LTTP: Sunset Overdrive

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LTTP or ‘late to the party’ pieces are opportunities for me to catch up and write about games I missed out on the first time around. They may contain spoilers.

I flip flopped on Sunset Overdrive prior to its release. I groaned at their E3 2014 trailer but then saw past the attitude laden douche and pre-ordered it during FutureShop’s E3 promotion. But as launch day approached, I cold feet and returned it. A couple of months later, as Boxing Day 2014 was happening, I saw it for $25 and couldn’t refuse.

I played Sunset Overdrive as a spunky Asian lady because I wanted to distance myself from the marketing. To my surprise, it worked out. She was actually a likeable character. I gave her an orange, yellow and red themed outfit and even though I unlocked additional wardrobe options, I kept up with theme and it eventually grew to define Sunset Overdrive’s heroine. If they make another game, I hope to continue her adventures.

If Infamous was a serious spin on an original superhero game, then Sunset Overdrive was the goofy take. I’m not a Deadpool expert but the tone of Sunset Overdrive reminded me of Marvel’s fourth wall breaking anti-hero. The protagonist often recognized she was in a video game. The references ranged from subtle knocking back of the third person camera to her speaking with the tutorial’s narrator. I found it endearing albeit cheeky as well.

Acknowledging that this was a video game and not a “video game pretending to be something else” gave Insomniac carte blanche on their hero’s abilities. She was able to endlessly grind on powerlines, building ledges and other similar surfaces. She was also given the ability to bounce ludicrously high off certain objects, wall run to her heart’s content, air dash and slide across water. It was easily the best traversal options introduced into an Insomniac game but I would go further and say it was the best traversal of any open world game.

 

I didn’t hit the ground running though. It took me a half hour or so to I acclimatize to the mechanics but once I unlocked all the options: everything clicked. I thoroughly enjoyed getting around the city and collected all the junk that was strewn throughout. I haven’t been this impressed by a game’s traversal mechanics since the original Infamous.

Stringing together the different traversal moves kept me off the ground. There were survivability benefits for being up high but being in constant motion was more important. I was able to dodge and survive huge swathes of mutants when I was moving about. Insomniac’s effort to distance itself from modern military shooters was in full effect but what made this game distinctly Insomniac were the array of weapons at my disposal. Creative weapons shooting fireworks, exploding stuffed animals and the summoning of tornadoes and lightning strikes were distinctly Insomniac. I’ve seen variations of these weapons throughout the years but I still enjoyed the whimsical spins Insomniac bestowed on these otherwise normal cast of weapons.

I wasn’t a fan of the upgrade system or the surrounding song and dance that I had to perform to unlock more upgrades. Usage based leveling I can accept but they added an additional layer to the mix that I didn’t care for. I dreaded having to navigate the cluttered and clunky menus. I dreaded having to defend another Overcharge vat by playing another solo horde mode mission. The traps weren’t fun to use because I never get to see them in action since I’m scurrying between different attack points and not paying attention to the different traps that I’ve deployed. By the end, I had more success using my own deployable weapons.

Binding the chaos and movement was a style meter. The more traversal moves and kills that I strung together, the more style points I received. More style equated to added attack powers but it also added music. If I wasn’t playing stylishly, Sunset Overdrive was aurally vapid. I liked the idea behind it but I wished the baseline wasn’t silence — maybe something low key — but not silence.

I was wowed by the boss battles in Sunset Overdrive. Open world titles that take advantage of the fact that they’re in large sprawling spaces are aces in my book. Boss fights can be more than bouts in restricted areas. It was refreshing to see that I was asked to employ my traversal skill sets and navigate a sizeable chunk of the city while combatting a giant angry dragon.

I don’t know why Insomniac decided to use energy drinks as their source of mutation. I don’t know why they decided to be so “in your face” with the game’s marketing. I am certain that they did it all to be unique and while some of Sunset Overdrive may have fallen flat there was a lot to it that I enjoyed as well. It’s certainly one of the highlight titles in Insomniac Games’ history though.

Verdict:
I like it

Ratings Guide

Checkpoint: Not So Rosy Tinted Glasses Edition

I finally crossed off The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past from my list of gaming omissions. I didn’t like it very much. It was okay at best and annoying to play at the worst. I caved and used the Virtual Console’s save state to mitigate the annoyances. The source of frustration was Link’s inability to reliably attack or defend in eight directions. I didn’t like how enemies were able to attack Link from an angle where he couldn’t retaliate from. It’s not the game’s fault though; I’m just too used to games where you can move and attack more freely. Remember: I played games like Phantom Hourglass and A Link Between Worlds first.

I have other gripes against the game but I’ll leave them to a proper review.

With A Link to the Past done, I’m finally spending time with my Xbox One. I use that thing so infrequently that it’s gotten to the point where every time that it’s turned on, I have an update to install. Hopefully that will change now that I decided to crack open Sunset Overdrive.

Savestate: Cancelled Sunset

Sunset Overdrive

I cancelled my copy of Sunset: Overdrive after much humming and hawing. I didn’t think it looked like my kind of game but then an Xbox One suddenly entered my life and I thought I needed a title or two to justify owning the console.

I wasn’t planning to own an Xbox One until Quantum Break and/or Halo 5: Guardians made their debuts. With that in mind, I pulled the trigger on Forza Horizon 2 and Sunset Overdrive during this year’s E3 sale. As release dates for both titles approached, I returned one and cancelled the other. I’ll wait for the $30 price point.

I cancelled Sunset Overdrive’s pre-order for a handful of reasons. Part of it was the less than stellar impressions from personalities that I trust. Then there was the fact that I’m in a great place with a trio of titles including FIFA 15, Diablo III and Wasteland 2. But the biggest factor was the fact that the Umbra Witch was arriving tomorrow and I didn’t know when I was going to get around to Sunset Overdrive.

Re: ASUSWRT-Merlin Custom Firmware

I spent just over a week with Merlin’s firmware and it’s been rock stable thus far. Also, if my Macbook Air’s readings are correct, I’m getting a slight bump in wireless strength. I was expecting stability but not an improvement with wireless range.

More time with this firmware is needed obviously but first impressions are positive.

Re: iPad Air 2’s Tri-core CPU & 2GB RAM

It looks like the iPad Air 2’s performance is better than I’d hoped. That’s nice but the real star of the show is the 2GB of RAM.

Finally.

Unfortunately the battery is smaller than the first iPad Air and thus full tilt performance will likely drain the battery quicker. C’mon Apple, did you really need to shave off that 1.4 mm? Couldn’t you use that space for a wee bit more battery?

Thought of the Week

“If we move right we could dance all night. No money in the bank but the bank don’t bite. C’mon!”

– Slaptop’s Sunrise

E3 2014 Day 0 Impressions

posted in: Game News 0

E3 2014 started with a huge deal for me. If all goes well, I’m getting an Xbox One for $279 ($110 off). Actually two.

I was planning to pick up an Xbox One in 2015 but those plans were accelerated just a few hours before Microsoft’s E3 2014 press conference. And with a possible early arrival of the Xbox One, I needed some games!

Without further ado, here are some of the games that I will likely pick up.

Microsoft E3 2014 Press Conference Highlights

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2014
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

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