Hey what's up guys my name is Michael Troina. Future GameInformer or IGN editor
I am a hardcore avid video game player, I love watching anime and reading manga.
My full walkthrough/playthrough's are found on my youtube account here
Youtube page I am also an athlete I play baseball, basketball, and football; I appear sometimes on my friends college sports radio show
I also blog a LOT (I'll put the links below) ranging from myIGN video game blog to my just Kingdom Hearts blog.
The systems I own are: SNES, N64, Gameboy-GBA, DS lite, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Dreamcast, GameGear, SEGA Genesis, PS1-3, Gamecube.
My favorite series/games are: Legend of Zelda, Super Mario (Bros 3 is the best but all the games), Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy IX, Uncharted, Marvel vs Capcom 2, Banjo-Tooie, Phoenix Wright, and Kingdom Hearts
Favorite animes: Code Geass, Gundam SEED, Durarara!!, Fairy Tail, Bleach, DragonBall Z
Here is my live stream video game account:
Twitch Here are my other blogs:
Tumblr KH Tumblr IGN blog Twitter
Wow, Destructoid is turning seven. That's like 70% of my fingers if my math is correct, pretty old for dog years and just old enough to play Pokemon the right way. To tell you the truth I haven't been on Destructoid for very long. About a year ago, on January 3rd, I made a Destructoid account. I made this account for mainly blog writing purposes, which is what I do frequently on here (this is about my 80 or 90th post).
See I had just gotten into the videogame writing..."game" (pun possibly intended) and heard Destructoid was a good place to promote your stuff. A top videogame site, with a strong community, and editors who put the truth in games. So, on that night I made my account and put out my first review. It was awful, I know, much like all first time projects; but like the saying goes "practice makes perfect." Unfortunately, I thought my blog was awesome and after I put it out the first comment I ever got on Dtoid was "Your blog sucks, learn how to write".
After that, I guess I officially made it into the online community to Dtoid. So taking that advice I learned from that user, and not crying because I am a man, I went on to write more and more. From there on I met great users like Elsa, PhilKenSebben, StriderHoang, Kyousuke Nanbu, and many more. My writing improved, as well as my knowledge for videogames and how to write them. From reading Jim Sterling's reviews, to occasional Mr. Andy Dixon shorts, to Dale "not Nolan" North I finally understood the videogame journalism concept...a little bit.
Destructoid has now become a place I check frequently, not only for videogame news but op-ed pieces and electronic reviews as well. Dtoid is well informed and sometimes puts out information either first or news that never makes it to other gaming sites and makes myself and its users, all the more knowledgeable. In fact my favorite review of any game of all time, might be Jim Sterling's Final Fantasy XIII review.
Not only does this review state what I saw in the game word for word, but he adds this twist that makes it fun, relates to the people who have played the game, and just plain out right. To be able to effectively convey your message, almost in a sense as someone with no biases or showing of hate and coming out for fair, even while bashing things; Jim may be a robot after all.
I just want to wish Destructoid a happy birthday, thank its editors and the master/founder Niero Gonzalez (who commented on my crappy blog this morning and ironically featured FFXIII! Click here for magic
If you ever need a guy who wastes his time making gifs for his blogs (which ironically take longer than the blog writing aspect itself) you know what user to find.
In a world full of fantastic games spanning from many systems, there are always games that are just complete disasters. These disasters aren't always properly labeled or in fact sometimes games you anticipate. Most of the time though, they are games you have never heard of and don't even know how they stumbled upon your collection.
Classic disasters like Superman 64, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are games you probably aren't going to buy. The only way you would EVER get them is if: A) They were free or B) They were gift and you were a young kid who didn't know the meaning of receipt and returning was.
I've played plenty of bad games and a bad game is a BAD GAME. To clarify, most bad games are things you can't even finish, you have to just drop them because they are just AWFUL; but occasionally a game can be fool's gold. A fool's gold game is a game that looks or starts off good, but the ending is so bad, it makes you realize just how horrible the game truly is. Before I name my worst game of all time, let's look at some games I just find disgustingly awful.
Final Fantasy XIII- Did you ever want a game where the story makes little to no sense, the characters are awful, and gameplay....well you could teach your dog or a monkey how to play this game while you drink a milkshake? Look no further than FFXIII. From L'Cie to Fal'Cie, to Lightning, to Hope, to holding forward and pressing auto-battle this snooze fest has garnered two more entries, due to FF first-timers and all the girls who find Lightning a strong-female lead.
Okami- Ever wanted to play as a God-like wolf wreck monsters ravaging a village? Sounds cool right? Well let's not forget you can only attack with your paintbrush, then let's throw in the amount of text of a Harry Potter book, the only problem is the story isn't as interesting. Besides its awkward brush motions that never work, Okami is a boring game, that gets unfavorable comparisons to a Legend of Zelda game when it is nowhere near its caliber of play or style. If you wanted to just play completely boring and mandatory minigames while doing your adventure and deal with the longest of load times then Okami is your game.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2006- I really don't have to say much but let's take the Speed out of Sonic!
Captain America and the Avengers! (SNES)- Back in the early 16-bit 1990's side-scrolling beat'em ups were a popular part of arcades and were being ported to home systems. While we did have fantastic entries like TMNT IV: Turtles in Time and Battletoads, etc. we did get this awful game game. Not only is the voice acting hilarious, but the fighting in general is just awful and this game is a complete joke.
Finally the game you've all been waiting for me to announce: Pacman 2: The New Adventures of Pacman.
I've had this game for as long as I can remember and I still don't know why I purposely put this game on my SNES when I have classics like Donkey Kong Country 2 and Super Mario World. Pacman 2 is...I don't even know how to explain it. You don't play as Pacman, you play as yourself..in a sense and you control a Slingshot to "guide" Pacman. The game still has the ghosts Blinky and Co. but the real laugher..or stinker...is just trying to get Pacman to do the RIGHT THING.
You use your slingshot or the D-pad to make Pacman "Look" and he either will NOT LOOK or go in the complete other direction. Thus the point of you controlling Pacman's actions are near impossible and pointless. It's more like the Pacman AI has its own mind and does whatever he wants but wouldn't mind the occasional clue from you the player. But, like the great game this is the Pacman AI will just continue doing what he wants, while occasionally PRETENDING to realize where the right area to go is. If youi are getting annoyed at Pacman, like you should, and start shooting shots from your slingshot at him; this will only cause him to get angry, in which turn he can do something dumb and get you a game over (like annoy a cat and die from the scratches).
I don't know who's sick joke this was to develop this game or why Pacman is a complete asshole who doesn't like to play his own game, but I recommend you stay away from this game big time. While it is a hilarious game to make fun of with your friends, the problem is you have to suffer first to enjoy the laughs with others. Second problem, almost no one has played this game so your jokes are kept to yourself.
Let's stop fighting and make horrible games. Agreed Ryu!
Mother 3, the last of the fabled and cult-classic Motherseries created by Shigesato Itoi, was released for the Gameboy Advance in 2006. This game has a long development history behind, originally being developed during the Super Nintendo days, as it was planned, but delays caused the game to change for the N64 and/or the N64 DD. Unfortunately, after even more delays to the game it pushed back, once again, and finally released for the GBA. Mother 3 brings us the character we all know from Nintendo's Super Smash Bros Brawl, Lucas, as well as a very powerful and dark story, compared to that of the earlier games. If you have played any of the former games in the series, the core gameplay stays the same, but few changes were added to enhance the experience.
Mother 3 is set in the area of the Nowhere Islands and roughly thousands of years after the events of Earthbound. The storybegins with Lucas, his twin brother Claus, and their mother Hinawa who are visiting Hinawa's father, Alec. After they depart from Alec's house, the forest catches fire and the scene changes perspective to that of Lucas' father, Flint. The town and Flint worry as not only as the forest has caught fire, but Flint's family is still lost in the woods. Upon saving the forest and attacking wild monsters, who are now running amok the once friendly forest, you find Claus and Lucas without their mother,*SPOILER*learning she died violently from a Drago. This was caused due to these mysterious Pig-masked fellow causing mishap in the forest. Hinawa's death leads to Claus going to exact his revenge the next day on the Mecha-Drago, Flint to break into a rage, and Lucas crying for many days.
Flint learns of Claus' goal and goes to stop him with Alec, only to be confronted by said murderous-Drago. Flint defeats the Drago, not killing it as its baby comes to protect its Mother. Unfortunately, Claus was nowhere to be found after the Drago's defeat, with only his shoes left behind.
Meanwhile, Duster and his father, Wess, the village thief and thief-in-training, are tasked to go recover this mysterious 'Hummingbird Egg' from Oshoe Castle. Here they meet Kumatora, the princess of Oshoe Castle, and one of the game's primary antagonist's Fassad. Once the egg is recovered, you discover that it was originally booby-trapped and Kumatora and Wess are washed ashore, as Duster goes missing along with the Hummingbird Egg. Now, the story gets rolling as Fassad starts selling these "Happy Boxes" to the village, creates the idea of currency, and changes the entire demeanor of the world.
crappy gif but look earthbound references!
Three years pass after these events and you take control of Lucas who has become a young man. Here you see the changes that have become of the town, with Pigmasks creating army bases, everyone less-friendly, and Fassad being praised as a good man. Now your journey can begin, as you experience this tragedy of a story dealing with death and the effects of consumerism on people's hearts and society.
If you have played any of the Mother series games you will realize the core gameplay has stayed the same, although it is still a unique approach to RPG-genre. If you have not played any Mother game know that like all RPG's there are two types of gameplay: over-world and combat/battle. The over-world is played from a top-down perspective, like that of Pokemon, where you can move around, talk, solve occasional puzzles and of course, encounter enemies. Enemies are displayed on the real-world map, so you have the option to avoid battle, if you are not detected by the enemy. Approaching an enemy from behind will give you a preemptive strike when you start your battle, and vice versa, as the same rules apply for the enemy. If you "out-level" an enemy, the enemy will try to avoid/run the other direction. A new feature in the over-world gameplay is that of the "Dash" ability. With dashing, you can sprint around the overworld map and sometimes crash into things, causing an event to happen. The dash is also the way to destroy lower-class enemies when you "out-level" them. Unfortunately, this feature is the only way to destroy weaker enemies and it does NOT give you EXP. In Earthbound, while there was no dash, if you were stronger than an enemy (by tons) they enemy would automatically die and you would get the exp and a possible item. The last of the overworld gameplay has to do with currency, which is not used until later in the game (of course) and that of save spots being known as Save Frogs. These Frogs are virtually found everywhere and are used as respawn points.
Combat gameplay stays familiar to that of the Mother series with non-animated sprites and a static moving background. Once again, each character has their own special abiltiies in which they can perform in battle, like Lucas with his PSI techniques, Boney (your Dog) with the Sniff, etc. Mother 3 has a unique way of attacking enemies, called a musical combo system. This system is used by tapping the A in beat/rhythm with the background music to do a combination of attacks; you can max press 16 times. Every enemy has their own theme, so the speeds vary. If you cannot do it with the music, you can also lure enemies asleep and use their heartbeat as the tempo for combination attacks. Of course, Mother 3 features the signature "Rolling Health" system. With this system, when you are mortally damaged the health rolls down, rather than you losing it immediately, giving you time to attack, heal, or even end the battle which would end the decrease of health.
If you were looking for a game with, not only catchy tunes, but unique musicat every turn then Mother 3 fits the bill. From great themed songs, to catchy enemy tunes, in addition to music being a FACTOR OF GAMEPLAY, Mother 3 is a game you never want to play without sound. My favorite tracks go from DCMC songs to El Mariachi.
Considering Mother 3 is an RPG and they do not necessarily contain the greatest replay-value, I would rate this game is a moderate-low. The game has a fantastic story which truly is a great experience and some of the plot-twists are fantastic, but may not mean as much the second time around. The difficultyof Mother 3 I found to be a little easier than that of Earthbound, but is a game people shouldn't take lightly.
Mother 3 is another fantastic entry into the Mother series and RPG's in general. From its heart-wrenching story, to memorable characters, catchy music, and addictive gameplay all fans RPG will love this game. On a personal side note, I loved the fact that your Dog (official name Boney) travels with your main party the entire game. I love when animals are used as an important part of gameplay, as a pet-owner its great to have a animal companion who is a major character. (not to mention the funny jokes that Lucas and Boney go through).
Great combat system
Clean, crisp visuals
We all already know about the PS4announcements, heck we practically were at the conference. From the new DualShock 4, to the "Share" feature, to the specs, to the "Eye", to the no backwards compatibility, to the everything else! The Playstation 4 has intrigued many gamers even with how little we know; heck we don't even know what the console looks like!
But, as we all are coming around to the next generation of gaming let's not forget Nintendo already has their foot out the door with their system out and running, the Wii U. It is practically a fact that many people do not own a Wii U (evidenced by the 55,000 sales over the past month) but does this mean anything right now? No, is the answer, in case you were wondering, to the previous question. The Wii U, while out for about three months now, has massive potential as do all the other new consoles, but you know what makes the Wii U different? Games...well for now.
See, the PS4 was announced with games such as Watch Dogs(multiplatform), Destiny(multiplatform), Diablo 3 (multiplatform), the new IP PS4 exclusive Knack, a new InFamousand Killzone: Shadow Fall, along with a few other games and announcements (like Square-Enix and Final Fantasy, etc.). But at the same time, looking at this lineup isn't going to make me spend the rumored $529 (or the other unit $429) to get a PS4, especially when a few of these games are multiplatform. In addition, we actually have no idea when these games will be coming out/announcements about their release dates and/or if the games are actually good, in the eyes of reviewers (if that affects your decision making).
A big thing for me is also familiarity of games. To clarify, it means that I know the game/series that is coming out and the next game of that series. While it may be early to speculate or even tease the thought of an Uncharted 4, seeing that at the Sony PS4 Conference would have sold me on the system faster than that of new IP's or games we already knew about. Nintendo likes to tease games a lot, take the Legend of Zelda Demo (both the Wind Waker one and the Wii U one); that alone was enough for people to start saving money for the Wii U.
For me exclusives have and will always matter. It's a system seller in my eyes and it's a reason why people declare loyalties towards companies. But this is irrelevant to the next generation of gaming because all systems will have their exclusives. The point is not on how they "promote" their exclusives (like how Sony does not) but in a way to tease their exclusives. This past Nintendo Direct, the internet was jumping for joy, because of Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a new Monoloith Soft Project, Fire Emblem x Shin Megami Tensen, a Yoshi Epic Yarn and more. Nintendo has effectively built hype past the Big 3 for E3 (the Big 3 is that of Smash Bros Wii U, Mario Kart U, and Super Mario World U[all working titles that we've known about since the start of Wii U]).
In addition looking at Nintendo's Wii U's short-term future, there are games like the Wonderful 101 coming out exclusively for the Wii U, along with demos of the new Super Smash Bros, New Mario Kart "U", and a new Super Mario World U coming out at E3, we have a little more to be excited for.
Look, before you get the wrong idea I am not saying the Wii U is better or PS4 is better, etc. In my personal opinion, to each their own. The Wii U will have its audience and the PS4 will have its own; but we're talking about gaming and the best buy for the holidays of 2013. I wouldn't necessarily give the PS4 the "3DS effect" that there are no good games coming out, when it releases, as we still need more information and there is plenty of time. But looking at the Wii U vs PS4 at a consumerism-economic outlook, something with more games and "now" use value seems like the better buy. The GamePad is a very unique device and when used properly is seriously next generation. The Miiverse is a new type of online communication and let's not forget the Wii U will be getting a few other exclusives like Bayonetta 2 and a special Rayman Legends level pack for free.
So come this holiday, what will I be looking to buy? A Wii U, not because I love Nintendo's first-party games (I mean who doesn't) but because there is a wider variety of options open for my Wii U. In addition, I don't believe my PS3 has become obsolete yet; in fact look at the PS2, it had about 3 more years after Sony's PS3 launch before effectively being "shut down". Another plus is that of my Wii games being backwards compatible on my Wii U compared to the PS4 not having this feature in both PSN and PS3 senses. Pandora's Tower is being released for the Wii this March and there are plenty of games that new to the Wii game owners may have missed, so there library expands once again.
Sora says PS2 is still relevant to Nobodies
If you don't want to buy a Wii U this holiday that is fine too, because the other product that has caught my interest more than the PS4 is that of the PS Vita. The Vita, while no price-cut is going to be coming to America according to sources, seems like an integral part for the PS4 and if they do not come bundled together (my personal prediction for the rumored $529 package) then new PS4 owners may want to nab their hands on that because it seems Sony is hell-bent on making the Vita relevant.
Personally looking at the Wii U versus PS4, I believe Sony has effectively stolen what Nintendo wanted to get, getting the "hardcore" (jeez I hate that word) gamers of the next generation. Nintendo's plan all along was to get back to that audience, which is turn why they are effectively using DLC and online-integration a lot more, but name-basis is ruining them right now and many of the Xbox-shippers are jumping to Sony upon the announcement, not even giving the Wii U a chance. I think continuing to use the Wii-brand name may have hurt them.....but. In addition, I think Sony's new 'social' aiming channel with streaming is a great idea that Nintendo could have done first, especially with that of the GamePad. While we do not know how this will churn nor do we know exactly how it is used, the possibilities just make the idea seem fantastic and is a big reason why everyone is ready to declare Sony the new "king" even though there isn't a war.
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
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance, the series seventh entry and in addition the game that celebrates Kingdom Hearts 10th anniversary. That's right the one thing we never knew would go together, has won our hearts over the last year, Disney + Final Fantasy. In this game we finally advance the plot from Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded and tie in the previous six games together thus pushing the story into its next stage. Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance (from now on referred to as KH3D) has to do with Sora and Riku obtaining the Mark of Mastery title for themselves, so they can become "true keyblade masters". This title was first mentioned in Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, where only Aqua was bestowed the title over Terra. Yen Sid says this title is one of the keys to defeating Kingdom Hearts main antagonist, Master Xehanort.
My friends are my power!
Much of KH3D's storyis done in "a dream plane" of the worlds, where Sora and Riku must find Seven Sleeping Keyholes (all a part of their test). From there on you visit the all but too familiar Traverse Town, with a new twist, followed by five new worlds, and a special surprise last world where everything starts to come together (and one that many KH2 players will recognize). Venturing through the worlds, you are "followed" by a mysterious hooded figure who is strangely accompanied by Xemnas [for Sora] and Ansem Seeker of Darkness [for Riku]. This character seems to be causing a ruckus in each world, releasing Dream Eaters, but his true intentions are revealed later on in the game. What turns from being just a simple Mark of Mastery exam, turns into a much deeper scheme that Sora and Riku must stop, without even knowing that they are a part of it! Without spoiling too much, all Kingdom Hearts characters make an appearance, from Xion, to the Birth By Sleep cast; but oddly enough the only character to not appear in this entire game is Kairi* In addition, those hoping for Final Fantasy mainstays in Kingdom Hearts, like Squall/Leon or Cloud, will be disappointed as the Final Fantasy portion was left out. In their stead is that of the popular DS game, The World Ends With You, who are used in Traverse Town, although don't play as major of a role as the Final Fantasy characters do.
A nice addition the game added was that of "Mementos". Mementos are basically all the videos from Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance that you unlock, but include the Flashbacks that happen during certain videos. You always have the option to skip them, but for newbies who are lost from the story and don't like reading the internet can always read about the past games in the Chronicles tab. While not as detail-oriented, it does answer a few questions to people who have not played former games.
The real big changes in Dream Drop Distance are that of the gameplay. Gameplay reminiscences that ofKingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, in that of using the Command Decks. For those not familiar with the Command Decks, they act as your physical and magic "commands" (say Cure) and are used upon pressing the X button. It is sort of a special attack that after use requires a charge time, with some faster than others. What KH3D added was something called "Flowmotion". Flowmotion is basically two things, a new way to attack and a faster way to explore more areas. Activating Flowmotion requires you to dash on a wall, onto a pole, or grind on rails. By doing such actions, you are filled with a pink aura and your speed dramatically increases, allowing you to search areas faster or jump to higher ground. The flowmotion is only active as long as you dash off more walls and poles, otherwise it goes away. Do not worry though because it can be activated at any time. Flowmotion attacks are activated when you press the attack button from dashing off walls, grinding, etc or by rolling into a larger enemy and tossing him into others. Flowmotion attacks do a lot of damage but also increase your drop time.
Another addition to gameplay is that of the Reality Shift. This is different for each world you travel, but as you press X and A you do something that "shifts" reality in the world. For example, in Traverse Town your Reality Shift would be that of a launch technique where you send either enemies or barrels into each other, but launching them into others. Reality Shifts always require the use of your touchscreen and can be done at certain times. (Some keyblades allow for more reality shifts).
To keep adding to the gameplay aspect of KH3D is that of the titular Dropping. Yes, KH3D really does include a Drop Time system, because you alternate playing from Sora and Riku (no real differences in combat versus that of Birth By Sleep).The Drop Time is a bar located on your screen that signals how much time left you have until you drop to either Sora or Riku. You can also freely drop at any time and enemies can also "damage" you to speed up your Drop Time. In addition, you also Drop to each world. Think like in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts 2 the Gummi ship where you freely fly and destroy almost everything in your path. Dropping to each world either requires you to defeat a certain amount of enemies, collect a certain amount of prizes, or defeat a boss.
Last but not least in the changes for gameplay have to do with your new partners, the Dream Eaters. While they are your enemies, you can unlock recipes to create more Dream Eaters, so in turn your enemies become your friends. You start the game with one and learn all about training your Dream Eater, not only through battle, but with toys and petting them. Dream Eaters help you unlock abilities and help you fight enemies. Dream Eaters also have a special attack, where, depending on your Dream Eater, they can do massive damage and protect you from death. The abilities that you unlock are something that all Kingdom Hearts fans know of like Combo Plus, Leaf Bracer, etc. with the help of the Ability Link. Ability Link's are built from you fighting with your partner and leveling up over time; the more you fight the more Link Points you get the more abilities that are unlocked. Like all Kingdom Hearts games, you can only have two partners to help fight with you, but you can constantly change your party.
Dream Eaters also have a special mode called Flick Rush, which in essence is a side minigame involving your Dream Eaters. Here you can compete with friends or the AI and send your team of three Dream Eaters and fight against other Dream Eaters, using the abilities that they use on the battlefield. By doing so, you unlock special points you can use to buy better abilities or items (to create more Dream Eaters) from a special counter. This area is found in Traverse Town.
The rest of Kingdom Hearts gameplay is simple RPG elements, such as leveling up, changing your Keyblade for more magic or strength and learning more action commands (such as High Jump).
The one thing that is always guaranteed to be amazing in Kingdom Hearts is the music. Music in Kingdom Hearts, is just fantastic, and really touches your heart (no pun intended). From hearing classic Disney tunes/songs, to Kingdom Hearts own original scores you will feel like you were actually in that Disney World.
For a side note, the World of Fantasia is probably one of the most well done levels, including music-wise I have ever played. The entire level is "soundless" except for that of the orchestrated tune of Fantasia. Attacking monsters adds more music to the already beautiful symphony and just playing the level and hearing Fantasia play brought an instant smile to my face.
One problem I had with Dream Drop Distance is that of the replay-value. While the replay-value is moderate-high; the fact the game does not start off with critical mode and forces you to replay the game after unlocking it, was a pain. If you want the secret ending, enjoy playing the game twice. For those who wanted to know the difficulty of the game, know that it is probably one of the tougher Kingdom Hearts games out there, about third or second, but still not as tough as Birth By Sleep (especially because Aqua stinks).
Conclusion Overall: 8.8/10
Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is another fantastic entry into the Kingdom Hearts series and is a definite must play for RPG fans and 3DS owners. From active live RPG combat, a great story, and tons of extra content, KH3D will make anyone jump ship into the Kingdom Hearts series and cry waiting for the games next entry, Kingdom Hearts 3.
From my personal playthrough I found that the Dropping was a very dumb feature, as three times (and twice during the final boss) I dropped in the very END of the fight and had to redo the entire thing because of this feature. In addition, while Flowmotion was cool for exploration purposes, in battle you can still be hurt doing your combinations (which you cannot end) so get ready to die many times because of Flowmotion.
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