There is nothing I detest more than when a demographically disjointed marketing team secrete an angsty, loud teenage image from the wrinkles of their collective brain in order to market their videogames. Sunset Overdrive recently made its way onto Games with Gold for free and it’s easy to see why if you play around 5 seconds of it.
I’ve never been one for videogames metafictionally referencing other videogames if they’re not specifically appreciating the other titles. Insertion of… *sigh* comic references to no apparent formative end says nothing other than the fact that the developers are aware of that title’s existence.
Sunset Overdrive is the motherload of references and painstakingly artificial teenage image. Even in the very first five minutes this demographical prevarication and corporate disjoint is unintentionally rammed into your face, the very second weapon you acquire is unambiguously named the ‘High Fidelity’. Yes, Insomniac Games, nothing screams ‘this is what the kid wants’ louder than an ode on a millennial film starring a pre-Tenacious D Jack Black. It’s not as if we were donning Huggies back then or something.
This beginning, alongside a plethora of ambient faux-punk power chords and dick jokes, starts us on a shit-curdling, tear-jerking pain train of effort on Insomniac’s part to be recognised as culturally aware. “Did you know I am aware of Reddit?” the game screams, “I am aware that Breaking Bad exists!” it declares with the subtlety of nails on a chalkboard. “Here is a reference to NeoGAF. I am one of you! Assimilate me into your gamer culture!” it pleads, on its knees. “Here is a Portal reference”, “Here I will appear to be aware of my own medium as a video game by making a joke oriented about respawns!”. “I am culturally aware!”. “I am self-aware!” “I AM AWARE!!!”.
If most of your own identity is taken from the backs of other titles then you are both pretentious as hell and devoid of any personality. I promptly rage-uninstalled this title for the gaming ebola that it is after a forcefully inserted ‘Heisenberg’ reference.