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    Sunset Overdrive Preview

    Although it seems to be a game thematically built around anarchy (the mutant-based apocalypse essentially frees up the surviving denizens of Sunset City to escape dead-end jobs and explode heads for fun), jumping straight into Insomniac’s colourful sandbox bag of mayhem without even a little prep is not recommended. Sunset Overdrive assaults your senses. The visuals are intense and a huge part of playing is doing so with speed and style.

    It’s easy, being handed a controller at the pre-release stage and leaping in some four hours into the game, to walk away feeling like your retinas have been smeared in a packet of Dip Dab, then pickled in Sunny Delight. We suffered this very fate the last time we got to play, but now that we’ve had the pleasure of building up to the chaos, with an hour-and-a-half session with the first few sections of the game, we’re happy to report that that head-fuzzing madness has begun to click, and makes a whole lot more sense. Sunset Overdrive knows that it’s asking a lot of its players, and now it feels very capable of grabbing you by the wrist and yanking you along with it.

    To start with we get to tinker with the character creation tool. rather than slap you in the visual mould of a concrete physique, Sunset lets you build your very own fleshy wrapper. There are four basic body builds to chose from, two male and two female, from thick-armed meathead to tall drink-of-water. We start out by trying to build our real-life selves, but quickly come across the barmier end of the tweakable spectrum. before long we have a chained jean-wearing, blue-haired Sonic The Hedgehog wannabe. Perfect!

    All night crave

    We might have created this bizarre individual but Insomniac has a personality and story ready and waiting for when the game starts proper. Our hero is toiling at a local music festival, clearing up the rubbish as revellers rave the night away. While he huffs and sighs about in the background, occasionally stopping to have a crumpled-up can of Overcharge energy drink lobbed at his head, the party-goers loudly begin to succumb to the luminous orange pop's vigorous side-effect. Their skin boils apart into pus-filled growths and then pulls away into fleshy, clawing monstrousness. We leg it.

    Step by step we plunge through a carefully constructed section of the city, learning how to grind, both above (on rails and the sides of articulated lorries), and below (by hanging from suspended power cables). before long we’ve picked up what will soon become muscle memory. We can fire our weapons while grinding, slowing down time slightly while a generous auto-target system takes away any possible awkwardness.

    We can flip from under-wire to above-wire in an instant, triggering an air granting leap skywards. We can reverse our grind and backtrack the way we came. And then comes the bouncing.During our first hands on we found this aspect to be particularly tricky. reading the world was near impossible, so you could hardly tell what could be bounced on and what couldn't.

    From the start though you are drip fed a few tiny little details which will put you in good stead later. An arrow fizzles along in front of you during a five minute section showing that, yes, you  can thunder off this shop’s canvas awning. much of the bounceable scenery comes adorned with pink spray paint, and the vents have swaying ribbons to further show their jump boosting purpose. In short, by the time we escape the rave and the chasing mutated, called OD (Overcharge Drinkers), and make it back to our apartment rooftop, we’re experts at Sunset’s off-the-wall brand of traversal. And it feels great.

    Super Amp

    If there was a tourist guide called ‘Things to do in Sunset city during the Apocalypse’ only one third of it would be about getting around. combat is equally as important an ingredient. Your character comes loaded with a weapon wheel, accessible by holding down the left bumper, and you can flick through the typically mad arsenal (this is the same team that made ratchet & clank) with ease. even the most traditional of weapons, the Dirty Harry revolver for example, can be pimped up to devastating effect. What was once a simple heavy-hitting bullet-flinger can be given Foe-staggering electrocution effects. What we’re talking about here are Amps.Your character and each of the weapons they carry comes with a selection of empty slots into which you can slide these special effect-granting add-ons. You can, for example, attach the Fired Amp to your standard melee swing in order to fling mario-like fireballs with every swipe.

    Level up a weapon through use and you’ll eventually get to snap these Amps directly onto them. As for your character, they have slots for Hero and epic Amps. These extra special abilities will only unlock if you play the game with style. Stay off the ground and avoid getting hit for long enough and your style meter will increase allowing you to, among other things, trigger an explosion with each carefully orchestrated bounce.

    much like the addictive rocket fuel that the OD hunger for, there’s a lot here to drink in. Thankfully Sunset Overdrive takes its time, introducing mechanics via character missions at a steady pace. That these characters and situations are genuinely laugh out loud funny, occasionally teetering towards try-hard levels, is sweet, but the real reason you’ll want to guzzle this down is that it enables you to be awesome, one step at a time.

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