Sonic Unleashed Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii | PS2
Sonic Unleashed box art
System: Wii, PS2, X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Sonic Team / Dimps 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 18, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

While brawling and exploring in werehog form is initially fun, and it introduces some unique control changes, it doesn’t take long before the rote smash-and-grab gets tiresome and begins weighing down the rest of the game. The more time you spend in the werehog levels, the more you’ll crave the speed and excitement found in the game’s sunnier regions. This might have been less of a misstep, if the contrast between the two styles wasn’t quite as stark.

Sonic Unleashed screenshot

In between missions, you’ll spend time traveling to different towns located on various continents scattered around the cracked planet. The rotatable world map is a nice touch, since the planet will slowly begin to reform as you progress through the game. Making pit stops in towns is a tedious necessity. You’re forced to needlessly scroll through short chats with lame characters to unlock new sections of town that reveal additional levels. Visually, these brief NPC interactions with townies don’t really mesh with the rest of the game, which is very highly polished. The frequent cutscenes are an impressive treat for Wii owners who’ve grown accustomed to less than stellar graphical performance. Things look great when the scenery is blasting by or when you’re mucking around punching the roses.

The Wii Remote and Nunchuk scheme offer a good level of control over Sonic in the speed levels. Subtle button pushes and a small amount of waggle allow you to send him drifting around corners, sliding under obstacles, hurdling at enemies, and dishing out his trademark buzz-saw speed blasts with relative ease. In werehog form, you’ll be shaking your left or right hand to deliver punches from Sonic’s corresponding burly limbs or flinging them both to deliver special attacks. Waggle also comes into play quite a bit, when interacting with elements requiring swinging or climbing. Like the rest of the game, the control styles differ between day and night, but they generally work well in either case.

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Plenty of fan service and unlockable goodies offer reasons to keep coming back to the game. The faster Sonic levels are a real treat, and Sonic Unleashed has many high points to balance out the lows. The real bummer is not so much the concept of the werehog sections as it is how these portions of the game painfully drag the rest of the game down. They pale in comparison to the more classically-minded stretches that come close to bringing back the charm and excitement of the olden days. This is a good, solid Sonic adventure, but it’s still not great.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Sonic offers a nice level of polish for Wii owners to enjoy.
3.5
Control
Initially interesting motion controls grow tiresome in some areas, but the camera can occasionally end up in awkward places.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The dialogue itself borders on lame at times, but the voice over work and music are excellent.
3.3

Play Value
The daytime levels are a blast, but they’re too short. In contrast, the nighttime areas are lengthy and sluggish.

3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Sonic maintains his high-speed abilities during the day, but at night he is transformed into a mysterious dark form with incredible never-before-seen abilities including 3D-action brawling and amazing agility.
  • Players accelerate to super speed with ‘Sonic Boost’ by collecting rings to increase Sonic’s ‘Ring Energy.’ Using ‘Quick Step,’ players will quickly move left or right to avoid obstacles instantly. Additionally, ‘Speed Drift’ allows players to rocket through turns without slowing down.
  • With its new propietary “Hedgehog Engine,” Sonic Unleashed enhances the classic 2D perspective with mind-blowing 3D stages. Other next-gen technology capabilities include global illumination, grid computing, continuous data streaming and an intricate path finding system.
  • Many unique and fascinating continents offer the player an opportunity to save the world in a dynamic, high-speed experience. In addition to exploring exciting unlockable areas, players dash through up to nine locations resembling real-life destinations including the Great Wall of China, Arctic Pole glaciers and many more.


  • Screenshots / Images
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