Sonic has been unleashed to the next-generation platforms in an effort to recapture the glory days of the old. Focusing on a new direction, and a little bit of the old familiar, Sonic becomes more than a hedgehog in Team Sonic’s latest adventure. Unlock the cages, it is time to get unleashed.
You might be wondering who took the hedgehog off the leash in the first place. Well, this would be none other than Team Sonic along with the help of Sonics’ number one adversary, Mr. Eggman. Continuing their classic confrontation, Sonic does battle against an evil plot set in motion by the devious Mr. Eggman. This time around Sonic will have more to do besides fry some eggs. Sonic will be dealing with some slightly aggressive changes within his own body and inadvertently within the entire world. The ideas are big, the plot is set in motion, and so it is all up to the gameplay to make or break Sonic Unleashed.
The gameplay in Sonic Unleashed is split between two beasts, literally. One being the Sonic you know and love, and the other comes in the form of an “unleashed” Sonic called a Warehog. The way this is worked into the game, is when the night falls Sonic involuntary turns into the dangerous Warehog, which is basically a Warewolf with a set of stretchy arms. During the day Sonic is our classic red shoed Sonic. Both sides of Sonic have distinct gameplay and levels to match each personality. Normal Sonic doesn't cross over to the Warehog's territory and vice versa. The day levels consist of the levels built on going fast collecting rings and speed running through levels, this is the perfect 3D realization of the 2D classic gameplay. At night, Sonic the Warehog has to bash through enemies in an adventure, beat em’ up style game. This slows down the pacing and turns the good (daytime game) into a very bad game.
Riding the Rails
For the most part the gameplay during the day is fairly solid set up on a rail riding formula that keeps the action on high-speed while you rocket through each level. The levels usually have a number of tricky jump spots, a few enemies and a lot of ring collection. The formula is isn’t 100% perfect as there are a few button response issues, and camera qualms; however it’s the best version of Sonic I have played in a long time. The speed is ultra fast making it a blast to run around the levels as Sonic. Why the game wasn’t developed entirely focused on the daytime gameplay is beyond me. All I want is a level selector and full control of running from stage to stage. Remake the original if you have to, it was a good game and turned into 3D might still work.
Please Turn on the Lights
Its unfortunate Sonic Unleashed wasn’t kept more traditional because the adventure segments that split up the day and night levels are painful to play through. These levels are approached like a light role-playing game where you talk to a few people in a Hub world advancing the storyline through conversation. The design and purpose of these levels seem like nothing more than an excuse to get more play time out of the game. Making things worse is the fact that you can’t skip through these god awful cut-scenes of dialog. No skipping is allowed in Sonic Unleashed which is a bit surprising given how lengthily some of them can be. Even Sonic faithful will likely bail out in these segments. The make the game really hard to sit through while you wait for the right trigger so you can move onto the action. Sonic doesn't need to be RPG, all we want is speed.
Bark at the Moon
Now you might think I am just being overly hard on the Warehog aspect of Sonic Unleashed, however they are really bad and wouldn’t be acceptable as its own standalone game. The combat is simplified down to a few buttons which helps make it accessible, but not fun. The response time and animations between are few and far between and everything falls into a repetitive run-around. The enemies are generic and need no strategy to defeat them at all. This section which can last six times as long as the daytime levels are dragged on and boring. Besides fighting, the Warehog will have to scale walls, jump across crevasses, climb up polls and other various platforming excursuses. The level of the platforming is on par with the combat which isn’t saying much. I don’t want to bash the game, but this time it is unavoidable.
Attention: Genesis Boot Camp Needed
What is there to love in Sonic Unleashed? Unfortunately not a whole lot. I truly was excited to jump into this new Sonic experience after watching a the game in its full motion a little earlier in the year. I know see why the Warehog was keep locked up. I think Eggman is to blame for unlocking this unforgivable beast that has turned what could have been a half-way decent game into something that is ultimately forgettable. A little focus and a Genesis boot camp is needed. Lets get Sonic back to his precarious self.
Sonic Unleashed: Dissociative Identity Disorder is 1/3 fun and 2/3 garbage. It's a shame because Sonic Unleashed starts out strong with an impressive opening movie along with a cool introductory level. This only lasts for a short moment, then you will be driven completely mad an hour later from sitting through unnecessary dialog sequences and mindnumbing beat em' up levels. Team Sonic should have never left the beast out of his cage! The stretchy arms fur ball version of our beloved hedgehog is an abomination that never be spoke of again, lock that beast up! This is only one half of the bad, the other half comes in with some ill produced adventure sequences that carry on a declining landslide of a storyline. Sonic Unleashed had promise, and actually part of the game is pretty decent, but its too bad the entire game wasn't completed with the mindset of "Day" Sonic.
Sorry Sonic, gamers pass on this one.
Gameplay:4.5, Graphics:6.5, Sound:4, Innovation:3.5, Mojo:4 Final: 4.5 / 10
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 12.12.08