2014 Game of the Year: Sunset Overdrive

Microsoft Studios

The first full year of a new console generation is always cause for trepidation among gamers, and admittedly, 2014 (the year after the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4) is one of the weakest gaming years in recent memory. Still, that shouldn’t take away from the Insomniac Games’ excellent Xbox One-exclusive, Sunset Overdrive.

Sunset Overdrive, a self-aware third-person action-adventure game in the mold of Insomniac’s own Ratchet & Clank, is a brightly-colored, absurd romp. Taking place in sprawling, dystopian Sunset City, players take control of a nameless, low-level employee at soft drink company FizzCo. FizzCo’s corporate irresponsibility leads it to create an energy drink called Overcharge Delirium XT, which turns its consumers into mindless, murderous mutants. The player, one of the city’s dwindling uninfected, is left to clean up the mess.

Microsoft Studios

On top of being a ton of fun, the game also served as the perfect launching pad for Insomniac’s 2018 Spider-Man game. That counts for something, right? Players zip-line, wise-crack, and launch TNT-strapped teddy bears through mutant hoards. Insomniac, specializing in traversal, humor, and zany gadgets, knows where its bread is buttered.