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Sunset Overdrive: Punk Rock and Teddy Bears

Company: Insomniac Games

Think really hard for a second. Whenís the last time you played a game that couldnít care less about how realistic or unrealistic it is? In this day and age of sophisticated interactive experiences, more and more developers have been gravitating towards making games into something more meaningful, "elevating" them past what the ignorant majority of non-gamers believe them to be. Donít get me wrong Ė I applaud the literary, aesthetic, and cultural ambitions of games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Gone Home, and To the Moon. But these games arenít necessarily out to put a smile on your face. Maybe this trend is why Iím so excited for Insomniacís upcoming Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive; itís about outrageous, colorful, completely unrealistic action.

Sunset Overdrive takes place in the year 2027, in the appropriately-enough named Sunset City. FizzCo, an absurdly powerful corporation, is having a party to celebrate the launch of Overcharge Delirium XT, their newest energy drink. Just one problem, though: the stuff is turning the partyís guests (and nearly everyone else) into bloodthirsty mutants Ė clever analog for Red Bull, Insomniac! Of course, being a stereotypical evil organization, FizzCo canít be bothered with the damage control, so they send one of their bottom feeders out to get sh*t done. That bottom feeder is you.

So youíre thrown out into the madness that Sunset City has so rapidly devolved into. But this is an Insomniac game; of course, youíve got the tools to bring the pain. Since Sunset Overdrive isnít due out for another month and a half, the complete arsenal of moves and weapons hasnít yet been divulged. But hereís what we know so far.

First off, your customizable character is almost as agile as the Pilots from Titanfall. So naturally, movement is key; thereís no cover system, and for good reason. The ODíd (as theyíre called) are legion, and if youíre caught on the ground for too long, youíre going to get killed. He/she can run on walls, grind and hang onto ziplines and powerlines, and launch into the air with reckless abandon.

Sunset City is littered with traps and opportunities for killing and staying mobile, and this is actually key to the gameplay, which is designed to remain fast and furious throughout. As you string together a variety of different kinds of kills while staying mobile, your Style Meter is increased. And as your Style Meter builds tier by tier, your Amps will activate. These modifiers come in different flavors: vanity, character, weapon, and epic. Vanity Amps are aesthetic in nature, Character Amps provide special abilities, Weapon Amps add a different layer of devastating functionality to your killing implements, Melee Amps add a new dimension to your most basic of attacks, and Epic Amps... well, let's just say that they live up to the title.

While Sunset Overdrive is designed mainly as a single-player experience, Insomniac has also developed an eight-player cooperative mode called Chaos Squad. In this aptly-named multiplayer diversion, you and up to seven other players team up to defend vats of Overcharge Delirium XT from waves upon waves of increasingly difficult ODíd. But thereís a competitive element at play, as well: style is key, and players who perform better in that regard will be rewarded.

As the holiday season approaches with its standard slew of annualized sequels, it's hard not to get extremely pumped for Sunset Overdrive. It looks to promise a much needed breath of fresh air as well as an enticing exclusive to flesh out the budding Xbox One library. So go get your pre-orders in and check back with us. October 28th is coming, so sit tight and think twice before purchasing energy drinks.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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