Review by radred2004

Reviewed: 01/20/09 | Updated: 04/16/10

"Were" 's Sonic?

Before I rate this game I just want to say I am a long-time Sonic fan and I was not too pleased with the release of the werehog. I did not think it fit Sonic’s character and I feel it was biased in Sonic Unleashed. There was a deal more night levels, which were also longer than day levels. It seemed to me like Sonic Team took a long famed character known for more than 15 years and changed it into a ferocious beast. No, he’s not evil, but he’s not the Sonic we knew and loved. It has completely changed his form and style of gameplay. It really hurts to see Sonic this way. Also, it’s completely random. Where did the werewolf come from? Is that the answer to ever-repetitive Mario Galaxy’s Mario bee suit? It does not fit Sonic. Sonic was good enough in his natural form and as Super Sonic for a bonus.

I miss the old days of Sonic, the days where I could enjoy Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. This game does not have that old Sonic “feel” that the others used to have. No, it’s not a bad game, but nor is it a great one. This nowhere matches Sonic’s best. To be honest, I thought Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic Heroes, Sonic Rush Adventure, and Sonic Chronicles: A Dark Brotherhood captivated my attention more.

One reason I have always loved Sonic was not for its gameplay, or its speed, but its great luring stories that make the game fun. That is why Sonic Adventure 2 Battle is my favorite game to this date. It’s story was fun, epic, yet simple. Sure, the original Sonics did not have a story, but, they were fun in their own way stopping Dr. Robotnik each level. Sonic Unleashed just does not feel the same…

Story: 7/10
The story isn’t horrible, but there is not much action other than the beginning. Also, there are not many character emotions, which we have seen in previous games (Shadow falling for Maria, Amy chasing Sonic, Knuckles getting hot-headed). Most of the former characters are not in this game and Sonic is rather quite bland, not acting as cool as he normally is (and why should he when there is no real reason or characters to make him feel cool?). Chip bringing a lot of energy is really the only emotion this game offers. Amy rarely even falls for Sonic, she just helps out the professor instead…

Anyway, the story starts out when Sonic is battling Eggman aboard one of Eggman’s ships. This beginning video was great, I absolutely loved it, but after that, the action is gone. Sonic gets crushed by Eggman, Dark Gaia is released and Sonic obtains his new form: the “infamous” werehog. According to the legend, Dark Gaia splits up the world into seven continents and has made people more heartless at night. Upon release from Eggman’s ship, Sonic meets up with a new character named Chip. Chip tags along with Sonic and helps him purify the emeralds in the seven temples, in order to bring the world back into one piece.

Sounds: 5/10
The sound was not as great in this Sonic game. Chip’s voice is quite annoying and you hear it quite often. After awhile, you get sick of hearing it. It’s not that bad, but when repetitive, it can get on your nerves.

Another problem I had was the music. What happened to the good old music like “Live and Learn” or even “Seven Rings in Hand”? Even the classics had great music in zones like Hilltop Zone, Green Hill Zone, and Marble Zone. This game has not had a notable tune I can recall. The music isn’t bad, but again, it is a downgrade from previous Sonic games. The tunes are not as catchy. And I absolutely dislike that jazzy mix every time you face enemies in the werehog mode. Not only is it annoying, it forewarns a dull battle to come. Which leads me to gameplay…

Gameplay overall: 5/10
The gameplay for this game is great in some areas, and is horrible in others. It would be unfair to rate it all at once because day and night are like two completely different games. I will rate these separately, but first, I must inform that traveling the worlds and talking to people in the towns is boring, not even informative, and it offers no fun factor at all. The user is forced to talk to people to get items like a tablet to open the shrine. I see no point in it though. This itself lowers the gameplay as well, yet, a 5 for gameplay for this game is quite generous.

It would have been ten times better to make it like a free-roam such as Sonic Adventure. In Sonic Adventure, it actually had more meaning because you could walk around and actually do missions and the actions yourself. In Sonic Unleashed you only talk to people and it is no more than a waste of time.

By the way, I used a Gamecube controller the whole time. I am not “pro” towards the Wiimote, and I feel the Gamecube controller is much easier to use.

Night levels: 4/10
As mentioned before, the werehog was not Sonic-like, at least in my opinion. Bringing him into the game hurt it more than it helped it. I honestly tried to like the werewolf, I honestly did. At first, it seemed like Sonic was playing a Halloween party and dressing up. That’s how bad it hurt Sonic’s image, at least in my opinion. But when I got to play the game, it was only worse. I will not refer to the werehog as Sonic, or even Were-Sonic, it will just be called the werehog.

I give Sonic Team credit for trying to make a platformer, but I will not say it is a good one. Certain times the werehog needs to jump or do a long jump. The only way he can do a long jump is by running (pushing forward twice) then by jumping (or double jumping). The problem with the jumping is that it is uncontrolled. It is hard to make the werehog run, and when he finally does he runs too fast. Often, when you try to edge near cliffs to make small jumps, the werehog will break into it’s run speed and fall off the cliff. It is frustrating and irritating. If you don’t believe me, try jumping in Adabat, that’s where it happened the most. You lose countless, cheap lives this way.

For my final rant, I will say the attack scheme is not great at all, nor is the defense. Some of the enemies are tougher than bosses. For example, those electric wizards, they fly around and shock you and it’s so hard to attack them because they disappear and when you press the L or R buttons, you sometimes jump right through them (or so it seems). Fighting them is harder than the phoenix boss in my opinion. It’s ridiculous.

Day levels: 6/10
This is the good part of the game. Notice I said good, and not “great”. It’s good. The problem is that the Sonic levels sometimes move too fast and you cannot always see the land in front of you, resulting in cheap deaths in water. Once you learn the level, it is not so bad anymore, but it still moves very fast.

Also, some of these levels are way too short. They are greatly overshadowed by the ever-long werehog levels. If these levels were the only ones in the game, I’d have a passion to actually want to finish playing this game. Yet, these levels are still not perfect. The Sonic levels in Sonic Adventure and Adventure 2 are still ten times better in action. These levels are too speed-based; there isn’t a whole lot of action. They are based off of trial and error: You either know how to beat the level, or you die, only to do the same boring thing over again.

One other thing I disliked was making the ring collecting and time attack levels mandatory. These levels were always there in previous games, but rarely were they mandatory (if at all). Not only are these levels not fun, they have nothing to do towards the story. They are just a challenge for a medal, nothing more towards the story.

Still it’s more fun than the werehog levels, or saving a helpless princess in Mario Galaxy for the umpteenth time.

Graphics: 9/10
I know I’ve mentioned a lot already, so I’ll make this short and sweet. The graphics were great, but better in the day levels. They were just so much prettier. I guess it fits because those levels were so much better, and not actually gloomy like the other half of the game I know.

Overall: 5.8/10 rounds to 6/10
Originally, I gave this game a 7, but I chipped off a point because I did not think it was worthy of a 7. It hardly breaks a 6, but nonetheless, this game gets a 6. Honestly, I don’t know it can turn out to be greater than a 6, in any terms, because it was really not that fun of a game. The werehog was a failure in my opinion. It does not improve Sonic’s image one bit. I must give Sonic Team credit for at least trying something new, unlike, ahem… Mario saving Princess Peach. To this I give them major credit, but unfortunately, the game overall was not that great.

If you want to play it, I say rent it. But in all honestly, Sonic Rush Adventure is a better game and more fun. It also offers the speedy Sonic we know and love in several stages (many longer than Unleashed’s Sonic stages). However, if you can buy it cheaply, it’s not so bad.

I hope Sonic Team learns from their mistakes and creates an awesome Sonic game in the future. But if this is the game they intended as an “awesome” game, they are greatly mistaken. Well, it was more fun than Mario Galaxy, but compared to other Sonic games (I haven’t played Sonic 06 so I can’t tell you that one), Sonic Unleashed is a bust. I don't intend on trying this game for the 360 and PS3. I heard it's better, but the concept is the same, and the concept itself is not successful to me. Therefore, I tend to think no matter the platform, the game still stands as an unsuccessful Sonic game (if you even call it that).

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

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

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