Why Sunset Overdrive Deserves a Second Look

This Xbox Exclusive Takes a Unique Take on Apocalypse, Unlike Anything Seen Before.

Sunset Overdrive deserves your attention
Sunset Overdrive Deserves Your Attention

This has been a settled debate that Playstation or Sony-exclusive games have been better. Off the top of my head, I can name several PS exclusives, including Last of Us, Uncharted, Ghost of Tsushima, and God of War. However, when I think about Microsoft or Xbox exclusives, only a few names come to mind.

The hugely popular Halo franchise and the Forza Horizon franchise. Considering the current state of Halo you can say that only Forza remains the last surviving member. However, there was another Microsoft exclusive that is now getting lost in time. The highly underrated Sunset Overdrive, developed by Insomniac Games, is such an Xbox exclusive.

Key Takeaways
  • Sunset Overdrive offers a refreshing take on the apocalypse, filled with humor and a vibrant, cartoonish aesthetic.
  • Forget cars, grinding is the core mechanic, making traversal fast, fluid, and full of creative possibilities.
  • Grinding integrates seamlessly with combat, encouraging stylish takedowns and acrobatic maneuvers.
  • A wacky arsenal of weapons and Amps lets you customize your character and approach situations in creative ways.

Sunset Overdrive, released in 2014, remains a cult classic. Overshadowed by bigger releases and perhaps misunderstood at launch, this vibrant, chaotic gem deserves a second look.

Apocalypse Is Fun

One of the first things players will notice is the unique setting of Sunset Overdrive. The apocalypse isn’t anything how players are used to seeing the apocalypse. Even the cartoony and bright graphics are also opposite of the grim graphics of most apocalypse games.

Unique Set Pieces
Unique Set Pieces

Sunset Overdrive doesn’t take itself too seriously. The apocalypse, in this case, is a sticky, sugary one. A mutated energy drink called Overcharge Deluxe has transformed the populace into grotesque mutants called OD.

The city, once a bustling metropolis, is now a twisted playground littered with mutated vending machines, rivers of fizzy pop, and neon-drenched buildings.

The OD Mutants
The OD Mutants

Even the characters don’t take the end of the world seriously, which is sort of a refreshing take. There’s no brooding hero or gritty struggle for survival. Instead, you’re a survivor with a knack for stylish and clever violence. The world is just really bright and full of colors that add to the colorful combat mechanics of the game.

Plus, the game features a super fun soundtrack, with original songs created for the game along with some old rock hits. This soundtrack is a perfect mixture of punk and rock which just makes doing anything in this world exciting.

The Incredible Traversal Mechanics

Grinding Across City
Grinding Across City

Now let’s talk about the huge elephant in the room, the traversal mechanics from this game. Let me say this first, this game has some of the most and one of my favorite traversal mechanics. What that means is that going from point A to point B in the city is more fun than it should be.

Traversal has become a huge part of gameplay and developers are finding creative ways to implement it. Think Assasin’s Creed and its popular parkour mechanics, Ubisoft is the pioneer of this style and it makes traveling around the city fun.

This also reminds me of hugely satisfying traversal mechanics from the recent Spiderman games.

Going Across Zipline
Going Across Zipline

These mechanics make even just traveling across your world super fun and in Sunset Overdrive it is the entire backbone of the game. Sunset Overdrive’s traversal mechanics are nothing short of revolutionary.

Forget horses or boring old cars. You grind (Think in terms of Skateboard terms). Grind on buildings, power lines, railings, anything you can latch onto.

You can grind on top like you are riding a skateboard or latch onto a cable like you are going across a zip line. Grinding is fast, fluid, and endlessly satisfying. The world is designed to encourage this movement style, with ramps, grind rails, and cleverly placed objects creating a network of interconnected pathways.

Killing Mutant While Grinding
Killing Mutant While Grinding

It’s a constant flow, a ballet of acrobatics and momentum, making exploration a joy in itself. This focus on grinding opens up a whole new dimension of combat.

You can grind onto enemies, bouncing off their heads for a stylish takedown. Chaining grinds together allows you to build up momentum for devastating attacks.

The open world in Sunset Overdrive is designed like a huge skateboard park which outside of the Tony Hawk games is a unique feat.

Huge Array of Weapon Types and Amps


Like the unique setting of this game, this game features some of the most unique weapons I have ever played with. These weapons are hilarious and destructive, and cleverly designed to be used in certain situations.

Forget your standard assault rifles and shotguns. We’re talking about the TNT Teddy, a teddy bear stuffed with explosives. Or the Overcharge Shotty, which fires bouncing soda cans. Even if that isn’t enough, we have the appropriately named Compensator, which is a shotgun that shoots fire.

Epic Amps
Epic Amps

Each weapon feels unique and satisfying to use, encouraging experimentation and strategic application. However, the combat mechanics also feature powerful Amps. These upgrades modify your character and weapons in outrageous ways. Imagine grinding on a power line and leaving a trail of fire behind you that burns the enemy.

Chase the Sunset

Sunset Overdrive is a game that thrives on its absurdity. It’s a world where style matters as much as substance, where creativity is rewarded, and where the apocalypse is one giant playground. So, if you haven’t played Sunset Overdrive yet, or if it slipped through your fingers at launch, do yourself a favor and give it a second look. You might just discover a hidden gem,

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