as I felt the voice acting was excellent and the side characters really do stand out. This is an open-world game and both the design of the city, along with the enemies, is also well done. You'll be doing a lot of fast movement - both horizontal and vertical - and the game does a good job on both, with towering skyscrapers and zig-zagging power lines/railings throughout the main areas of the game. The mutants you fight also come in different flavors from your typical swarming horde to more unique versions that can freeze you or even the occasional lumbering tank that's fun to take down. You also have your human scum who also come in different flavors and robots show up eventually too. Boss battles are never too hard but quite varied. While the game never had any major issues, the Steam version seems to have an annoying bug that pops up a warning message about corrupted saves (even when you just start and don't even have a save) - it's not corrupted, and I'm sure there's some kind of fix, so I just ignored it every time.

Story: In this universe FizzCo is like Pepsi, Amazon, Monster and Tesla all rolled into one corporate behemoth that dominates all - and at the start of the game they are holding a huge concert to celebrate the release of their latest energy drink Overcharge Delirium XT. Too bad your character is a lowly clean-up crew - but not too bad because it turns out a major side effect of drinking Overcharge is to turn into a mutant. Managing to escape the chaos, you return home when you realize that hunkering down will only get you so far, exit to find a city overrun with mutants but with a handful of survivors trying to holdout around the city. This includes a survivalist who just wants to escape, a group of preppies, a scout troop who follow the way of the samurai, a band of VERY serious larpers and some badass cheerleaders who favor Day of the Dead looks while protecting some sick children. You also have a few special people - scientist/inventor/weirdo Floyd - who amps you up with upgrades, Two-Hat Jack, the resident merchant who will sell you guns and such and Buck National - a fervent fan of the second amendment who wants to make a ton of money out of showcasing you killing mutants via live stream. Also, there's a live-action version of Brandon Winfrey giving you advice on TV screens around the various levels who also makes a hilarious DLC appearance as a boss battle "evil" version that's actually pretty fun.

After the fiasco, FizzCo locks down the city and you soon learn that escape will not be an easy option - especially when they start sending in killer robots to go along with the the murderous mutants. But that's not the worst of it, it turns out that FizzCo has a huge stash of Overdrive waiting to be delivered world-wide via automated drones - and if you can't help and unite the various factions, Sunset City won't be the only place you'll find mutants running amok.

Gameplay: The game is an open-world sandbox that relies on a series of parkour moves to traverse - grinding rails, bounding off various things, under-grinding power lines, wall-running and flipping off bars - and chaining said moves together for a hefty bonus to damage. Like Ratchet & Clank before it, Insomniac also provides a wide range of weapons - from typical pistols, assault rifles and shotguns to more unique offerings like a flaming bowling ball, various explosives an acid-spewing sprinkler and even a little homing drone. Each weapon can be upgraded as you go along though it does seem to take a long time and effort to reach the top. Alongside your weapons, you can equip Amps - these add abilities, such as adding fire to your rail grinds or bounces, weapon effects (such as exploding enemies) and special Hero Amps that add various effects (more damage while in the air, enemy melee knockback plus damage). Some amps can be purchased others require you to seek out the collectibles scattered about - stinky shoes hanging from power lines, neon signs along the side of buildings, security cameras you have to destroy and balloons floating about.

The game offers plenty of challenges scattered all around from testing your parkour skills to using various weapons to their fullest extent to Buck National and his game show - there is plenty to do. Side quests have some fun characters, but they do tend to get a bit repetitive over time - and even most of the main faction quests follow a similar pattern. It's the biggest letdown of the game but it still keeps you amped up for most of the time and the unique boss battles certainly help. The DLC adds some new areas and challenges and is worth playing as well.

Replay value: While the game itself doesn't offer a lot of replay, there is a lot you can do in the open world from leveling up weapons to challenges to collectibles so don't worry about going back - just stick around longer if you like.

Final Verdict: If you like fast-paced gameplay and don't mind the sometimes cringey comedy, Sunset Overdrive offers plenty of bang for for your bucks (but better if discounted).

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replay: 1/5
Overall (not an average): 4/5

 

 


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