Sonic Unleashed

Sonic Unleashed Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3WiiPS2

Sonic Unleashed promises to provide an immersive 3D experience whilst keeping alive the 2D gameplay elements and fantastic worlds that Sonic fans know and love.

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6Out of 10
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If the whole game was like this, Sonic would be close to his best.
If the whole game was like this, Sonic would be close to his best.

If the whole game was like this, Sonic would be close to his best.

Anyone who played a Mega Drive during its glory years will have fond memories of Sonic the Hedgehog. These days mascots seem to play second fiddle to general brand coolness, but in the early 90s the playground was dominated by Sonic and Mario, with sides most definitely being taken. At the time it seemed as though Sonic would be around forever, battling Mario to the bitter end. Then SEGA released a couple of doomed consoles, became a software company, started releasing games for all platforms, churned out a string of sub-par Sonic games, and made a game that starred both Mario and Sonic. The world was going mad.

SEGA needs to recapture Sonic's 16-bit platforming feel before it's too late, and while Sonic Unleashed tries hard, it's once again held back by game design that is at odds with what the speed demon is all about. What you have here is two games: one is an incredibly fast, good looking 3D racing platformer, and the other is a slow, ugly, overly simplistic brawler. You see, in Sonic Unleashed, the evil Eggman has unleashed a glowing pink Gaia onto the world, ripping it apart, but Sonic somehow got in front of Eggman's laser, causing him to change into a werehog at night. It's up to Sonic to save the world by reuniting the torn apart pieces, with the Chaos Emeralds once again being the key. While the opening cinematic that sets this up looks wonderful, the werehog always appeared to be what was going to hold the game back and that's exactly what's happened.

When playing as normal Sonic, Unleashed is a fun, often exhilarating platformer, with the camera dynamically switching from being behind Sonic to a more traditional side on view. These stages look great, reward replaying thanks to parts that can only be accessed once you've levelled up your abilities, and manage to capture at least part of what made the series so good to begin with. Sonic is also able to side step to avoid obstacles, and the spectacular rail grinding sections that worked in previous Sonic games thankfully appear here too. You also get some action packed boss encounters that whiz along at a breakneck pace.

The werehog ruins a very enjoyable game

The werehog ruins a very enjoyable game

The problem is that Sonic wasn't just about frenzied speed and relentlessly ploughing through each level. On the Mega Drive the series was a damn good platforming game, yet here you don't get that aspect. Yes, there's jumping from platform to platform, but it feels forced and gets in the way of the fast-paced sections. For all its visual splendour and solid 3D gameplay, we still can't help but think that a classic 2D game with massively improved visuals would be far, far better.

While Sonic's traditional levels are flawed but fun, the werehog levels bring the whole game down a notch or two. This mutated version of Sonic can use a variety of melee attacks in order to dispatch the many enemies you'll encounter. By defeating enemies you'll also charge your Unleashed meter, which when activated makes you even stronger. The main problem with these levels is that they jar quite terribly alongside the lightning fast levels. Beating up enemies, collecting items, moving items about and using your stretchy arms to cling on to distant objects is so different to the speed levels that it's as if you're playing two games.

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4 Comments

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kinggir's Avatar

kinggir

lol ur funny
this game blows. graphic wise its ok. but along the lines of its story line and its controlls it sucks.
sonic stoped being fun for me after shadow the hedgehog
Posted 18:38 on 18 April 2009
rorey's Avatar
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rorey

I dont know what youre problem is but i think that this game rox and you should get youre eyes checked if you think otherwise
Posted 20:49 on 21 December 2008
JediKnight's Avatar

JediKnight

Well, I have heard this exact news in every Sonic U review - Fast Day levels great, Werehog bad. I as SonicUK will be picking up this game since it is a better effort than previous years. At that point, I'll render my judgement.

However, although I would love to see the an expansion of the 2-D roots, I for one loved Sonic Adventure for the failed Dreamcast system. The graphics, spontaneous movements and overall feel was sickening -

It seems they recaptured a bit of this in the "day" levels of SU - but if they could have made Werehog more or less a "Super-Saiyan" hedgehog with insane speed, coupled with devasting moves...that might have given this game a better score.

I will wait and see.
Posted 23:32 on 28 November 2008
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SonicUk

As I expected. The 2d bits are good fun, the 3d Werehog sections poop. Like the review says its a real shame they couldn't make the whole game 2d with 3d backdrops and put some proper platforming sections in like Sonic games of old rather than simply running from left to right and jumping occasionally(although I would like to point out I'd take a boxed copy to show in my collection over a download anyday). I'll still be getting this as if you havn't already guessed by the name I'm an absolute Sonic nut and always have been since the very first Master System and Megadrive outings, but this ones more for my collection than for its gameplay, well the Werehog parts at least.
Posted 23:08 on 28 November 2008

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Sonic Unleashed
6
Out of 10
Sonic Unleashed
  • Fast Sonic levels are fun
  • At times it looks gorgeous
  • Werehog causes frame rate problems
  • Werehog is terrible
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 28/11/2008
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii , PS2
Developer: Sonic Team
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 1,309 168
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