Release Date: November 2008 (XBOX 360), December 2008 (PS3)
Happy 25th Birthday to my all-time favorite video game character, Sonic the Hedgehog.
I cannot believe that franchise has finally hit the big 25 mark, and also has a brand new console game coming called Sonic Mania, and another game that is being produced at Sonic Team right now that isn’t a mobile game. It will be good to have Sonic coming onto the 8th generation consoles and PC, at least in my opinion.
Before I start this review, I just would like to say all of you Sonic Haters please refrain from cringing at the sight of this game. This game was actually the start of Sega’s big re-evolution of the Sonic brand and I have to say it isn’t that bad as people tried to bog it down as and I’m looking at IGN’s direction on that one, a 4.5 out of 10 ? whatever.
Now that the preliminaries are out of the way let’s get started on the review.
We begin our story with Sonic chasing Dr. Eggman once again through his fortress to stop the insane doctor from completing his next evil scheme to take over the world . Eggman was putting up a valid effort in trying to stop Sonic from trying to stop him leading to Sonic having to transform into Super Sonic in order to lay the smack down on Eggman only to be tricked into the Doctor’s latest plot and the plot of the game. He used the powers of the Chaos Emeralds to split the planet into 7 different pieces so that he could release Dark Gaia from the core of the earth and build Eggmanland.
Sonic however manages to recover from this failure with a new ability and that is to change into a werehog at night, don’t worry though he remains his cool blue self throughout the game and he’s his normal self in the daytime.
Sonic later meets up with an “interesting” sidekick named Chip, who is suffering from temporary amnesia after Sonic fell onto of him in the beginning of the game. Despite how annoying Chip is in the cutscenes, he is essential in unlocking different levels in the game due to collecting Hidden Sun & Moon Medals.
The medals you collect unlock levels leading to sacred temples Sonic must use to revive the power in the chaos emeralds, cure himself of the werehog, uncover Chip’s true identity, and stomp Dr. Eggman.
Gameplay is different this time around you will have control of Sonic as himself in the day and as the Werehog at night. Like it or not you will have to play both sides because that’s how the game was made, after you unlock certain levels you’ll be able to alternate night and day to switch game modes.
The werehog mode while lacking Sonic’s trademark speed makes up for it in packing a punch in ways that would make Knuckles the Echidna proud. The Werehog uses a lot of fighting tactics that you can upgrade as you play the game making him stronger each time to the point where you could finish a level without pressing so many button combinations. His arms even stretch so you can pummel robots, and Dark Gaia foes at a distance. You will be platforming more as the werehog than you will as normal Sonic but that’s ok because platforming is the other essential part of a Sonic game anyways.
Daytime levels are the clear winner of this game. Sonic is fast again and you can use his trademark speed via a boost courtesy of the hedgehog engine. Unlike previous Sonic games, there’s no robots stopping your speed now because this boost creates a shield around Sonic that smashes through robots and snag nearby rings to keep Sonic’s boost power strong. As a gift to all of us that loved the 2D style gameplay, the game alternates between 3D and 2D modes when playing as Sonic in the daytime. I thought this was a nice touch by Sonic Team, and luckily it continued into modern releases like Sonic Colors and Generations.
Just like upgrading the werehog abilities, you can upgrade Sonic’s speed as well which helps because once you’ll max it out you’ll be racking up trophies and achievements in no time.
You’ll later unlock moves such as the Sonic Air Boost, Light-Speed Dash, and the Sonic Stomp to activate switches.
Sega also kept some replay value in the game by creating DLCs for each stage which I would advise you to buy if and only if you’re a true sonic fan or like challenges because the levels you download have spikes and speed hazards in the most ridiculous areas ever, it seems the developers love Kaizo style gameplay as much as game modders.
The game does suffer from a few problems particular in the button combinations. Sega has often mapped a lot of Sonic’s moves to one button but this was to the point where the wrong input can lead you to death. Sometimes you can have a hard time controlling Sonic too without the boost or a steady hand and the drifting in the game can be a bit awkward until you get used to it. The PlayStation 3 Version suffers from moments of frame rate issues which is usually far and in-between however still plays identical to the 360 version.
In a minor offense, Chip as a character in this game is a game killer for some people (Particularly Segageek) but luckily you don’t have to play as him.
I’ve enjoyed playing this game because Sonic was getting closer to leaving his rut in 2006 and staying strong as one of the finest icons in gaming history. If you are interested in this game I would say go for it, its not so bad and is worthy of carrying the Sonic name.
I give Sonic Unleashed an 8 out of 10.
(Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog is copyrighted by Sega)