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Jun 22, 2009

Review: Sonic Unleashed

Sonic Unleashed
Sega, Sonic Team
Available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Playstation 2

Sonic is back again as the Sonic Team tries once more to revive the franchise that was king back in the days of 2D adventures. Sonic Unleashed brings a new element to the Sonic franchise with a strange day and night effect on Sonic and his world. Is this enough though to bring life back to this dying franchise?

The story behind Sonic Unleashed is pretty simple as Sonic is once again doing his best to try and save the world from Dr. Eggman. The only difference though this time is that Sonic has been altered a bit into the form of a were-hog. This were-hog comes only out at night and changes the way Sonic moves, how he reacts to things, etc. This basically takes the entire Sonic character, all of the abilities and such that he is known for, and throws them out the window, introducing a whole new set of things he can do.

The game is really split up into two different worlds as you have levels that take place during the day and the levels that take place during the night. You can get to these levels and such by going through the hub world as you please or going to the different areas, talking to NPCs, etc.

The game shines with the levels that take place during the daytime; as you get all of the good stuff that Sonic fans absolutely love. The sense of speed as you are flying around in the daytime missions is astounding, as you blast through the 360 loops in glorious brightly coloured environments. The game also does a great job of switching through various styles of play from 2D to 3D as you are speeding your way through these levels.

The game feels fantastic during these daytime levels as the game has been built to showcase the true speed and excitement that Sonic has always been known for. Needless to say, you will be on the edge of your seat in these levels as you need to have the reflexes to react to all the elements thrown at you. This is what Sonic is all about, and if the whole game was set-up like this, it would be a home run.

Unfortunately though, there are these levels that also take place during the night, where you have to take control of Sonic the Were-hog. These levels at night feel like an entirely different game as everything is slowed down to a dull crawl.

The combat system is pretty deep for these night levels, but the fighting that takes place gets very repetitive and the controls do not work all that well, as you will grow tired of them and want to get back to the daytime levels as fast as you can. I have to admit this really aggravated me. The night time levels come across as very average and without any real creativity. The only highlight to these levels is the boss battles, which I will admit have some real creativity to them.

In regards to the graphics, the game looks absolutely gorgeous especially during the day time levels with their brightly coloured 3D elements. There are no words that could really describe just how good the game looks when you are playing as the real Sonic, dashing through them at his sonic speeds. The way in which the game flows with its amazing sense of speed, and vibrant colors, it will have you have you awe-struck. The only downside to the visuals is that when there are many enemies on screen you will run into a few frame rate issues.

Sonic Unleashed is probably about half of what Sonic fans were hoping for with the release of this new game. Sonic Team did do one thing right here, and it is that they have proven that Sonic can be just as much fun as it was on the Sega Genesis in this generation of consoles. Now if they could just stick to a basic Sonic plus speed plus gorgeous environments formula for all their games and leave out all the crazy ideas like Were-hogs and King Arthur’s court then the franchise would probably be okay.

I think though this is probably the best Sonic game we can hope for at least for a while, so for the hardcore Sonic fan out there, I would recommend you check this game out.

Rating: 6 out of 10
Rent it!

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