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Sonic Unleashed

  1. Nemesis

    Former Administrator

    Yep, I got it. Thought I might as well post my review here, to kick the discussion off...

    Sonic Unleashed
    Platform: Xbox 360

    There are many things in the world of videogames which split fans down the middle; Cel Shaded Zelda for example, but it is safe to say that the vast majority all agree that the run of 3D Sonic games over the past seven years have not been up to par. Although some are genuinely enjoyable games (namely the Adventure games), all have struggled with camera issues, each instalment has added more characters to the already expansive list and of course, every one introduces a brand new gameplay gimmick in an attempt to breath new life in to the Sonic franchise.

    With that in mind, it was not a surprise when Sonic Unleashed did not receive a great deal of positive feedback when it was first revealed. The general view, which I myself partly shared, was of a game with yet another pointless gameplay mode thrown in to make up for the fact that Sega were never going to be able to recreate that classic Sonic experience in 3d.

    However, it seems that they finally have.
    After the stunning opening cinematic, the player is thrown in to an action stage as the regular form of Sonic. After the disappointment that was the opening level of Sonic ‘06, I was reserving judgement. After years of 3d Sonic games, the first thing I instinctively went to adjust was the camera, there was no need however, as it panned along with Sonic, the angle shifting smoothly as he shot around a corner. Yes, they have eventually got it right; Unlike the previous 3d adventures, if you die it will always be down to player skill, not a frustrating camera angle.

    Of course, a good camera does not automatically make for great gameplay, it is Sega's new Hedgehog Engine that provides that. At points it really does feel like playing some of the original platformers, as the game takes a side on view to follow Sonic as he charges through the level. Unlike the recent games, it is not very often that you will have to stop to solve a puzzle or clear a room of enemies in one of these action stages; It's all about the speed.

    Of course, the regular Sonic stages are only half of the game. The Werehog levels ditch the speed aspect completely, instead making use of the new abilities of the wolf form to traverse platform levels. These reminded me a little of the treasure hunting stages from the Adventure games, but with a set path rather than a level to search through for hours. Surprisingly for me, the werehog levels are enjoyable in their own right and it is easy to see why this design decision was made; In previous games an attempt has been made to mix Sonic's trademark speed with the occasion puzzle and precision platforming, creating a hybrid that never really felt like Sonic. By splitting these aspects in to different gameplay styles the player gets to experience the best of both worlds. In comparison to the basic levels, the werehog stages can seem to drag on a little and it is easy to see how he button bashing combat could easily get repetitive.

    Following the formula of the Adventure series and Sonic '06, Unleashed has a variety of Hub areas which lead to different action stages. Although these seem unnecessary at times, because the main levels are so enjoyable these hubs don't seem as annoying as those in '06.

    Graphically, the game looks amazing. I have only played on the Xbox 360 version, but from what I have seen the Wii does not suffer too much from its lack of power. All of the characters (Don't worry, you only play as Sonic!) look amazing, particularly Sonic and Eggman in the opening cutscene. One gripe I do have with these however, is the younger tone which seems to be present. Apart from the opening, everything seems a bit jovial and kiddy, particularly when compared to some of the amazing and often dramatic story scenes in the original Sonic Adventure. Of course, this is just a minor gripe from a player who is not particularly in the target audience of the game. Maybe this complaint comes from the fact that most of the game does feel like it was designed for me- A retro Sonic fan.

    Even the music throughout the Hedgehog levels feels a bit retro. Of course, there is still the main theme, performed by the lead singer of Bowling for Soup. Although this seems a bit lack-luster in comparison to songs such as Open Your Heart, it is a nice theme to go with the game.

    All in all, Sonic Unleashed is a great game, combining the best bits of the 3d games with the classic Sonic gameplay we have all been wishing for. With the Hedgehog Engine creating amazing levels whilst keeping up with a supersonic pace, we can only hope that this is the start of a new era of Sonic games.

    #1 Nemesis, Nov 29, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2017
    Renimo likes this.


Discussion in 'Pokécharms News' started by Nemesis, Nov 29, 2008.

    1. Doctor Oak
      Doctor Oak
      Edit'd with pix and moved to the new news forum.
    2. Teapot
      ... A new Sonic game that /doesn't/ suck? Amazing.

      Awesome review, as well, Nem - I got a feel for the game without ever seeing it through your description alone.
    3. Midnight Shadows
      Midnight Shadows
      Great review ^^; Definitely something I am getting for Christmas, Sonic rocks :p

      Also, the Werehog just looks so epic.
    4. Chibi
      *gasp* Omg! So finally I won't die fives times in a row because my damn camera wouldn't stop being retarded? It seems almost to good to be true. *adds to her wishlist*

      Awesome review Nem.
    5. Plapti
      Sweet review. I may get it for the Wii and try it out. After all, this probably will be my filler till till Sonic and Black Knight comes out.

      Sweet job Nem.
    6. Doctor Oak
      Doctor Oak
      Word on the streets is that the Wii version is really bad. It's, for one thing, mostly Werehog, it's missing about a quarter of the overall game and the controls are a mess.

      The 360 is the optimum version.

      Though I haven't exactly been getting good reviews about that version from elsewhere either. :/

      I just really want to get a hold of the game myself - but that'll have to wait till Christmas. :(
    7. Nemesis
      I have read some less than complimentary reviews too- Most all slating the hub/werehog sections. To be completely honest, these parts do have their faults at times, but the Sonic stages more than make up for it.
    8. 112% Elusive
      112% Elusive
      Hmm. Interesting. A Sonic game that /isn't/ mostly made of Action stages involving running? That was getting cliché. This sounds interesting. I may get it, or I may not.
      Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
    9. Linkachu
      I went scouring the internets for reviews on it before finally buying a copy, and it was actually IGN's video review for the Wii version that made up my mind.

      I more or less agree with Nem's views, and it's easy to see why people would be frustrated with the Werehog stages. Compared to the daytime stages, they can take you almost ten times as long (ie. my first daytime stage took me about 4 and a half minutes, while my first night stage took 44 minutes. Keep in mind that I made a point to find and destroy everything, but it's still a considerably large time difference). You'd think people would be used to the stage length differences after previous Sonic games, but I guess players expected Unleashed to be half daytime stages/half nighttime stages when in reality it feels like you're spending 3/4ths of the game on the nighttime stages.

      There are times on the Werehog's stages that the camera isn't as friendly as it could be, and you're left to blindly judge jump distances. Speaking of which, the Werehog can't really jump that high - even with his double jump - and I think it's throwing a lot of players since standard Sonic can. Another thing people are tearing it down over is the button mashing feel for the Werehog battling, which is fair. Werehog actually does have combo attacks (many of which you can unlock), but you seem to be able to get by alright with mashing alone. A lot of reviews also picked at the Werehog's stages for having a repetitive formula, but as of his second stage I'm noticing that lessly so. While you are forced to bash through hordes of enemies time and time again, a clear platforming element is present, too (ie. grabbing an enemy to toss it at a far away switch, climbing poles, moving boxes to reach higher areas, etc.). Overall, I can understand how someone could really loathe these stages since daytime Sonic's are so fast and smooth, but I'm used to them now.

      I'm honestly more worried about having to deal with another one of Tails' Tornado-1 stages than the Werehog levels. The initial one appeared to have no way to heal your plane, and button combination timing isn't something I particularly enjoy =/ I haven't seen a second stage of that style yet, tho, so I'm hoping they're not frequent occurrences.

      I've currently beaten two bosses and finally have the plot moving, and Unleashed definitely does have a younger tone going. The game introduces another new character, Chip, in a non-playable capacity, and his dialog/voice acting are both fairly childish at times. The plot is also no Sonic 06 or SA2, at least not yet. It's decent, though. The feel of the storytelling kinda makes me think of classic Sonic cartoons, which can be both good and bad depending on what people wanted.

      I can actually see myself pushing through Unleashed and beating it, so that's saying something for me. Everyone else will just need to decide for themselves if they can put up with the nighttime stages. If you can, you'll probably enjoy the game. Sonic's daytime stages aren't flawless, but so far they're pretty damn awesome.
    10. PopeyPenguin
      Still waiting to the official release.
    11. Cheribe
      ANYBODY LOOKING BACK AT THIS IS 2018? I am a huge sonic fan
      Gold The Dragonite likes this.

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