Review by Hazukix
"Is this finally the revival of the Sonic franchise?"
Year after year, Sega launches a new Sonic title, and all the fanboys, claim that it will be the revival of the franchise...and every year the game ends up being mediocre at best. However, with last year's addition to the franchise, Sonic and the Secret Rings, Sega seems to have finally found some elements to make a good sonic game, and Sonic Unleashed is just that.
The game opens up with an impressive FMV. Aside from this, the graphics differ from day to night. During the day time, everything looks bright and colorful. Even character's eyes tend to shine. All the textures look great, even when running at high speeds. Oh, speaking of high speeds, it looks really awesome. Although the Wii version isn't running off of the "Hedgehog Engine", high speed running still looks great, and doesn't suffer from any frame rate slowdowns. On the opposite end, night time levels are a bit odd. The textures are still great, but what bothers me is how Werehog looks like in gameplay. He looks more scaly than furry.
I absolutely love the games main theme, it sounds like something you would hear in an Indiana Jones movie. The music in the game is all appropriate and catchy, and not annoying like previous Sonic games music tended to be (I'm looking at you Dino Jungle and all of Knuckle's stages in SA2). The sound effects were all down well. The only thing that bothers me is the voice acting. I'm not going to debate Ryan v. Jason, but some characters just sound rather bad. (CHIP)
The only thing that really matters, gameplay. This game's gameplay differs from day to night. During the daytime, it is a fast paced platformer, which shows off Sonic's trademark speed as you have to get from the beginning of the level, to the end of the level. This is by far the best part of the game. Racing to get to the end of the level as quickly as you can is incredibly addicting in this game. In levels, you will face spots where you will have to take advantage of Sonic abilities such as drifting to get through tight turns sliding to get through tight low spots(or crawling if you aren't going fast enough to slide under it). One of the coolest parts about the game is how it switches from 3D to 2D at times, which creates a great blend of gameplay. Unlike previous Sonic games, this task isn't hindered by bad cameras, sloppy controls, and glitches, for once in a long time; you can play a clean Sonic game.
During the night time, this is a completely different game, and this is where it gets the most criticism. Once day turns to night, Sonic transforms into a Werehog (clever,right?), which essentially your second character in this game. As Sonic the Werehog, you're goal is still to get from point A to point B, but now you have a completely different way of doing this. Instead of the fast paced platforming the day time is, this is a slow-paced platformer/beat em up, more reminiscent of God of War. Although the daytime levels are better, this is good in it's own right. The platforming is fun, as you have to stop and look around to find out how to get from place to place. The beat em up part is actually really fun, in addition to the standard combo; you level up and learn more skills that will help you make shorter work of the baddies.
A nice addition to this game is the mission system that was in Sonic and the Secret Rings. For each world, there are levels where you must do a certain task. Sometimes it is get X amount of rings in a certain time limit, beat the level without getting hurt, or just get from start to finish. The best part about this is that each mission has a different level set up, which makes the game not repetitive.
Story: 6/8(depending on your taste)
Once again, Eggman wants to build an empire, and Sonic has to stop him. Its a Sonic game so the story shouldn't be too deep, and thats what it does here. The story is about as deep as any Crash or Spyro game. This to me is actually really nice, because Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic 06 were so stupidly confusing, it felt as if they forgot that the game series started off as "stop the evil Dr. Robotnik". If you wanted a deep story, you get a 6, if you wanted something light hearted and simple, its an 8.
There are unlockables such as videotapes, artwork, and soundtrack that you find throughout levels, but they aren't the greatest rewards, unless you are a 100% freak, in which case you'll be going through the levels quite often. My favorite option in this game is controller setup choice. You can choose between Wiimote/Nunchuck, Classic Controller, and GameCube controller. To me, this is a godsend, as I felt the Wiimote to be unresponsive, and my favorite controller has been the GameCube for the past years.
I'm not exactly how sure the game is, however it does seem to be short. But the good thing is, the developers decided to add a way to see how much time you have left to get a certain rank in the day time levels. I'm not down with the game yet, but I have already found myself trying to get S class in levels I have beaten. Also, you can spend time trying to get every Sun/Moon medal in the game. These are essentially your emblems from the previous Sonic games. I'm not sure what getting them all does, but I would like to find out...I guess that is what's making me go after them all.
The main reason I give controls a 9, is because the choices of controls. If it was only Wiimote/nunchuck, it would've been a 7, because I felt as though every time I shook the Wiimote to do a turbo boost, it wouldn't read. I highly recommend the GameCube controller as all the buttons are well placed.
Overall, this game offers classic Sonic fans what they wanted for years, a fast paced Sonic game with solid platforming; however, they might be upset to find that half of the game is the slow god of war-esque game. The games overall experience however, is fun and addicting, you will find yourself replaying the day-time levels quite often, and if you end up liking the Werehog levels, you will enjoy the entire game.
Buy or Rent?
Buy this game if you are a Sonic fan, it is definitely the best Sonic game since the days of Dreamcast. If you have not played a Sonic game ever, or since Genesis, I suggest renting it, however, there is a good chance you would end up wanting to buy it.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/20/08
Game Release: Sonic Unleashed (US, 11/18/08)
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