|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 doesnt 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 youll crave the speed and excitement found in the games sunnier regions. This might have been less of a misstep, if the contrast between the two styles wasnt quite as stark.
In between missions, youll 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. Youre 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 dont really mesh with the rest of the game, which is very highly polished. The frequent cutscenes are an impressive treat for Wii owners whove grown accustomed to less than stellar graphical performance. Things look great when the scenery is blasting by or when youre 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, youll be shaking your left or right hand to deliver punches from Sonics 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.
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 its still not great.
CCC Staff Contributor