Sonic Unleashed Review
- Posted December 16th, 2008 at 18:06 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 19 Comments
- PSU Review Score
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Ignore his Werehog alter-ego and you'll pleasantly discover that Sonic The Hedgehog is almost back on top form.
- That Sonic looks his best yet
- The new Hedgehog engine, which finally allows for finely-tuned controls
- The brilliant day-time stages with classic and fast 2D gameplay
- The camera angles that work against you
- The boring Werehog levels
Sonic The Hedgehog first rolled onto the Sega Mega Drive over 15 years ago and almost overnight became one of the most recognizable icons in the video game industry. With a colorful career spanning over several generations of video game systems the speedy, spiky-haired mammal has achieved impressive world-wide sales of over 38 million units.
With those whopping statistics under his belt, and whilst there’s still substantial amounts of money to be made, Sonic’s creator doesn’t plan on ending his career any time soon. However, you would have thought that, considering Sonic’s high profile, more care would have been given to the iconic figure’s next-gen debut back in 2006. An awkward control system, camera issues and glitch-riddled gameplay, however, led to much criticism from reviewers and resulted in a poor average score of just 46% on Metacritic. Despite the developer coming up with the excuse of having to rush the title so that it was ready for the launch of the Playstation 3, it was deemed to be one of the worst Sonic games to have ever been released.
Two years on and Sonic Team Japan are back with an attempt to revive the flagging franchise with its latest incarnation, Sonic Unleashed. This time though, it has no excuses to hide behind. The good news is that the developer has redeemed itself somewhat by returning to the roots of the series with the classic 2D Sonic gameplay that fans first fell in love with back in 1991. Sonic Unleashed isn’t quite the glorious return that we’d hoped for, but it is a solid addition to the series and one that boasts enough variety and entertainment value for it to appeal to both old and new fans alike.
In Sonic Unleashed, the story follows Sonic The Hedgehog as he attempts to restore the world to normal after his nemesis, Doctor Eggman, has split it into two pieces. It's a great excuse to offer us two different types of gameplay and in the daytime stages you play as Sonic The Hedgehog, where in classic Sonic-style you hurtle around tracks, launching off ramps, jumping off springboards and doing loop-the-loops at incredible speeds, all whilst collecting those famous golden rings. In the night-time levels, however, you play as Sonic the Werehog and the action slows down considerably as you take a platform-style approach, by clearing roomfuls of enemies, solving simple puzzles and fighting boss battles.
Unlike Sonic’s last outing on next-gen consoles, which exhibited a loose control system and some heavily-littered levels in which we were forever bumping into objects, controlling Sonic certainly feels much tighter than before. Despite the breakneck speed of the blue hedgehog it feels like the Sonic of old is back, unhampered by some of the shabby mechanics of its predecessor. If you can get your timing right during the infamous dash stages you’re treated to some periods of exhilarating and flowing gameplay, where precise button presses and impeccable timing allow you to smoothly navigate the multiple pathways as you jump, slide and launch strings of homing attacks with fluidity and style.
The smooth flow of Sonic’s dash stages have come on leaps and bounds since the series’s last outing. The fact that Sonic Team Japan has ditched the Havok Physics Engine and created a new “Hedgehog Engine,” which specifically caters for Sonic’s speed, helps profusely. It has also afforded the developer the opportunity to create 3D to classic 2D camera transitions and, although it’s the 2D gameplay that really excels - as you frenetically boost over dash boards and rail-grind across some brilliantly designed levels - the 3D switchover works well, keeping you on your toes by allowing a side-step movement so that you can dodge obstacles. There’s also some real-time interaction moments (QTE’s,) where you have a limited amount of time to press the button or buttons in the correct sequence allowing you take to a new path or avoid death. These moments keep you on the toes and add a further element of challenge to Sonic’s dash stages without compromising the speed of the gameplay.
Despite the obvious plus point of having the old Sonic dashing across our screens, it’s not all good news. Occasionally, the day-time sections suffer with frustrating camera angles that switch and change ... (continued on next page)
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- 1:05pm EST - December 16th, 2008
Who didnt see that score coming, actually better than I expected.
- 1:23pm EST - December 16th, 2008
The should realease the action Sonic stages individualy on PSN that is the only good part of this game.
- 1:35pm EST - December 16th, 2008
If you ask me, the Werehog levels are the only thing in this game that actually got increasingly fun...the only thing to fault about them is that they sometimes dragged on to long...the speed levels got monotonous after awhile with it's "auto-pilot" boosts and it's parred down dodging...then the fetch quests/mini-games!...<<<THAT'S what ruined this game...
- 1:56pm EST - December 16th, 2008
"The bottom line" and the overall score don't seem too consistant with eachother.
I played it for a bit the other week... pass.
- 2:03pm EST - December 16th, 2008
im getting this game even with this score.. cant stand not having sonic
- 2:06pm EST - December 16th, 2008
This Sonic game is to childish!!!
And Sonic speaking with humans its pretty odd.
And the levels are quite small and easy.
but its fun. :D
- 2:12pm EST - December 16th, 2008
i agree with @1
- 2:41pm EST - December 16th, 2008
they should've just left the werehog levels out and focused on the classic sonic gameplay, with more varied, robust, complex and detailed stages. If they just focused on that aspect and made it the best they possibly could with this gen's hardware it could've been something great instead of just okay
- 3:09pm EST - December 16th, 2008
Well i'm dissappointed but hey, its defenetly 10 times better than the last POS that dropped for the Next Gen consoles from the sound of it, i'm gonna give it a look.
- 3:26pm EST - December 16th, 2008
niggles? You sick son of a gun, you didnt learn you lesson LAST TImE!!?!?!!?
- 3:32pm EST - December 16th, 2008
Granted the graphics look good but I'm just not attracted to the "Sonic on planet Earth with humans" deal this time around with real countries and crap. I liked it better when he would go to cool stages like Labryinth Zone, Green Hill Zone, ya know. I'm a huge Sonic fan too. That's what sucks about this. I bought the last one and had high hopes but it was a mess. Now I have to wait yet another year again before (if they even) get there act together and make just a solid old-school Sonic game. Cross my fingers but I won't be holding my breath.
- 4:13pm EST - December 16th, 2008
They should just make somthing algon the lines of Sonic Directors cut for the gamecube, and Sonic 2 Battle, and the most important thing: BRING BACK THE CHAO GARDEN!!!!!!!!!!!
- 10:23pm EST - December 16th, 2008
Prolly getting this game when it's cheaper. Sad that they ruined it by putting werehogs there.
- 5:41am EST - December 17th, 2008
you know, i just picked up this game a couple days ago.
... why are the Werehog levels boring? I had a blast playing them. Saying the werehog levels are boring is almost like saying "i got bored playing God of War". The mechanics are EXACTly the same. Square for horizontal attacks, Triangle for Vertical attacks, different combinations of both yeild different combos (some way more devestating than others), and even right down to pressing O to grab dudes and swing em around, bash em around, or otherwise throw them. Right down to pressing O when an enemy is weak to initiate one of those context sensitive quicktime events for specific enemy kills. The arms may as well be the Blades of Athena due to the stretchiness.
The platforming is solid, and lends a little bit of forgivness if you screw up, press O as your falling theres a chance Sonic will grab the ledge you had once hoped to latch onto.
Ill give ya one thing though, they do stretch on for a bit too long, But other than that, the werehog stages are perfectly fine, and are as fun as any other game with this style of combat.
game gets an 8 in my books.
- 12:50pm EST - December 17th, 2008
well the first sonic-ps3 effort was p!ss p00r so I'm swerving this like a drunk-driver. Why don't they realise that regurgitating old IP gets tiring after the third and a half installment?
lordAlucard | sympozium_666
- 6:53am EST - January 3rd, 2009
I enjoyed the demo it actually felt like an Sonic Game but why add the WereHog that's just ridiculous
- 4:23pm EST - January 13th, 2009
IT IS WELL BELOW THAT SCORE, MORE LIKE A 2 or 3 THIS GAME IS BAD, PERIOD
- 6:33am EST - January 22nd, 2009
this game is too bad , I played this game , the new characters have a stupid look , werehog levels are boring and very hard , when you face down enemies by werehog the stupid music is turn on , I recommded to not sell this game .
- 4:19pm EDT - March 22nd, 2009
u21ask you just proved my point...the music is bad thing.I mean the werehog music is worster than a intro 2 sesame st.that y i loved sonic 4 his music.
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