Why Sunset Overdrive Deserves More Hype Than it’s Getting

Forget all those big established franchises; there are plenty of reasons to want Sunset Overdrive even more.
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I’m well aware that the established IPs get all the attention.

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Sure, a lot of people want the new Halo and the new Uncharted. But if you’re interested in supporting new IPs, and you’d like a fresh take on the open-world sandbox formula (which is starting to feel a little “been there, done that”),  you need to be more hyped about Sunset Overdrive.

Of all the new games scheduled for this generation, I think Insomniac’s new title might top my “most anticipated” list. I’m not saying it’ll be the best game ever made, but I am saying it has a huge amount of potential, and it might end up feeling fresher and more dynamic than anything else out there.

A more streamlined, more immersive inFamous…?

I love inFamous. However, I will be the first to admit that Sucker Punch could’ve done more with Second Son, which, while still a blast to play, was lacking a little extra next-gen “oomph.” When I look at footage of Sunset Overdrive, I see things Sucker Punch could’ve done (or might do, in future inFamous entries), as Insomniac is stretching the mechanical boundaries.

It’s not just about climbing walls or flying around, as you can often do in the inFamous games; it’s about speed and momentum. It’s about combining the velocity of your travel with the deadliness of your attacks, and I honestly don’t think any developer has tried this before. If you watch the available media, you’re seeing a streamlined, ceaselessly entertaining style of gameplay that should keep us riveted for hours.

We’ve seen a lot of open-world games and we’re going to see a lot more. But I can’t point to anything that looks quite so promising – or quite so wonderfully madcap – as Sunset Overdrive.

Let’s not forget: This is Insomniac

Maybe Xbox fans don’t put enough weight on the developer’s name, just because Insomniac Games sided with Sony for several generations. But we should never forget that this is the same imaginative, immensely talented team that gave us Ratchet & Clank and Resistance, two franchises for which I have tremendous love and respect. Insomniac really doesn’t make any bad games (besides the somewhat lackluster Fuse) and when it comes to creative, colorful gameplay, these guys are champs.

If I were to entrust a new IP – and an exclusive one at that – to a developer, there are only a few teams I’d choose, and Insomniac would definitely be one of them. Now, they may not have had the best sales success with Resistance, but that’s really not their fault. The critics responded but the gamers didn’t and sometimes, that happens. Insomniac remains an elite design team, and one that deserves our attention.

Hey, a little color! Nice!

Has anyone else noticed that video games have gotten awfully drab and foreboding? Some of the biggest titles in recent memory have been decidedly dark and even twisted, and we’re even hearing that Uncharted 4 will be darker than previous entries. You know, there was a time when video games had a lot more cheerful color and lighthearted pizzazz. We lost some of that when the industry started to mature, and the bigger productions focused on catering to an older audience.

And that’s fine, but it’s almost like we’re starting to equate color with “kiddie” and that’s just depressing. What’s wrong with a little brightness? Since when are vibrant hues restricted to children? Yeah, there’s some shooting and violence in Sunset Overdrive; doesn’t mean it has to be dark and gritty. The difference in atmospheric style is one of the reasons why I think I’ll love Insomniac’s new game.

A little color, a lot of fluid, engaging, dynamic movement, a huge amount of promise and potential…that’s Sunset Overdrive, in my estimation.

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.