There is something new under the sun.
Few trailers during the E3 press conferences stand out in part because everything starts to blur together and there's only so much you can remember anyway after seeing four conferences back to back (to back to back). But Sunset Overdrive's was one of only a couple of trailers from E3 2014 that was truly memorable, since it started like so many others did: a lone military soldier finds cover behind a crate in a rundown warehouse and hopelessly fires upon a gang of terrorists... until a dude-bro crashes through the dor, grinds on the railings with sparks streaming out of his sneakers, and finishes the terrorists with Chinese rockets and wall-running antics as the word "SHABAAM!" smears across the stage. Oh, Insomniac! How we miss thee.
In essence, Sunset Overdrive is a response to modern games, and specifically third-person military shooters with cover mechanics, that take itself way too seriously. Like Dante in the latest Devil May Cry reboot except without being that much of a dick, you must save the city from the mutants and the FizzCo beverages that have turned innocent civilians into said mutants.
But instead of a post-apocalypse palette of greys and browns, you'll surf through the Sunset City which looks like a carnival dressed in blues, oranges, reds, and yellows. Instead of photorealism and gritty physics, you bounce off umbrellas like trampolines, swing along electrical lines using a crowbar, and your shoes grind off rails like roller skates. And instead of AK47s and Winchester trench guns, you'll wield wacky weapons like the TNT Teddy, High Fidelity, Freeze Bomb, and ProPain Launcher.
The hands-on demo at the Microsoft booth showed off Chaos Mode, an eight-player cooperative experience that can be accessed in the main game by heading to any photo booth station. Much like a type of horde mode, our team had to protect vats of the Overcharge Delirium XT energy drinks from mutant grunts and giants. Shooting monsters regularly while walking on the floor is all fine and good, but the point of Sunset Overdrive is to whip out rockets while moving on lines and the edges of rooftops.
Not only does it feel awesome, though somewhat disorienting since it can make aiming difficult when you cut at right angles, but you'll earn better combos if you're inflicting damage during traversal. That said, you don't need to aim that accurately since a red lock-on target hovers over enemies, so you'll probably shoot something in a group of monsters.
Tony Hawk Pro Gunner? Jet Grind Rising? Call Sunset Overdrive what you will, because it's a sure-fire winner that claimed our award for the most original E3 2014 title. That it's an Xbox One exclusive created by Insomniac Games that's ready to release October 28, 2014 makes it even more surprising.