Sunset Overdrive Multiplayer Preview: Are they dead yet?

Sunset Overdrive Screenshot - 1163997

Microsoft’s flagship fall exclusive Sunset Overdrive had a big blowout at E3 this year, including detail, a trailer, and a hands-on demo of the game’s intriguing multiplayer component on the show floor.

I had the chance to play a round of Chaos Squad, the only multiplayer component in Sunset Overdrive that Insomniac Games says will offer up several different modes within itself.

Players will be able to access the multiplayer component in their own single-player experience by simply walking into a phone booth and taking a selfie. Yes, you heard that right.

Interestingly enough, your custom single-player character will also be your playable multiplayer character. Even better, you’ll earn experience and weapons in Chaos Squad that can transfer back to the main campaign.

The Chaos Squad formula isn’t revolutionary, but thankfully Insomniac hasn’t tried to push it as such. The mode we played was simple eight-player co-op with a Gears of War Horde mode flavor. Our side had to protect two vats of Overcharge Delirium XT from waves of infested baddies.

Sunset Overdrive

Gameplay aside, Chaos Squad isn’t anything we’ve seen before, but that’s the point. Sunset Overdrive’s zany grind and glide on anything and everything approach makes this a fast-paced, deliberately crazy adventure that looks promising.

You’ve probably heard the comparison to Jet Set Radio before, and guess what: you’re going to hear it again here. The action is all about keep your momentum with rail grinding and wall running. It’s here that I found myself at a crossroads. On one hand, the emphasis on momentum makes Sunset Overdrive much more of a skill-based game than its art direction hints at. But on the other hand, it’s easy to get drawn away from the experience if you miss a rail or wall with the one-button press.

I want to believe that the former is true, though, and I do think that that it is. One short match is not enough time to judge the controls, because who knows, they could end up being easily mastered after a couple rounds of action. Plus I had a blast with the rest of the mode. The best thing Insomniac has done with it is not stressing the shooting mechanic. Rather than making it precise (thus annoying with how fast you move), you can “spray and pray” in the location of the enemies and score some satisfying kills. 

Sunset Overdrive looks like a crazy game. The premise is outlandish. The guns are kooky. The multiplayer looks like an extension of everything we’ve seen thus far. If Chaos Squad is much more than this eight-player horde mode, then players will have lots to do this fall.

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Tate Steinlage I write words about video games and sports. Hope you like them.
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Games: Sunset Overdrive

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