Teddy Bear Grenade Launchers? Check.
Orange Soda-exploding monsters? Check.
Deviously cute mascot? Check.
No two ways about it - Sunset Overdrive is shamelessly ridiculous.
The Xbox One exclusive, focusing more on stylish tactics of players than accuracy, enables any user to enjoy bouncing on vegetation, grinding on rollercoaster tracks, and shooting away at orange soda-blooded monsters that remind me of Kenan and Kel's trademark skit.
While waiting on the inevitable lines at E3, I was granted the honor of taking control over Creative Director Marcus Smith's demo spot on the big screen, single player demo instead of finishing out the multiplayer line.
I was thrown about halfway into the single-player presentation, where I battled against a miniboss enemy reminiscent of a cartoonified Resident Evil mutation. The presenter, Sunset TV host Brandon Winferey, ad libbed the presentation while I got a handle of the controls alongside an insightful booth attendant.
Your preset crazy character will grind their way around the city, shooting people in the funkiest style you can make up. These innovative ways of killing fill up your style meter, enabling even crazier abilities which you can hold up to five of.
The guns, environments and quests are just as absurd as your character designs. One quest includes grabbing a bottlecap crown for your allied LARPer group, and your weapons range from Chinese-themed firecracker guns to TNTeddy launchers, which is indeed a Teddy bear strapped to sticks of dynamite for your shooting pleasure.
After a bunch of melee-bashing in the carnival demo, I was not-so-subtlely informed to walk over to the carnival's roller coaster ride and to start grinding! This got a bit tricky. While locating and shooting various moving and stagnant points around the roller coaster, I had to manipulate my way by solely grinding on the coaster's rails. Hitting the ground ruined your momentum, but a hint at a pseudo-autolocking system while moving made the sonic-style shooter easier to pick up. I eventually destroyed the two castle structures and two coaster cars required to finish the demo, and humbly walked off their stage to the multiplayer stations.
While I had the added playtime of single player, line-waiters weren't as buffed on the controls. Booth attendants donned headsets and quickly briefed the other seven players about the basic button scheme as well as our co-op mission.
The demo's co-op had players defending two points while waves of monsters charged towards them. Groups of eight fought against three waves of monsters, guided by a booth attendant who provided insight on monster location and move suggestions.
Other players had difficulty figuring out the grinding start/endpoints, which left some just slowly jogging on the ground to fight their enemies. This could prove a problematic foreshadowing for future casuals who choose to run around instead of frustratingly figure out the movement system.
Everyone at the booth agreed that Sunset Overdrive has a high learning curve, in part due to the heavy amount of third-person movement the game relies on. You're constantly required to grind, bounce, and wall-walk against nearly every object in-game. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes a crazy-fun time.
When I walked away excited about Sunset Overdrive, and not just because of the goofy game it was also Insomniac's acknowledgement of a goofy game. The game developers are right there with you thinking it's just as humorously absurd, which helps eliminate the cheesy factor you sometimes see with intentionally quixotic game designs. Their added learning curve boosts the integrity of the game, which makes the madness challenging, and not just carefree.
There remains a tiny concern. Like their energy drink, your overcharged energy for this game could quickly fade into a jaded, tired bore. But even if that does happen, I'll still be running on walls Matrix style shooting teddy bear bombs. And I find it hard to believe I can grow tired of that.
Sunset Overdrive will be available on October 28th, 2014 for the Xbox One.