PS3 Reviews: Sonic Unleashed Review

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Sonic Unleashed Review

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Graphics:

 

6.0

Gameplay:

 

5.5

Sound:

 

5.0

Control:

 

6.0

Replay Value:

 

5.0

Overall Rating:       5.6

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Sega

Developer:

Sonic Team

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Genre

You know, I'm going to start this review off a bit unconventionally. Last night, on the 19th, I was sitting and playing Sonic Unleashed and taking notes every so often. Some of these notes are critiques related to the game, others were just random thoughts about Sonic and Sega, in general. Eventually, the Werehog stages began to give me a headache, with their annoying and fidgety camera movements. So I turned the game off, went upstairs to get some food and an odd thought ran across my mind...

You see, I am a gear head. In other words, I like cars. A lot. I've been known to bore people with my automotive rambles. But that's just me. Naturally, I've been keeping a close eye on the entire Detroit bailout fiasco, and I'm always telling people how GM, Chrysler, and to a lesser extent, Ford, could get rid of a lot of their problems. So what does any of this have to do with Sega and Sonic? It's simple, really...Sega is essentially the videogame equivalent an American car company, be it GM, Chrysler, or Ford.

Much like the Detroit three, at one point Sega was at the top of their game with the Sonic franchise. Until it all turned sour, they stopped listening to their fanbase, and began shoving a whole bunch of awful game mechanics, game characters, and gimmicks down our throats. Over the past seven years, since the release of Sonic Adventure 2, the gaming press has vehemently expressed their disdain for characters like Shadow, gimmicky gameplay, and anything else that didn't fit the nature of the original Genesis Sonic games, or even the first Sonic Adventure.

Sega didn't listen. Following Sonic Adventure 2, there was the gimmicky Sonic Heroes, then an entire game dedicated to Shadow the Hedgehog, and then the biggest waste of code the Sonic series has ever seen, the next-gen Sonic the Hedgehog. All of the games were terribly flawed, but Sonic the Hedgehog was just an absolute travesty to witness on the PS3 and Xbox 360. And it's just like the American car companies, their products continued to gradually decline in quality, with the occasional diamond in the rough.

Sega admitted that next-gen Sonic was a disaster, and also announced that they've been working on an all new product with an all new, brilliant game engine. So now we've been promised a new Sonic game that takes it back to the old-school fun of the original Genesis games. And everything just seems peachy, right? Well, they were...until we found out about the Werehog. Sigh...Sega, will you ever learn?

So here we have Sonic Unleashed, an all new entry into the series. The story plays out through a series of pre-determined day and night cycles, which have an effect on Sonic being his normal self, or the Werehog. As you can expect, Dr. Robotnik (a.k.a Eggman) is at it again, and conjures yet another plan for world domination. By trapping Sonic, Robotnik steals the Chaos Emeralds and attempts to harness their power. This time around, Robotnik has caused a catastrophy that splits the world into chunks and unleashes a beast in the process. This beast has a direct, mysterious effect on Sonic, as well; so he must embark on a journey to restore the energy of the drained Chaos Emeralds in order to restore the divided world, and to end the mysterious hold over Sonic's body.

As soon as the game begins and you enter the first stage, you find yourself impressed. It feels like an old-school Sonic game; fast, exciting, and brimming with color. But things start turning around sharply for the worse. Suddenly, you're the Werehog and now you have to experience the other side of this game - the dreadful side. Essentially wiping out any form of consistency and momentum this game could possibly have, the Werehog levels are nothing more than generic filler placed in between the amazing Sonic levels in the game.

Sega recently tried to explain that had the Werehog levels not been there, Sonic Unleashed would only last a few hours, simply because Sonic runs at such an extremely fast speed, you'd be able to clear the courses relatively quick. And that didn't bother me. I'd rather have a short great game, than a longer game which is just stuffed with bland mediocrity to fatten it up. It's been a while since I've been this upset in a game review, but I take every failed iteration of this franchise to heart, because I grew up with it and I'm absolutely sick of Sega messing up each and every new Sonic.

Sega should've cut out the Werehog, not only is it a lousy character for Sonic, but it's also a poor gimmick, which makes Unleashed feel more like Shadow the Hedgehog, minus the awful vehicular segments. The Werehog combat is tacked-on, and features the standard upgradable combos and the ability to gain experience points to increase traits. The platforming for the Werehog levels is boring, as is the combat, and worse of all...the Werehog levels are just too damn long. Either that, or they just feel so long because they're so mediocre.

Then there are the faults with the game's presentation. Why does the opening menu song sound nothing like that of a Sonic game? It's more Zelda than Sonic. Give us an updated version of the Sonic 2 theme. Furthermore, why are there barely any moments of nostalgia? So many of these franchise remakes or rebirths are overflowing with nostalgia, and I was hard pressed to find any in Sonic Unleashed.

Next is the lousy implementation of the QTE (Quick Time Events). If you aren't familiar with what QTE is, you've experienced it frequently in the God of War games - they're the timed button presses. In Sonic Unleashed, the game makes copious use of QTEs, particularly during an air-combat segment with Tails. In the air, you have no control of Tails' plane, and can only fire when button icons appear with an approaching object. The problem here is that the images of the buttons are frequently covered/obscured by other button images, preventing you from seeing what else is in store behind another object. So what ends up happening is you're left to guess what button is behind another. Occasionally, the camera also creates a messy situation when it's turned to another direction and obscures your view until the missile or enemy is much closer.

All of this is such a shame, because the proper Sonic levels are truly fantastic and fun. If some sort of stage-select cheat emerges for the game, I'd suggest waiting and picking up a copy of Sonic Unleashed when its a bit cheaper just to experience the Sonic levels. Otherwise, don't bother trying to force yourself to claw through the awful Werehog levels just to enjoy a quick sip of something great only to be forced to suffer again - it's simply not worth it.

Visually, Sonic Unleashed has its ups and downs. It looks good when you're playing the daytime levels and all of the colors are popping, but it looks bland when you're playing the Werehog levels where you're exposed to repetitive stage design. For touting this all new Hedgehog Engine so much, the game could actually run a bit better, considering how long it's been in development. The framerate stutters, which is unusual because Sonic Unleashed isn't a terribly complicated game. Furthermore, the stuttering also happens not when the action is super fast, but in the town hubs. Why? And who in God's name approved the back of the box? It lists 720i as a supported resolution...there is no such thing as 720i! Yes, the immediate changes from 2D to 3D perspectives are cool and the cut-scenes can be nice to look at, but overall, Sonic Unleashed doesn't demonstrate anything spectacular.

The audio is a mixed bag here. Sonic's voice as the Werehog is laughable and very hard on the ears. Then there's Tails, who I swear gets more and more flamboyant with every iteration...I guess it doesn't help the fact that Tails is actually voiced by a female, either. The voice acting as a whole is just third-rate, with a few decent patches here and there. Additionally, the soundtrack is nothing to talk about either, your closest elevator has nothing on the tunes here.

Earlier in the year, I specifically said "if Sega can avoid marring the experience with boring apocalyptic stages, a gimmick, forcing us to play with anyone other than Sonic, Tails, or Knuckles, and avoiding disastrous cut-scenes, then all will be good." It's like Sega did this to spite me or something. They did exactly that, although not so much the apocalyptic stages. Regardless, in this adventure, there is a total of about 60 minutes of quality gameplay. The rest leaves me deeply upset with Sega and the hole they've dug for Sonic.

12/20/2008 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (44 posts)

John Shoemaker
Saturday, December 20, 2008 @ 11:48:57 PM
Reply

I know how to fix this franchise but Sonic Team will not listen.
I guess I will just go back to my Genesis games and cry a little.

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 12:09:17 AM
Reply

Give Grin (i think those are the guys that did Bionic Commando: ReArmed) and say hey make a good sonic game. And they'll provide the best game the formerly great series has seen in more than a decade.

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Aftab
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 1:09:29 AM

Hmm. "Sonic: Rearmed", in HD. That would be cool.

Last edited by Aftab on 12/21/2008 1:09:54 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 12:10:46 AM
Reply

What is this Eggman nonsense, it's annoying when they call him that.

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 12:42:12 AM

Me too. They took his Japanese name (Egguman) and implemented for the American games with Sonic Adventure and onward. I personally hate the name, and I will continue to call him Robotnik - it simply sounds far less generic (it means "worker" in Russian) and much more suitable for the character.

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Aftab
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 1:14:10 AM

Wow, can't believe you remembered that, Arnold! I guess I'm not that old (or you're not that young)!

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Akuma07
Sunday, December 28, 2008 @ 11:53:41 PM

Dr.Robotnik also sounds more badass.
eggman just sounds stupid, and kiddy.

in my opinion, it was changed to eggman to cater for younger generations, when they released Sonic X.

Which actually wasn't a bad show.

i hired this game, got up to the 1st werehog level, and then turned it off moments later.
even the sonic levels had their down moments, one smalllll hit, or wrong move, broke your momentum entirely. and some things just didnt work for me.

why cant they just work on the basis of Sonic Adventure. the last awesome sonic game. SA2 close behind.

Sonic Adventure was hell fun. i thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.

EXCEPT THE BIG LEVELS!

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Aftab
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 12:20:52 AM
Reply

Sad, seeing how the game had potential. They seemed to have learned from the camera flaws of the past, with the implementation of 2.5 dimesions instead of the inaccomadatable 3. Sega is obviously suffering from poor management, which is extra critical during financial straits.

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somethingrandom
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 1:07:01 AM
Reply

There is such a thing as 720i... it's just that no TV ever made supports it, and there is no good reason for it. lol

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Papa Burgundy
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 1:16:46 AM
Reply

R.I.P. Sonic my old old friend, soob soob.

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Qubex
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 1:23:30 AM
Reply

Sonic recaptured?

Q!

"i aM HoMe"

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Aftab
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 2:14:14 AM

LOL! Hopefully, Sonic: Resurrected!

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dlte
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 2:32:26 AM
Reply

ill just stick to the sonic mega collection. i just wish sony would get sonic 2 on the network. wii and 360 have it, why can't we? I actually considered getting a wii for the virtual console. It's a little annoying making my NES work (Super Mario Bros. 1,3 from time to time)

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Reccaman18
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 8:43:09 AM

there is a huge Sega Genesis classics game that features most every great Sega Genesis game including the Sonics as well as Streets of Rage. but it doesnt come out till next year.

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Vivi_Gamer
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 2:46:36 AM
Reply

The Sonic parts of the game are amazing! seriously, there just what you want from a sonic game, but the wherehog levels are just so appauling! I dread playing them. but like i said the Sonic parts make this a worthy purchase, i got mine for 1/2 price (GAME deal of the week!) so as far as im concerned i got my moneys worth with 1/2 a game, and this 1/2 is 10/10 ....... the wherehog half is 1/10... its really as bad as people have made out.

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dveisalive
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 3:04:09 AM
Reply

All SEGA Needs to do is just keep sonic in 2d with luscious 3d visuals, cause wherehog mess this game all up. I was impress with the Cgi movies in this game, that was by far the best part of the game it is only good for a rent!

Last edited by dveisalive on 12/21/2008 3:05:20 AM

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Scarecrow
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 3:15:25 AM
Reply

Poor Sonic
He used to be such a great character

I was ALWAYS more of a Mario fan, but still recognized how aweosme Sonic was.

Oh well...

You know they could PAY Nintendo to make the next Sonic for them. It'd work imo.

Then Sega could just expand on that in the sequel.

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dveisalive
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 6:33:40 AM

I bet if Miyamoto and his Tokyo team got paid to make the Next sonic game it would be epic, for Mario is just never running out of ideas etc.... Sonic needs to made by Nintendo now, even though I sound so weird saying that, and it is Sega's mascot!

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orangpelupa
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 5:26:31 AM
Reply

ah segaaaa why you do this, why not just make the run run run sonic again but in HD. rather than always making something new and resultin gin awfull game, sega need to remake their games in HD.

i know, there sonic in xboxlive marketplace, but the picture look bad in my LCD. if they redraw all the sprites in high-res, it will be awesome.

btw
isnt its Eguman in japanese because robotnik/eggman is look just like egg. then its called Eguman. (its hard for them to spell EGGMAN, so its spelled Eguman, and eggman written in japanese word/chara is eguman.....)

cmiiw >_<

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Naga
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 6:56:15 AM
Reply

BREAKING NEWS: SEGA GO BUST

Won't this happen if Sonic Team keep making sh!tty games. I enjoyed the demo it felt like a true Sonic game maybe until there is a werehog (Crash Ripoff maybe? Dynasty Warriors ) I'll be pissed of

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Riku994
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 7:44:46 AM
Reply

Ben, last night was the 20th...

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N a S a H
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 8:37:16 AM

Arnold write this and he probably did this on friday night.

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N a S a H
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 11:56:33 AM

lol oops, Arnold wrote this*

How embarrassing.. xD

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xnonsuchx
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 8:41:53 AM
Reply

I played the demo...it wasn't HORRIBLE, but just felt totally awkward. I think I woulda preferred an upgraded graphics version of the original 2D platformer to TRYING something 3D. I can see that they TRIED, but trying to make Sonic non-Sonic just ISN'T Sonic...if you know what I mean.

I'll still absolutely LOVE the old Genesis Sonic games. NEVER forget the ones you love! Minus when they added new characters, that is! BLEH!

Have I mentioned that I sometimes get a few of the original SONIC level songs stuck in my head? ;-) DON'T CRY, STEVE! IT'S NOT WORTH IT!

Last edited by xnonsuchx on 12/21/2008 8:47:40 AM

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Goten
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 9:03:05 AM
Reply

It's such a shame as well, because Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 were very good games (even the gimmicky levels weren't *too* bad) and if they had just made more of the Sonic aspects of them they'd have been brilliant. All they need to do is make a game with about 6-8 levels, and have 2 or 3 acts like proper sonic games, and let you play through with Sonic, Knuckles and Tails.

That would be perfect, and it's essentially what the portable games have been doing for years. Sonic Advance 1-3 and the Sonic Rush games are brilliant and the main reason why I don't buy Sega's "too fast argument". It's obvious that portable games can be smaller in terms of length, but Dimps (who've made these games with Sonic Team) still make great Sonic games with a good set of levels that last a decent amount of time and play mostly like the classics.

Last edited by Goten on 12/21/2008 9:04:40 AM

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GamerKid123
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 9:17:44 AM
Reply

I'm not a big fan of Sonic anyway, so i'm not fussed.

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Qubex
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 10:37:05 AM

Don't feel bad, it happens!

Q!

"i aM hOMe"

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 12:26:53 PM
Reply

I popped in the Dreamcast last night. First time that console has been plugged in in over four years. It's amazing how well Sonic Adventure aged.

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Aftab
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 4:20:51 PM
Reply

Ah. So, that's where you remember it from. I was thinking of the the original Sonic, that came out in the early 90's. I was but a wee lad (12-13 years old).

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 1:58:56 PM

No. I turned on the DC hours after posting this review. In Sonic Adventure he was already referred to as Eggman. I've been playing Sonic since the Genesis days - Sonic & Knuckles being my all time favorite.

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mk ultra
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 2:28:01 PM

also my favorite sonic

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Aftab
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 3:24:35 PM

Shite! How's that for a blast from the past! Split screen racing with tales, suddenly remembered. I understand now, Arnold. This must be a tough time for you.
My condolences :(

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LightShow
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 4:53:40 PM
Reply

create a 2.5d game.

That is the single most important thing they can do to bring the fans back. make it completely and totally flat.

*well not totally, but you get the drift*

Last edited by LightShow on 12/21/2008 4:54:06 PM

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tlpn99
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 4:55:37 PM
Reply

Maybe it is time to lay the poor blue hedgog to rest he has done his bit for the gaming society/community. Now I am sure some of the guys/girls out there will be like keep Sonic alive, why oh why ? We cannot keep the original game idea 2D great yeah! Next gen 2D still nooooooooooo he doesnt work as a 3D character so maybe he deserves a decent buriel and laid to rest.

Time to move on Snake has passed let Sonic rest also RIP :)

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Jed
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 8:28:31 PM
Reply

This is such a sad story. I didnt have high hopes for this game, I dont think anyone did. But to hear that they were able to produce some quality gameplay, and then destroyed it, that is just depressing. I guess I could go dust off the old genesis and sonic cartridges, and some tape to hold the power cord in the system. (tear)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, December 21, 2008 @ 9:03:14 PM
Reply

This review may have unnaturally affected Arnold. But that's okay. It proves we become emotionally involved in our critique. ;)

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Aftab
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 3:39:21 PM
Reply

Lol. Ben may need some space. But I'll give Sega at least one more chance before this gen is done. However, if Sonic doesn't make it by then...

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Aftab
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 5:45:55 PM

Sh*t. Sorry Ben, I meant Arnold.

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 5:30:55 PM
Reply

Oh, man...the Sonic and Tails bonus stages in Sonic 2 were AMAZING.

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Aftab
Monday, December 22, 2008 @ 5:50:12 PM

They sure were. The only problem was I had no one else to race against except for my kid-sisters. And all my friends had SNES's so it wasn't any fun to race against people who had no knowledge of the tracks!

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Xanavi23
Tuesday, December 23, 2008 @ 6:30:38 PM
Reply

Arnold, i feel your pain. I grew up LOVING the Sonic games. They were my mario as i owned a Genesis first. I loved them and i despised all sonic games that came after the Genesis years. I love your review, its spot on. Why won't Sega listen. I still like 'em alot because they were my first console and they served me well in the first years...so why can't they just do what we want. BLEHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

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stefanolio
Friday, January 09, 2009 @ 9:11:18 PM
Reply

sega.... you killed sonic
this is just another gay sonic game.

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stefanolio
Friday, January 09, 2009 @ 9:13:50 PM
Reply

@dveisalive
dude your right but nintendo has so many strategies in their buissness but the proble is that they dont need another happy-go-lucky character in their mark.
mario and sonic are damn right two of them

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DarkFang
Sunday, January 11, 2009 @ 8:34:41 PM
Reply

Very crude. I'm going to be honest and say that I'm pretty disappointed in your review here.
I have been considering whether or not to buy Sonic Unleashed, and while this review is turning me away from it a little, I would have liked to here about the positives as well.
You shouldn't compare it to the other Sonic games. Sure, this game might be lame in comparison, but how about the game by itself?
Let's just forget that its from the Sonic series for a moment; would it be considered a pretty decent video game on its own?

This review gave me very little to work with. I'm still undecided.

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