A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sunset Overdrive might have a cartoon-like look, but it's a violent, bloody, gory third-person shooter. You must kill thousands of mutants (who once were human), as well as robots and some human enemies, using wild weapons that seem silly (for example, a grenade launcher that shoots explosive teddy bears, deadly golf clubs, and a harpoon gun). There also are many drug references, sexual comments between characters (and heard on the radio), strong profanity ("f--k," "s--t," and more), and unmonitored voice support for online multiplayer games.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
An Xbox One exclusive, Insomniac Games' SUNSET OVERDRIVE is an over-the-top third-person shooter that takes place in the near future, where the world is controlled by the FizzCo Corporation. You play as a janitor who must clean up the mess following the launch of an energy drink that has transformed people into mutants (hey, we said it was over the top). Along with running and gunning -- with zany weapons including harpoon guns, exploding toys, golf clubs, and fireworks -- this colorful open-world action game includes agile-based combat: using zip lines, grinding down power lines, and doing mid-air acrobatics, for example. Along with the single-player campaign, there are online multiplayer modes that allow up to eight people to play cooperatively ("co-op").
Is it any good?
Sunset Overdrive is a stylized, colorful, and fast-paced third-person shooter that never takes itself seriously -- even the characters acknowledge it's a video game -- but it proves to be a fun, over-the-top adventure that's well worth the price of admission. Perhaps the game's charm and polish shouldn't be much of a surprise given developer Insomniac Games' experience in creating engaging worlds -- especially with its award-winning Ratchet & Clank series -- but they've done it again with Sunset Overdrive, this time mixing in parkour, aerial moves, and skateboard-like tricks. Although the mission objectives can be a bit stale -- go to such-and-such location, help this character fetch this or that, or kill a number of ODs (infected enemies) -- the combat is frenetic against the myriad of monsters including the Blower, Popper, and Spawner, each with its own abilities.
Along with comfortable and intuitive controls, vast sandbox environments, and a ridiculous assortment of weaponry to play around with, this Xbox One exclusive offers an ambitious co-op mode to keep the game fresh long after you finish the campaign (plus you can replay single-player missions for extra goodies). Add in special abilities, in-game rewards, and collectibles, and this will be a huge hit for the Xbox One.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Sunset Overdrive. Does it matter less if you destroy unrealistic mutant enemies because they're no longer human, or does it not make a difference? Because the story line and game world are clearly fictional and over the top, how does the impact compare to photorealistic military shooters?
Discuss the language used within the game. Did the publishers need to include the sexual and drug references, as well as the swearing? Does that content add to the over-the-top nature of the gameplay, or is it simply gratuitous?
- Platforms: Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Game Studios
- Release date: October 28, 2014
- Genre: Third-person shooter
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.