A game that garnered a lot of attention and crowds during E3 week was Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive - something different, something fresh for the shooter segment. It's part Jet Set Radio, part Dead Rising, part Ratchet & Clank, if you want to be lazy about it. But it also adds its own flavour rich on attitude and fourth wall breaking stuff. That attitude may be hit and miss, and amongst our crew there are those who love it and those who feel they pour it on a little much.
That said we're in agreement with regards to the actual gameplay. It's fun, addictive and ultimately very rewarding. Having a go with a selection of the outrageous guns (in our opinion the main selling point of the game), both in the multiplayer demo (8 player co-operating against waves of enemies) and the singleplayer slice (demoed at the Microsoft press conference). Favourites included the TNTeddy (shots exploding teddybears), Captain Ahab (a harpoon that's very handy in single encounters, and an ice weapon that would freeze a group of enemies dead in their tracks. At one time we freeze a couple of enemies and charged through them with a boost. Brilliant stuff.
Grinding along in Sunset Overdrive is as simple as pressing the X button, and there's a ton of stuff to grind on. If anything the open world offers so many things to jump up off and grind on that you're spoilt for choice meaning there isn't as clear a path to grind as in say Jet Set Radio. The pace of game and the speed at which you traverse the environments probably left Insomniac with little option but to include a fairly pronounced auto-aim. Given the nature of the game it's a good fit. You're meant to shoot and grind at the same time, not take on enemies on foot and line up shoots (walking around will quickly get you in serious trouble).
What we played of the 8-player co-operative Chaos Squad was a Horde-like missions where we had to defend a couple of Overcharge Delirium XT vats - the thing that turned people into monsters that those very monsters now crave. There were options to set down traps as well, offering a bit of strategy to the experience, but we heard this is just one of many mission types that will make up Chaos Squad. Rather than going for a class-based approach as in Fuse you'll take your very own survivor, customised and with your weapon upgrades into the mode. Roles are dedicated on the fly depending on what weapon the players is currently using, but given the emphasis on movement you likely not develop set roles in Chaos Squad.
Interestingly weapon upgrades and loot are shared across the modes so Chaos Squad could serve as a nice aside to make your singleplayer progress a little easier the next time you boot it up, but for many it will be the main course.
Speaking with Insomniac's Ted Price he was quick to emphasise their take the postapocalypse genre (we refuse to type "awesomepocalypse"... wait, dammit) that makes light of it in a way that makes Dead Rising feel like a seriously depressing piece of fiction. It's easy to appreciate the splash of colour that Sunset Overdrive offers to the genre, and it also looks like it will deliver gameplay wise.