Review by MirrormanEXE
"I'm too slow!"
Ok. I was REALLY looking forward to the release of this game. After being given trailers, it looked quite good. Almost like a return to the original Sonic formula that I love so much. And the Werehog transformation looked fairly cool as well. So, what went wrong? Well, where do I start?
Ok, this score is pretty high, because for the most part, the graphics are quite good. The intro to the game is gorgeous, whilst the in-game graphics are quite detailed, with a pretty consistent framerate.
Whilst going extremely fast, (which you do, sometimes) the game doesn't slow down or lag at all, and you can make some truly amazing jumps that let you gaze out onto well designed landscapes.
The only downfall here is some of the effects used during the Werehog sections for your attacks. They just look unpolished and ugly sometimes, such as the trails from swinging your arms. Good marks for this section overall, though.
Oh dear. Now we're going downhill. This was one of the main reasons I couldn't stand this game. The music is far worse for Werehog Sonic than Hedgehog Sonic. Every time you run into a group of enemies, (Every 5 seconds or so. I am NOT exaggerating) you are forced to listen to cheesy music that is completely inappropriate for something like a fight scene. I can't even describe it well. It's just Not meant to be there. Listen for yourself and you'll see what I mean.
Aside from that, there is the voice acting to consider. I'm a bit mixed with this, since it's the standard Sonic voice actors, with some new additions. Werehog Sonic sounds a lot like Hedgehog Sonic, just with a slightly gruffer, deeper voice. Fair enough. One of the main annoyances in this department is with the addition of Sonic's new sidekick, Chip, a mysterious flying creature.
Chip's voice itself isn't all that annoying, but rather the frequency and timing that he uses it. Chip's voice acts to narrate the tutorials, and it is incredibly annoying to be interrupted all the time whilst moving quickly and you're starting to enjoy yourself.
This is the backbone of any game. If the gameplay is bad, the entire game is bad. And the gameplay is bad. Half the time, it is extremely fun. This is the time that you spend in Hedgehog form. In this form, your levels are FAST. Just like Sonic games are meant to be.
This game uses the same engine as Sonic and the Secret Rings, just better. You can move extremely quickly, and the controls are far better than in Secret Rings. The Hedgehog levels are often flat out fun, if not slightly awkward to control.
So now we come to what everyone wants to know; what are the Werehog levels like? Well, awful. I feel as though the designers simply took Knuckles and redesigned him completely into Werehog Sonic, because that's the best way to describe the Werehog levels.
You are sluggish and most of the levels center around enemies ambushing you, forcing you into a beat-em-up scenario as you progress to the goal through a combination of platforming and fighting. Come on, Sega, no one liked the Knuckles gameplay of the Sonic Adventure series, so why are you giving it to us again?
Fighting as the Werehog is done by comboing left and right punches, with different effects if you're in the air and more attacks to unlock as you level up. Yes, you can level up by collecting a dark energy of sorts from the enemy.
So, even if the Werehog levels are awful, and the Hedgehog levels are fun, you must at least be able to look forward to the Hedgehog levels, right? Well, not early in the game you can't. There are tutorials everywhere, and they always stop your progress so that Chip can tell you how to do something that you've probably already figured out in his slow voice.
This is probably the biggest factor of me getting tired and not progressing further. As the game carries on, the tutorials will undoubtedly cease, letting you roam around a little more freely, but if you lack the patience for the tutorials, which last for a long time, you won't get there.
Hmm. A mixed bag here. Since I didn't get too far into the game, I don't know how the games story evolves or progresses, but what I did see was intriguing and made me want to keep playing. So for what I saw, it was a good storyline.
The story starts with the intro sequence. Sonic has invaded Robotniks (I refuse to say Eggman) space fortress and has overcome him as Super Sonic. Robotnik pleads for forgiveness, promising to turn over a new leaf. As Super Sonic taunts Robotnik for begging for mercy, Robotnik activates a trap, which drains Super Sonic of his energy, turning him back into regular Sonic and draining the Chaos Emeralds. Robotnik then uses this energy to fire a laser at the planet Earth, causing it to crack and awaken a beast sleeping beneath its surface, which Robotnik wishes to control.
As Sonic recovers, his body is half-transformed into a Werehog form, which Robotnik promptly launches into space along with the Chaos Emeralds. As Sonic crashes down to Earth, he encounters Chip, who has lost his memory. (probably from Sonic landing on top of him) Sonic scares Chip with his Werehog form at first, but as soon as the sun rises, he is transformed back into his regular form and gets Chip to trust him, promising Chip that he'll help him get his memory back.
I was really disappointed with this. Whilst the Hedgehog levels are fun, you only get one or two before being forced to play countless boring Werehog levels. If the levels were more evenly spread out early on, it would have been easier to cope with it, but it just ruins the game, making it unplayable. Another disappointing effort from Sega.
Here's hoping the next Sonic game will be a REAL return to the old-school system.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 12/08/08
Game Release: Sonic Unleashed (EU, 11/28/08)
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