Well, we all know of Sonic Unleashed in a good or a bad way...mostly bad. Sonic Unleashed was supposed to bring Sonic back to his glory days and make us forget about the awful games of Sonic and the Secret Rings and, hold on let me barf, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. Unfortunately, Sonic Unleashed has a dark side to the game....literally. If you haven't guessed already by looking at the front cover, besides Sonic the Hedgehog, we get Sonic the Werehog; a ludicrous idea where Sonic becomes Kratos from God of War (in terms of gameplay of course).
The Sonic Unleashed storybegins with Sonic storming Dr. Robotnik's space station in space and as per usual is destroying the place, foiling Eggman's plans. As he transforms to Super Sonic to finish the deal, Dr. Robotnik pulls out his ace-in-the-hole and uses a new device to drain the energy of the Chaos Emeralds and obviously Super Sonic's energy. This device though causes Sonic to transform into the Werehog and soon Eggman fires a blast, breaking the Earth into pieces, and sends Sonic flying through space, eventually crashing in some location on Earth with the seven Emeralds. As Sonic wakes up, he notices a knocked out creature. This creature has no memory of anything, so Sonic dubs him Chip and journey's to see if anyone in the area knows who this Chip character is. As the game progresses, you come to realize who Chip is, restore the Chaos Emeralds power, run into Amy and Tails (the only Sonic characters to make an appearance), and why Dr. Robotnik broke the Earth into pieces. The story isn't exactly a thriller or the greatest, just enough to satisfy a Sonic fan, with of course, corny humor.
On a positive note though, the graphicslook fantastic. The scenery all the way to Sonic, make this game visually appealing through its bright, vibrant settings. I do have to say though, as a long time Sonic fan, Sonic the Werehog looks UGLY. Seriously, I can't stand to look at him and neither could my brother. It's not that his graphics and frames are weird, but the fact that he does not look like Sonic really is odd. The music in Unleashed rids of the "rock age" that started in the Adventure Series and goes with more of a theme-matching flow. While I am not the biggest fan of it (I am more for the techno, 16-bit from the Genesis-Sonic's) this music has to be, without any doubts, his worst soundtrack. Seriously, it's more that I want to sleep if I hear the music when I am speeding through a level. Take Arid Sands Day Act 1, you need to get under 2:50 for an achievement, and the music does not pump me up at all. I found myself blasting Green Forest, from Sonic Adventure 2 while I tried to get the achievement (which of course I did AFTER I played the song).
There are two major components of gameplay in this Sonic game, Day and Night, otherwise known as Hedgehog and Werehog. Sonic the Hedgehog levels, are fantastic, bringing back the platforming from the old days, adding a new features known as a Speed Boost/Ring boost (people who have played Sonic Rush would recognize this) and the "Quick Step" . The Quick Step is a useful feature that is utilized when you are running behind camera mode in the Day Levels, where to dodge enemies or pillars; you press L1 or R1 to quickly move on this 3 plane runway. This gives the player more of a freedom to move at a quicker speed forward, rather than using the control stick to make Sonic go in a straight line (like in a racing game). The Homing Attack is not as effective as it is in Sonic Adventure 2, where it doesn't have to have a lock-on target and requires the use of the A or X button (jump twice). Now, you must press a separate button and the lock-on target does take a while, or sometimes targets something off screen, throwing off your Sonic-flow. Probably the only other negative aspect of Day/Sonic the Hedgehog levels is that of a horrible camera for some platforming areas and the "drift" aspect.
If you are a fan of Spiderman, God of War, or just in term beat-em' up in this new age sandbox type way...then you will love Werehog. Unfortunately, when you buy a Sonic game you didn't sign up for this gimmick. Werehog/Night levels consist of awkward platforming, dumb puzzles, and mindless tapping of Square or Triangle. I can't stress enough how bad the camera because A) you don't have the freedom to control it [as much as the game likes for you to believe] and B) it caused me to die so many times that I really just gave up on it. You cannot determine the length or height of your jumps when you are a Werehog and the lock-on (for poles, etc.) works when it wants to...so stock up on 1UPs.
Sonic Unleashed also has tons of useless features and missions. For example, their "level-up" system was you can upgrade the stats of Sonic and his Werehog form. For Sonic, you can upgrade your boost and speed and for the Werehog your power, life, shield, combat, "unleash". The overworld of Sonic, while visually appealing and an obvious ode to world-cultures, is pointless and there should never be humans in a Sonic game. You must basically talk to all these humans to find out what is going on or where to go next, but the good news is they have no idea...just like you! Sometimes humans can be exorcised (because of the villain Dark Gaia), sometimes they ask for favors, and most of the time they GET IN YOUR WAY. Even during Sonic's day levels, humans are basically invisible pillars to ruin your speed. This idea seems forced and was not very good.
Sonic Unleashed was a game I needed to play to fill my Sonic meter. Seriously, I skipped this title at the time because I was really disappointed by Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, but I eventually came to it after positive experiences from Sonic Colors and Generations. I had heard the level designs were based off the "day" mode in Unleashed so I took the time to buy and play the game. Unfortunately, the Werehog and bad camera made me nearly break the disc in two; I did enjoy my time playing a new Sonic game, because I love Sonic. The replay-value in this game is also a bit high, a positive, because of the extra levels for the Day, but at the same time they get repetitive and stale and you want to play a new game.
Sonic tried to make us forget Sonic the Hedgehog but brought more nightmares in his Werehog form. The Day Levels were a step in the right direction, as it has influenced new Sonic games, but casual gamers may not enjoy this as much as avid Sonic fans.
Fun Day Levels
Most of the features feel forced
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina