The Sunset Overdrive reviews are now flooding in like a tidal wave of Overcharge Delirium XT, and for the most part they are highly positive. I reviewed the game for Entertainment Buddha and found it to be quite enjoyable, giving it a 90 out of 100, which isn’t too far off from its aggregated score on Metacritic. It’s clear that Sunset Overdrive is a game worth checking out, but it can definitely be enhanced if you wholeheartedly embrace the zany world and its colorful cast, as well as the unique traversal-based gameplay that sets this game apart from other open-world shooters. Below you’ll find five tips for squeezing every ounce of fun out of Sunset Overdrive’s meaty content to ensure that you too can fully enjoy Insomniac Games’ Xbox One exclusive.
1. Master the traversal controls and mechanics early
Sunset Overdrive’s gameplay is unlike anything you’ve ever played thanks to its focus on traversing the city using environments suited for bouncing, grinding, and wall running. This is not a shooter that rewards you for being a fast-twitch master of the controller, but it will reward you for killing in style. To do so you have to master the traversal-based gameplay early on in the game to take advantage of the style meter and the environment that is designed to promote a non-standard approach to the crowded open-world shooter genre. If you find yourself battling mutants, scabs, and Fizzco bots on the ground you will die and die often, which is kind of cool thanks to the game’s random respawn animations, but not that cool because you keep getting your ass kicked.
For any chance of success you must fight from the sky by grinding on the various rails placed throughout Sunset City while also using objects like cars and awnings to bounce to new heights to continue building the style meter. By filling the style meter you can then unleash devastating attacks due to the amps you can equip to your weapons and person, which increase your attacks and offer additional bonuses. Once you master the traversal-based gameplay, which does take a bit of practice at first, you will begin to see the brilliance behind Insomniac Games’ design. To help get efficient with the grinding, bouncing, and zipping techniques that get you around the city and help you to blast hordes of baddies, it’s recommended to work through some of the Challenge Missions that are designed to test your traversal abilities under pressure. These events really help to get the controls down while under duress, which is key to being successful with some of the later missions that require precise traversal maneuvers combined with deadly accuracy to be successful.
2. Never stop moving
This tip plays into the first one perfectly. Again, Sunset Overdrive is not your traditional open-world shooter. Fighting on the ground becomes both boring and very challenging, so much so that Insomniac has clearly setup all encounters to punish players who choose to ignore the traversal aspects of the game. Fighting from the ground only ensures death, so embrace the sky and get used to doing your dirty work while grinding on rails high above the action. Don’t just ride the rails like a train car either! The only way to build up the style meter to unleash more powerful attacks is to keep moving by bouncing to new heights, switching between hanging on rails and riding them, and constantly jumping between other rails and items to bounce on to keep your style meter happy. The hordes of mutants, scabs, and Fizzco bots will fall in droves on the streets of Sunset City if you keep to the sky and do so with enough flair to make an X-Games participant jealous of your nasty tricks and abilities.
3. Upgrade Overdrives and Weapons
Overdrives are passive abilities that unlock when you perform certain actions masterfully. For example, if you become proficient with grinding and use it extensively, you will unlock Overdrives that provide buffs for grinding that can increase your style meter more quickly. If you take a liking to murdering mutants you can enhance the damage you levy on them, as well as upping your defense against their attacks. In total you can equip six Overdrives, so there’s potential to create a very powerful hero if you pay attention to unlocking and upgrading them over the course of the game.
Weapons can also be leveled up, which in turn allows amps to be installed on them that open up more devastating attacks. These attacks are unlocked with the style meter, which reinforces the importance of tips one and two. Each weapon can be leveled up five times, and the only way to level them up is by using them in combat, so you should try to switch between weapons as often as possible to keep your arsenal upgraded and ready for the later missions in the game that can get a bit hectic.
4. Don’t forget to check-in with Two-Hat Jack and Callista after missions
Two-hat Jack is the game’s weapons dealer, and considering some of the weapons are named “The Dude” and “The Roman Candle”, you’ll want to keep checking his wares after you complete missions. His stock will continue to grow overtime, and some of the weapons he offers you are major game changers. For example, the Laser rifle is devastating against Fizzco bots, but The Roman Candle does better against mutants, so you can’t just rely on one weapon to give you an advantage over the evil forces trying to take you out. You must experiment with the available weapons to see which factions they work better on, so there’s a need to build the biggest arsenal possible.
Callista is the game’s clothing vendor, so she can allow you to style your hero in anyway demented way you see fit. Outfitting your character with insane costumes may not give you an advantage in terms of gameplay, but some of the zany styles help to give your character his/her own look and style, which helps to give the game’s cutscenes and scripted action a bit of personality. Some of the costumes are absolutely ridiculous, and the combinations you can come up with will make your Saints Row character jealous. I opted for a chainmail shirt, no pants, white boots, a Darth Maul inspired face paint job, welding goggles, a cape, panda bear claws, and a Samurai helmet to give my hero a very eclectic feel that you’d probably expect to see in a mental asylum patient lobby. Both the costumes and weapons definitely give Sunset Overdrive a sense of style, so make sure to take advantage of the items you can buy from Two-Hat and Callista as often as possible.
5. Focus your collectibles effort on Fizzie balloons, toilet paper rolls, shoes, security cameras, and Overcharge Hologram signs
Sunset Overdrive has a ton of items for you to collect, but the ones above can be traded in for new amps. Amps are used to upgrade your attacks, the bouncing and grinding abilities, and weapons. The only way to get them is by completing the Night Defense sections of the main story, which are limited in the game due to them being related to campaign progress (can also get them from Chaos Squad matches), so by collecting the items listed above you can unlock additional ones for use. You can buy maps from Two-Hat to help locate all of these collectibles, and most of them require creative traversal tactics to secure them, so hunting them down also helps to practice the unique controls while also enjoying just how much fun it is to zoom across Sunset City like a punk rocker superhero.
With these five tips you’ll definitely get the most out of Sunset Overdrive and its unique traversal-based gameplay, so embrace them and enjoy your spin through Sunset City.
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