Review: Sunset Overdrive review and mini-XBone rant
This Xbox one dashboard/snap app thing is infuriating
Sunset Overdive is an Xbox One exclusive game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Microsoft Studios. So a third party developer published as a first party exclusive, does that make it 2nd party? What is a 2nd party, is there such a thing? Whatever.
I had a code for the digital edition, so I entered it and the XBone began the download. A few minutes later the "ready to start" message popped up, though the game was only 5% downloaded. Ain't next-gen great? I jumped in immediately because I've never tested this quick-start feature before and was curious. I was thrown into the games opening cinema and then given a few quick tutorials. This was your standard, "here's how to roll, now you try it, good, next here's how to jump..." tutorial stuff. Eventually you're trained to melee the zombies (the "OD" as the game calls them) then given your first gun and taught to shoot them. Most importantly, they teach you how to rail grind. This is the games main mechanic, you can grind over or hang under rails/wires/etc to move about faster much like the hook from Bioshock Infinite or the much better rail grinding from inFamous. Finally the tutorial gives you free control as you have to kill a bunch of enemies and fight a mini-boss. Once I completed this demo (about 10 minutes) I was greeted with a screen that said "please wait for the game to finish installing". Oh... well see you in a few hours then. :(
Once into the main game, you are quickly introduced to the main base and NPC characters that give out missions and upgrades. You're given another type of gun and begin the next mission which is another tutorial, this one about upgrades and how you get style points for grinding rails. The game makes a bunch of 4th-wall breaking jokes ("If I was in a video game, I'd just go to a menu".) while teaching you that the floor is basically lava and you need to stay up top and grind and shoot. While I don't mind games that don't take themselves too seriously (see: Borderlands), these jokes made me groan out loud. Most arenas that you'll need to fight through are surrounded by wires or rails so you just skate around in a big circle while shooting down at the enemies without thinking too much.
I tried to stream this part and there should be a video here, but something between the Xbox One dashboard, snapped Twitch app, and Twitch itself went wrong. I'm not sure how, the twitch app was snapped to the side the whole time and said I was live, I updated the broadcast title via the app, but twitch has no record of that even though the broadcast title was updated on my channel, and of course nothing shows up in my past broadcasts for video content so... bear with me while just type this out instead.
Eventually I got to the part of the game where they introduced multiplayer. I jumped right in (thinking I was streaming) and played a mission or two. It was a six-man co-op style versus various enemies from the game. They seemed super short and pointless, so I tried to get back out to the main game. Hmm... I couldn't figure out how to do it, and the next mission was starting. Oh well, I'll do one more. Same thing. One more. Same thing. Ugh. Finally, it threw the group of us into a tower defense type mission (one I recognized from the second tutorial). Wait, this whole thing was one long mission? That's why I couldn't exit? That wasn't well messaged, and regardless, I'd still like a way to quit short of shutting off the Xbone. The multiplayer felt shoe-horned in there so they could say they have it on the back of the box as a selling point. It's not necessary and ends up taking away from the main game.
There's a lot of repetition here, and most of it is nothing you haven't seen before. I like the art style and the general concept, I just don't think it came together that well and I didn't have too much FUN playing it. So I can't recommend this to you. If this looks like your type of thing, I'd recommend playing inFamous (PS3/PS4) first, it's a much better game with similar style and mechanics. If you've played that already and are thinking of picking this up because you want a similar experience on your Xbone, don't expect it to live up to your expectations.
Verdict: Flush It
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