Review by blazefire

"Unleash your inner beast"

The Sonic Franchise has been nearly destroyed these past few years, the last good game being Sonic Adventure 2, and nearly everything after that has been from mediocre (Heroes) to downright terrible (06), Secret Rings showed Sonic still had some potential, but it didn't catch the attention of many. It seemed Sonic was about to drop dead...but a miracle shows up, in the form of Sonic Unleashed. Will this be the game that saves the franchise?

Graphics- I have to say, for a Wii game, the graphics look pretty impressive, heck even the the CGI cutscenes look pretty darn good, the character models look pretty nice and the backgrounds are pretty cool to look at (Spagonia comes to mind). Overall the graphics are superb. 9.0/10

Story- Unleashed begins showing the climax of an untold story which sees Sonic confronting Doctor Eggman, bounding around a fleet of spaceships, and transforming to Super Sonic, in order to stop him. However in a twist turn of events, Eggman manages to trap Super Sonic using some kind of ray weapon which corrupts the power of the Emeralds. Eggman then uses the Emerald's energy to unleash a powerful beam right towards the earth, which awakens a creature known as Dark Gaia from the center of the planet which has devastating consequences, shattering the planet into pieces; it is up to Sonic to solve the crisis by traveling the world, finding sacred shrines that will fix the Emeralds, in order to return the world back to normal before Dark Gaia destroys it.

Gameplay- Ah, the most important aspect of the game. Well let's start with the Wii version differences first. The Wii version doesn't have an Overworld hub like the 360/PS3 version does, instead we get a menu and locations to talk to people and progress. On top of that, a few daytime stages were taken out, as a result there are more Night stages than Day stages (hence more Werehog). Now let's start with the day stage gameplay:

Day- All you do here is collect things and run as fast as you can to the goal ring, using whatever comes in your path; speed boosters, enemies to home attack on to reach other platforms, and so on, so on. The camera at certain points in the stage switches from 3rd person perspective to side scroller, making it look like the original Sonic games on the Genesis. In this change of camera, you only go one way, much like the originals, however there are multiple paths to take, and they are optional and don't feel forced to take them if you want, some are shortcuts, some hold more rings or secret items, either way it's a nice...addition so to say. Also unlike the 360 version, the boost isn't "infinite" so to speak, the boost gauge is divided in bars, and each boost uses one bar (max. 6), and if you get hit, you lose 3 bars and rings (of course). At the end of the stage, you get the typical rank, but the Wii version is only based on the time it took you to get to the goal. The ranks are S, A, B, and C. You get Moon Medals from B and up. 9.0/10

Night- Ah, the part everyone criticizes for some reason or not. Werehog plays very differently from normal Sonic. The goal is still to get from point A to point B. However Werehog focuses more on platforming/fighting/puzzle than speed. Werehog can stretch it's arms to reach poles and ledges to reach other areas and keep progressing. On top of that Werehog can lift/smash certain doors, which could contain items or just simply paths to keep exploring around. Though the Werehog is a bit wonky at times, his run is very slippery and can cause you to make mistakes if not used correctly, so be careful in running with the Werehog. At various points in the stage, enemies will come out of the ground and attack our fellow Werehog. Werehog can attack in various ways and forms, heck even starting a combo with either left or right hand produces different attack patterns, so it's handy to check out all the ways Werehog can destroy it's enemies. Once an enemy is defeated, Werehog gains exp. which it's used to gain new abilities, and even more health and attack power. The Werehog also has a blue bar beneath it's health bar, called the "Unleashed" bar which makes Werehog more powerful, and all it's attacks are different, but much more effective if you want to take out a pesky group or just a simple tough enemy which is causing you trouble. The bar is limited, so make good use of it. At the end of the stage, you get rank, but the Werehog is a little different, you get a rank based on the time it took you to get to the goal, the amount of rings collected, and the exp. you gained in that stage. The ranks go from S to C, and you can get up to 3 Sun Medals depending on which tasks you managed to do (beat the time record, collected enough rings or gathered the sufficient exp.). 8.5/10

There are 100+ Sun Medals and 70+ Moon Medals, so getting them all will take up plenty of your time. Also in all stages, there will be hidden item boxes, which will give you secret stuff like tips, music, or concept art. Look everywhere, some of these are very well hidden.

There are 3 control types for this game. Nunchuck/Wii Remote, Classic Controller, Gamecube Controller. I'll make it easier for you to choose, go with either Classic or Gamecube. Nunchuck/Wii Remote is just too damn frustrating and not worth the effort.

Sound/Music- Rock on, the OST of this game is nicely well done, the voice acting is...ok (Werehog sounds like he has a nasty cough...or a very sore throat). And the sounds don't get annoying to hear, this ranges from both day and night sound effects. 8.5/10

Overall- Sonic Unleashed is a right step in restoring the Sonic Franchise to it's original glory. My only complaint is the excess of Werehog stages, but even that doesn't get very annoying, but I wished there were more daytime stages since those stages show Sonic's true speed and how hopefully future Sonic games will be based upon. Sega/Sonic Team is on the right track with Unleashed, let's hope they keep it that way, we don't need another Sonic 06 now do we?

Final Score- 8.8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/26/08

Game Release: Sonic Unleashed (US, 11/18/08)

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