The fun you'll have--or not--with Sunset Overdrive all comes down to how well you use one single control input. X, you see, is fundamentally the game's Awesome-button. A carefully timed press of it activates all of its giddy, skiddy, jungle-gym traversal, from zipline slides, to rollercoaster grinds, to grabs and vaults. It's the core of how you get around in Insomniac's gleefully batshit, platform-shooter, and getting around is the core of the whole damn experience.
Because unless you are mantling, grinding, wall-jumping and trampolining your way around the city's skyline, the core shooting can feel a little pedestrian. Of course, it's blown up to ludicrous cartoon heights by a typically goofy Insomniac arsenal--comprising everything from propane-tank launchers, to incendiary shotguns, to weaponised vinyl records--but at ground level, the swarming, multiplying grunt AI tends to make for a rather impenetrable slog. Of course, it's designed that way to incentivise high-flying escapades, but the punishment for a slip or a mistimed rail surf remains a rather instant pull of the fun brakes. This is a game that excels when it feels like a low-gravity, Jet Set Radio with guns. When it feels like you're trying to punch your way out of a pit of angry pigs, less so.
But when it does work, when you're in the zone, spotting each new stepping stone and grinding route several moves in advance, and nailing your stabs of the awesome-button with perfect timing, it's rather a big old hoot. Imagine Crackdown's high-flying, platform carnage crossed with SSX's improvisational, environmental stunting. How much longevity Insomniac can squeeze out of those core mechanics is currently anybody's guess. Mission design and city architecture will have have to work hard to maximise the potential. But if they can, this Sunset Overdrive could be quite the rollercoaster.
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