Review by Sombrero_Shadow
Sonic unleashes his inner beast in the best Sonic game since the Adventure series
Sonic Unleashed has some problems, lets get that out of the way. No not glitches. No not camera. No not music. No not loading times. All of those areas are covered and work wonderfully. The game comes down to the fact that not everyone's going to like the Werehog.
Sonic Unleashed is a good game. The problem lies in the fact that Sonic's stages in Unleashed make up a great game, while the Werehog makes up an okay game (not bad, just okay). If you can have fun with the Werehog, you will love this game hands down. Just for a heads-up, the Werehog is definitely more enjoyable than the shooting stages and treasure hunting stages in Sonic Adventure 2.
Sonic's stages are amazing. These stages are exactly what a Sonic game should be, fast-paced with a mastering of speed, timing, and platforming. These stages are so well-made in fact that if you think you can live with the Werehog you should just purchase the game for these stages. They rival even the Genesis and Adventure games in their constant quality and fun you'll have with them.
However, then we have Werehog. I personally enjoy Werehog. His game is a solid platformer/Beat-Em Up. His stages either are more platforming oriented or more beat-em up oriented. Overall the platforming ones are more enjoyable to play in. However, here comes the real problem of the Werehog. There's too much of him. Sonic stages have one stage and many missions to go with each stage (ala' Secret Rings more-so than Adventure series). However, the Werehog gets three individual stages for every continent. The real problem is how long these Werehog stages can take. It is not rare for a stage to take you over 10 minutes to complete with the Werehog. Times that by three, and you can be taking over 30 minutes of Werehog just to enjoy 10-20 minutes of Sonic stages. If you can find enjoyment in the Werehog though, this can be fairly easy to get through (though sometimes you may want to take a break from Werehog and play a few Sonic stages).
The music in this game is incredible. Ditching the 80's guitar rock from past Sonic titles, the music catches the best from Sonic Adventure and Sonic Rush and vary it with musical tones from different countries. Some songs will get stuck in your head, and you'll like it. On the subject of audio, the voice acting for the characters has improved greatly. Sonic's voice is more durable than ever, Tails actually sounds like a boy now, Eggman does a superb job as ever, and an Ice Cream Man is voiced by Dan Green. Awesome. However, some of the NPC quite obviously have the same voice actors of some of the main characters. Also, Chip's voice will sound weird at first, but by the end you may find it one of the best in the game!
The graphics are amazing for the Wii. The detail put into the stages are awestrucking at times, especially since lots of it will be sped right by, barely being noticed. Small details and interesting backgrounds the game visually appealing, even when you're speeding faster than you ever have before. The hubs look good, but could use a lot of work. They are merely static screens in the wii version where you click and point to talk to people. Instead of adding this tacked on feature, one feels the game could of been better off without them.
The story is great in a kids cartoon type of way. Hell, this is more enjoyable than most cartoons on these days. It starts off with Eggman and Super Sonic battling, but Eggman getting the edge, breaking the world apart, and Sonic as a side effect is turned into the Werehog. The creature Dark Gaia is awakened from the core of the Earth, and Sonic is hurled into space. Save by a mysterious green barrier, he meets Chip (who has amnesia) and the two set off on a world adventure to restore the Chaos Emeralds and restore Chip's memories (and stop Eggman, of course). The cutscenes are taken from the 360/PS3 version and look amazing. Also some of them are quite funny intentionally.
Sonic Unleashed is definitely not a bad game. It has the ability to be a great game. Your millage with it depends how much you like the Werehog and how much you're willing to go through with him to strike real gold. However, this is definitely one of the best third-party Wii games out now and the best Sonic game since the Sonic Adventure series, possibly even better. This game finally captures what Sonic's all about but adds in an unneeded feature in many ways. However, it gives us endless possibilities on what might happen with the franchise now.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Sonic Unleashed (US, 11/18/08)
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