OXCGN’s Super Awesome Sunset Overdrive Review


Sunset Overdrive is the first foray for Insomniac Games in creating a fresh new IP, exclusively for the Xbox One. Said to be the “rock and roll end times”, Sunset Overdrive borrows heavily from titles such as Dead Rising, inFamous and an old favourite of mine, Jet Set Radio Future.

Combining the antics of all these titles, Sunset City is ripe with collectibles to find and enemies to blow up in as many crazy ways as possible.

Upon starting, players are thrown right into the shit, standing on a train trying to get home when the OD (People who drink too much Overcharge) are causing havoc all around him. Acting as a tutorial, players learn the basic mechanics of the game. Vaulting over walls, bouncing on top of cars and parasols for boosted jumps and grinding alongside railings to amply traverse the game world. When the player finally reaches his apartment, a Herker (Large OD enemy) decides to try and make him mince meat but is distracted by an unnamed character we are yet to be introduced to.

Here the player obtains their first weapon “The Flaming Compensator” which resembles male genitalia, it’s a shotgun that also ignites enemies on fire when hit. Players can shoot enemies whilst running, grinding or under-grinding (Underneath railing) or jumping in the air.

Once the Herker leaves, the character barricades himself in his apartment then we’re taken back in time to the FizzCo Pre-Launch party for their latest energy drink, Overcharge Delirium XT, which causes anyone who drinks it to become OD. Fast forward 17 days into the future, the character is safely secured within the comfort of his own home, it’s here you’re given the chance to change what your character looks like.

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Boom!

In the apocalypse vanity is almost as important as survival it seems, as you can dress your character in any way you want. Players can equip various layers of clothing on their character from singlets, hats, tattoos, pants and underwear to name a few, as well as the body type and gender. Clothes can either be bought with money you earn from missions, breaking ATM’s or unlocked by obtaining a certain point goal in various challenges. Banking up to $300,000 + for my character, spending money on clothes was quite possibly the least of my worries.

It seems like a useless currency and buying a White Fang Mask that costs $35,000 doesn’t give you much of an advantage over your enemies apart from making you look like a total bad-ass. It’s a shame when every single collectible within Sunset City has a much larger purpose to your character and money just buys clothes.

Collecting stinky shoes from power lines, toilet paper from poles, destroying security cameras, collecting Fizzie balloons and obtaining FizzCo neon signs all go towards buying Amps. Amps are the way a player can enhance their Hero, Melee attacks and Epic. Whilst some are a mere cosmetic options, others do encourage the player to portray a certain level of skill to activate, in a somewhat very accessible game. Various Ampa will cause enemies to become frozen on the spot, others will change an enemy into a TNTeddy and cause damage in a small area.

Some Amps can be bought from Floyd the games mixologist and used instantaneously, however others that you obtain as you progress through the story need to be made via a Night Defense mission and there are some extremely good ones that are well worth the trouble. This requires the player to places traps around their fort with traps unlocking through side quests or story missions, turning a valve and surviving the onslaught of OD.  It’s during these missions that the game truly utilizes Amps, Overdrives, and the crazy weaponry you have available to you. I had a complaint at the start of the game where I wasn’t happy with the amount of enemies it would throw at me, but that gets address the more you progress where the game becomes relentless.

Using multiple crowd control weapons when only a dozen enemies would be on screen at a time, it was a problem but not anymore. When you equip Amps they can only be activated via raising your Style Meter, which is located at the top right hand corner of the HUD. Performing outrageous grind kills, bounce kills or shooting with style will raise the meter. At Style Lvl 1 the player will unlock their Hero amp, Lvl 2 unlocks melee amps and weapon amps (As long as a weapon is Level 2 they can be equipped with Amps), and Lvl 3 unlock your Epic amps and activates all other amps simultaneously.

The Style Meter is nothing new, however as you progress further into the game and obtain better amps there is nothing more epic than igniting a bunch of enemies with lightning rains down from the sky at random, whilst an announcer comments of everything you do. Players will also unlock new moves when compleing certain missions such as an air and water dashing and double jumps which are the games more advanced combo moves.

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Tanks for the style there, FizzCo Tank Bot!

Much like Amps, Overdrives work to enhance the players abilities whether it’s the amount of damage they can do to a certain enemy type or the amount of Style that is generated during combat. Overdrives are unlocked and upgraded by obtaining badges, which can be rewarded for killing x amount of enemies, x distance grinded, or a certain number of times you’ve bounced on a car. There’s no real way to track these in the menu hub, but they are consistently rewarded to the player the more they play. When you unlock enough Overdrives you can only have a maximum of 6 equipped, so depending on what you want to spend your badges on be wise, as the higher level Overdrives cost multiple badges to unlock and upgrade.

To purchase weapons within the game world, players can find Overcharge cans scattered through Sunset City or via the games story missions. Each new faction you encounter within the game allows you to buy newer weapons from Two Hat Jack, who is always located at every single weapon point. Overcharge cans aren’t as easy to rack up in quantity, with some higher costing weapons requiring me to play for a few more hours before I could obtain them. Some are beter than other so it’s best to wtch each weapons tutorial before deciding which to buy.

‘The Dude’ which (The Big Lebowski reference) is a good weapon if you want to kill multiple enemies at once. The downside to this weapon is that it takes a few seconds to charge up and only fires straight, meaning that any enemies on your left or right wont be affected by the guns trajectory. Meaning that unless you really want this gun, it most likely isn’t a good choice to spend your overcharge on when you can buy a automatic weapon that shoots out exploding fireworks.

Like some of the weapons available to you, the games humour at times can be tiresome. Sunset Overdrive is an extremely meta-game and it’s is definitely self aware. It knows it’s a video game and it knows that it’s over the top. Character animations during cut-scenes are extremely wooden and sound like they are reading directly from a script. It’s hard to grow any form of real investment to any character in Sunset City. Most missions will require you to save someones life, and it really just feels like a chore to progress the story.

The further you progress into the game the better the humour becomes, however it’s still too dry and only makes you chuckle or smile at best.

There are a lot of references to other forms of work, with respawn animations by far the best inclusion in Sunset Overdrive. Whilst you go through them quite quickly, it’s always a treat seeing your character come back to life the same a Terminator is first introduced in Terminator 1 or 2. Enjoy Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure where they use a Phone Booth to teleport through time? That’s here too. My only gripe with respawn animations is that death has absolutely zero meaning in this game apart from being able to show you these. If you die when doing a mission you’ll either respawn exactly where you left off with no loss in money, overcharge or items.

During some missions you’ll respawn at a checkpoint but apart from that there’s no real need to be careful in this game since there’s no penalty. It’s meant to be extremely accessible to any gamer and that’s evident with the aim assist when shooting as well as the fact that you never have to reload any guns. I just wonder why they included the player being able to die when the novelty of re-spawning wears thin.

These are the games only real faults though alongside it being very polished. Never did I find myself caught in large scale battles where the framerate would drop, and I could see very little clipping or textures issues throughout the city. With so much happening at any given time I was surprised at how smoothly it ran, going for 900p with a much more stable framerate over 1080p was definitely a good decision by Insomniac. On my 60″ SONY Bravia I cannot fault the game, despite some character models looking a little wonky from the waist down and some pieces of clothing being way too big.

It’s hard to say this game isn’t worth purchasing, when you can enjoy the mayhem it incurs without investing in the lackluster story.

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Explosions in style

Chaos Squad is the games only form of multiplyer that is accessed via photobooth type outlets in the city. Players walk up to these hubs, select a portion of the city they wish to search for, and the game will instantly try to find a maximum of 8 players and thrust them into Chaos Squad all whilst you’re still roaming around the city. This multiplayer game type is basically made up of 5 different challenges players can vote for and upon succession can build up points and a chaos rating. When all 5 challenges are completed, the final stage is determined via the the previous 5 challenges. Depending on the amount of chaos accumulated, this stage can either be very easy or extremely difficult.

Again, this horde type game mode makes great use of all the games abilities, from Amps, Overdrives and Traps. Through future DLC, Night Defense can definitely enhance the 15-20 hour overall length of the game, so long as the variety with traps and enemies is built upon, Sunset Overdrive will give players multiple hours of enjoyment. I just do hope that Insomniac Games includes a free roam co-op option much like Destiny has where you can encounter other players and do random quests without needing to do Chaos Squad.

Mo' money, mo' guns
Mo’ money, mo’ guns

Pros:

+ Over the top, quirky and accessible

+ Plethora of ridiculous gun to keep the game fresh

+ Multiple collectibles with dozens of easter eggs scattered throughout the city

Cons:

– Characters during cutscenes are wooden and sound like they’re reading from a script

– Dry humor does get tiresome after a while

– Story is a means to an end, with no investment in characters needed.

– No cutsom game soundtrack as in game music gets annoying

TL;DR

Sunset Overdrive is exactly what Insomniac Games envisioned when starting this project and shopping it around years ago. Its a fresh over the top, third person open world shooter than blends the best of various games to create something quirky and unique . Whether or not you’re into this type of game, there’s no denying that Sunset Overdrive is easy to get stuck into for hours on end without actually progressing through the story.

For completionists there’s a lot to do and for the casual gamer they can get stuck into it easily. For the dedicated though, they may not seem interested for the lack of a real goal and those who currently don’t own a next generation console, this may not be the game that pushes you in favour of grabbing one now.

8/10

Review conducted via a digital copy of Sunset Overdrive Day One Edition provided by Microsoft.

Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition is out on PC Now!


The ‘Definitive’ Dead Rising Experience, Now on PC!

It’s the day many a fan of Capcom’s Dead Rising series has been waiting for; Dead Rising 3 is now available on Steam and other digital services for AU$89.95. Not only will you receive the full PC version of the game, you’ll also get all four expansions in the ‘Untold Stories of Los Perdidos’ downloadable content collection. This is the first time Dead Rising 3 has been released outside of the Xbox One platform, something fans have wanted for quite some time.

Capcom have given more details about the game’s optimisation and Steam support in their press release (below).

Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition includes the original Dead Rising™ 3 content along with the four downloadable add-on “Untold Stories of Los Perdidos” packs, making this the definitive Dead Rising® experience. Dead Rising 3 and The Untold Stories of Los Perdidos originally launched on Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and has gone on to sell over 1 million units to date on that system.

PC gamers can experience the hordes of undead at high resolution with fully optimized visuals and upgraded textures on characters, backgrounds and in-game objects. Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition includes Steam platform support with Steam Achievements, Steam Cloud, Steam Trading Cards, global leaderboards and full game controller support. Also compatible with the keyboard and mouse, players can toggle back and forth between the two in real time.

Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition takes place 10 years after the events of Dead Rising™ 2. Set in the city of Los Perdidos during a city-wide zombie outbreak, the story follows Nick Ramos, a young mechanic. He must find a way to escape from thousands of blood thirsty zombies before an impending military strike wipes out the city and its population. Relying on the help of other survivors he meets along the way and the vast array of unique and powerful combo weapons available, Nick will need to get creative to get out of the infected city before it’s too late.

So what are you waiting for? Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition is available right now. If you need any more persuasion check out our review of the Xbox One version from its launch last year, then go on and have fun fighting off the undead hordes!

Jayden Perry ©2014

Kinect Sports Rivals and Zoo Tycoon Getting Game of the Year Editions


With the latest spotted Ryse: Son of Rome Legendary Edition, game of the year editions have been spotted for Zoo Tycoon and Kinect Sports Rivals on the Alza online store. Both of the games will include all available downloadable content. Game of the year editions are always a great way to catch up on games with all the content available for a one set reduced price. In addition to those games there will be Forza 5 and Dead Rising 3 Game of the Year Editions available. If you would want a Game of the Year Edition for one game, what would it be?

GOTY Editions

E3 2014: Dead Island 2 Preview: “Cool and Kickass”


A New Direction for Dead Island

Set after the events of the original Dead Island and Riptide, the infection that started on the island of Banoi is now spreading all over the world. One such place that has fallen victim to this plague is California, and thus the United States Government has turned the state into a large quarantine zone.

They’ve also turned it into a ‘zombie filled playground’ for our new heroes to dive headfirst into. After the teaser trailer that premiered at Sony’s E3 presentation, we got to see that the new California is a much brighter and fun place than it’s darker predecessors. With Dead Island 2 the developers are opting for a tone described by them as “cool and kickass”; less dark and heavy than those before it but also not reaching the level of ridiculousness of Dead Rising 3.

This tone is mirrored by the goals of the main characters, each one being immune to the virus and heading into the quarantine zone to destroy zombies. This game isn’t so much about escape, this time it’s more about fighting back.

Players will be able to choose from four unique character classes, each with their own skills, abilities and fury attacks. If you purchase the game on Playstation 4 you’ll be able to select an exclusive additional class which has yet been unannounced. The four classes announced are the Hunter, the Berserker, the Speeder and the Bishop. The specifics of each class have not yet been announced, but from the images shown today we’ll have a speedy blade focussed class, a heavy weapon specialist, a ranged weapon class and a fourth class based around thrown weapons.

Deep Silver also announced a central character, ‘Max’, who drives the van featured in the trailer. He will be joined by his loyal pet cat, Rick Furry, in the adventure through California. This is the first time a real life cat has been motion captured in gaming, allowing Rick’s animations to be very realistic. The story behind this quirky duo is one of second chances. Upon seeing these ‘immune’ in California Max hops in his newly outfitted van to start a fresh life in California, hoping to help the immune and potentially find a cure for the spreading illness.

Besides zombies, our characters won’t be the only humans in the quarantine zone. The game will also focus on the human factions gaining power in the zone such as the raiders, escaped prisoners and even deserting military forces. These forces will challenge the player in new ways, often outfitted with powerful weapons and vehicles.

On top of introducing all these new classes, factions and characters, we’ll also be getting new ‘motorised’ weapons like hedge trimmers and hand saws. While this new type of weapon will be very powerful, they will all be powered by fuel, a resource you’ll have to collect, and will make a lot of noise, attracting nearby zombies. These are probably best saved for when you have no choice to fight loud and fast against the horde, unless of course you enjoy being swarmed by the undead! The developers also noted you will be able to dual wield in Dead Island 2, rushing in to fight off zombies with a sawn off shotgun and machete at the same time.

We’ll also see a whole host of new zombie bosses and types, and the developer, Yager, claims to have a new system implemented into the final build that will ensure no two zombies look exactly alike, adding to the immersion of the game. It will be very interesting to see just how different the variety in zombie design will be.

After being presented with all this new information we were treated to a live gameplay demo from a 2013 prototype build of the game. We were also shown in engine renderings of scenery and zombies taken from the most recent build. The graphics are looking quite good at this stage, but I expect we’ll see much more of the actual graphics in the lead up to Dead Island 2’s 2015 release.

The demo opened with us driving in Max’s van into suburban California, and then leads through houses and backyards in the area. This allowed the developers to really show off what is at the core of Dead Island games, the melee combat.

Dead Island 2 adopts the same combat style of it’s predecessors; that is to say it’s full of slicing and dicing zombies up close, lopping limbs and heads clean in gruesome slow motion. Not a lot has changed on the melee side apart from adding more moves and animations, as well as some cool abilities that will have you smashing zombies into the sky with you sledgehammer. It all looked very fun.

Ranged weapons seem to perform better in this game, especially with Yager at the helm. Their previous title, Spec Ops: The Line, was a third person shooter and you can see aspects of that in Dead Island 2’s presentation. New crossbows and guns can be used to devastating effect against zombies and humans alike. You’ll also be able to mod and upgrade your weapons on the go this time round instead of having to find a weapon bench, which is a nice new change.

Yager have worked well so far to implement noise into combat scenarios, as well as using the zombies to attack and distract enemies. By simply shooting cars with a crossbow to get the alarm going or causing an explosion you can draw a whole load of zombies, perfect to take out enemies deep in cover or to set up a dangerous trap.

Fire is another aspect of the title that has an interesting new implementation. In much the same way as we saw in Far Cry 3, grass and foliage can be lit on fire, causing damage to the environment and enemies. It’s a cool little feature that means you have to be more thoughtful in where you lob that molotov, making sure not to find yourself in a dangerous spot!

In terms of multiplayer, the game will offer the full open world and story experience to up to eight players at once. You’ll be able to ‘compete, cooperate or coexist’ in a social open world, but you’ll still be able to play completely solo or offline too.

It will be very interesting to see how this game turns out when we see more footage, and all the way up to release. For now, I’m optimistic. The game has a good studio at the helm and a solid foundation, I only hope that we see a better narrative in this title than in previous entries, and that it will do enough to really make it stand out as a new and improved Dead Island title. The game will be playable at Gamescom and PAX later this year and I’m very interested to see how it differs from and improves upon what was shown to us at E3 2014.

Dead Island 2 is coming to PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4 later in 2015. You can check out the official box art below!

OXCGN’s Dead Rising 3 Review


dr3head

An Apocalyptic Playground

Capcom Vancouver’s Dead Rising 3 is a visceral experience.

As an exclusive title for the Xbox One, it aims to not only demonstrate the power of the next generation console, it also aims to (more importantly) let players loose in a virtual playground where all the toys are capable of inflicting grievous bodily harm. Games featuring zombies are a dime a dozen in this day and age, and their saturation within the media means that anything zombie-related needs to stand out. With this in mind, as well as Dead Rising 3 being the third title in the series, can it survive the horde and survive on its own?

No stylish survivor would been seen in public without their trusty Sledgesaw.
No stylish survivor would been seen in public without their trusty Sledgesaw.

Stave off the Apocalypse here!

Dying Light Preview: A Zombie Game To Actually Get Excited For?


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Dying Light Preview: A Zombie Game To Actually Get Excited For?

Scariest zombies, ever

by Arthur Kotsopoulos

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

It’s really tough to get excited for another zombie game, especially when they’re are so many currently flooding the market.

From Treyarch and their zombies in each Call of Duty they develop to Dead Rising 1, Dead Rising 2 and the Resident Evil  franchise to name a few and so much more.

Anything that’s announced now, needs to have some feature that alone is worth the price of admission.

Thankfully Dying Light, the new open world first person survival game does away with all the technical issue of previous Techland games and introduces new gameplay features which makes the game more intense and faster paced.

From fluid character movement to some of the deadliest zombies I have ever witnessed, Dying Light which is set for release on current and next generation consoles is actually quite intriguing to witness.

From Dusk to Dawn

DL_EBGames_Screenshot_01You might sit there and say “But it’s another zombie game”, well technically it is but it’s a zombie game which blends what you love about zombie games and the free running movement that made Mirrors Edge such a fresh experience.

Traversing the open world environment in Dead Island was a chore. Players were sluggish, stamina was extremely short compared to other games and combating zombies whilst brutal just wasn’t fun for the 10+ hours the game took to finish.

Thankfully for Techland they’ve listened to fans criticism of previous games and decided that they need to put the Dead Island franchise to rest and start fresh.

Dying Light which is touted as a survival horror action game, is set in the vast and open environment of the Quaratined City and from the beginning of the game the whole map which is divided into separate areas like Dead Island, is accessible to the player.

The player can upgrade and customise either of the 4 characters they can choose from and traverse the environment at their will on top of finding weapons, upgrading and creating new ones.

Just as easily as you can slice through a zombie with your axe, players can free run to either escape from zombies or move from place to place with ease to complete objectives.

The environment was designed with a huge emphasis on vertical gameplay, because you don’t want to continually have to fun around zombies on the street when you can by pass them via the rooftops.

What I am most excited about with Dying Light is the day/night cycle.

When the developers showed off the night cycle portion of the game, things really heated up and the free running was integral to the players survival. Taking a page from Night of the Living Dead 3 (Which I presume HAS to be Return of the Living Dead 3, right?) as huge inspiration for the zombies, at night these predators become nasty and much deadlier.

They’re not sluggish, they can smell you and easily match you with where you go.

Some zombies can run after you, climb up car rooftops and even buildings as you progress through the game.

It changes the whole dynamic of the game and whilst during the day you had the advantage, at night you’re weak and prone to the horrors of the undead.

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As with many other open world titles on the market though, the players need content to be immersed in the environment. You can throw dozens of enemies at the and give them things to find but apart from that it doesn’t create a unique experience.

Techland surely haven’t failed in this department, if the demo is anything to by.

In the game at any given moment, a player will encounter a random interaction with NPC’s that a player can either choose to help or leave behind to get slaughtered by zombies.

Whilst this won’t affect the outcome of the game or any type of morale choice, it does grant the player a significant amount of assistance whether it’d be from experience points to upgrade the skill tree or items for crafting weapons or getting out of sticky situations.

Various kinds of traps throughout the game world can be set. From car alarms that attract zombies and blow up within seconds to electrical fences that shocks and kills any zombies that walk over them.

DL_EBGames_Screenshot_03During our 10 minute hands off demonstration followed by an informative 20 minute Q&A plenty of questions were asked with equally great answers that revealed hindsight to the game, its development and what players can expect.

On current gen consoles Dying Light is an extremely polished title, running of the Chrome Engine 6 which was built from the ground up for this new IP. You can instantly notice from this alone that with the help of a new engine Dying Light has already done away with any technical difficulties Dead Island had before it.

This advanced tech will allow Techland to show greater player emotion. Whilst it is limited on current gen I’m eager to see what it looks like on the Xbox One and PS4.

©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos

Patient 0: A Real Life Zombie Slaying Experience


ARTICLE_Patient 0

Patient 0: A Real Life Zombie Slaying Experience

Training for the eventual apocalypse

by Daniel Geikowski

©2012 Daniel Geikowski

Patient 0Zombies. Everybody loves them.

Zombies are one of gaming’s favourite enemies. More often than not, they just shuffle around, waiting for us players to kindly blow them away. Zombies are a safe choice of enemy when developing a game, as most people won’t think twice about mowing down a walking corpse.

Zombie games are really popular with players, and are seemingly everywhere nowadays. Players have many apocalypses to choose from, such as Resident Evil, Dead Rising, ZombiU, House of the Dead, Left 4 Dead, etc.

Titles usually pit players against hordes of undead (obviously), testing them to survive and escape the apocalypse.

Do you have what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse?

OXCGN’s Dead Rising 2: Off The Record Review: A Non-Canon Slaughterfest


OXCGN’s Dead Rising 2: Off The Record Review

A Non-Canon Slaughterfest

by exterminat

©2011 Nicholas Laborde

2010 saw the release of Dead Rising 2, a sequel that took many by surprise due to the fact Dead Rising‘s star, Frank West, was missing.

Players were greeted by Chuck Greene, a typical American pretty boy surviving the zombie apocalypse. Oh, and his adorable daughter Katie, who has been infected with the zombie virus.

It didn’t take place in a typical mall, it didn’t revolve around taking photos, and essentially had you catering to the whim of your daughter.

Thankfully, the gameplay remained intact to provide hours upon hours of merciless undead slaughter.

The plot consisted of Chuck attempting to uncover the conspiracy behind the infection, and get out alive… all while keeping his precious next of kin alive.

A year later, Capcom has thrown not another true sequel at us, but a redo of the second game, this time featuring the original hero.

Is it worth your time, or is it just a cheap cash-in?

Shuffle like a zombie this way