Sonic Unleashed

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a game by Sonic Team
Platforms: XBox 360, XBox One, Wii, Playstation 3, Playstation 2
Editor Rating: 6.7/10, based on 3 reviews, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 7.2/10 - 50 votes
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See also: Sonic Download, Beat 'em-Up
Sonic Unleashed
Sonic Unleashed
Sonic Unleashed

Out of all of the flagship video game series that really kicked off the medium in the 1980s and 90s, few have been challenged quite like Sonic the Hedgehog. The 2008 release of Sonic Unleashed was one that was supposed to help add something new and fresh to the series; a platformer that combined 2D platforming with behind-the-back platforming. For many, the development of this title was one that did not really pay off. It was not well very received by critics, though some did enjoy the daylight stages and the pace of play. Given the game is the best part of 15 years old, though, how well does it hang up if you were to play this PS2 and Xbox era title today?

A unique take on the Sonic series

Given the combination of 2D and 3D movement felt a bit weird, it is fair to say that Sonic Unleashed managed to put a lot of people off the series. This was supposed to be a long-awaited sequel to Sonic Adventure 2, but it plays nothing like the game in many ways. It is hard to find a direct comparison to Sonic Unleashed, as it plays so differently to anything that came before or after it.

The game was well-received at the time for its visuals and its audio, but the actual gameplay left a lot to be desired. Many found the game’s Werehog mechanic to be annoying and insignificant, and many of the gameplay concepts were panned. Really, one of the only endearing parts of the title was the daytime stages – other than that, there is precious little to love about this edition of the Sonic series.

For those who played it in adolescence, though, Sonic Unleashed might offer a nostalgia trip in the same way that other Sonic spin-off titles have offered. If you are looking for a highly polished Sonic experience, though, you will not find that here.

An interesting concept not handled well (6/10)

The main thing to note about Sonic Unleashed is that it at least tries to be outside of the box in its thinking. The day and night stages are interesting and diverse, but the night stages are not very fun. The Werehog gameplay features were poorly designed, too, and for most they just feel like a weirdly tackled on story addition that lacks any kind of meaningful punch.

6

Overall, there is not much about the game that is highly enjoyable. The level design and music are intriguing, and the visual still look OK for a game that came out so long ago. In general, though, this is one of the less well-appreciated 3D Sonic titles; the awkward use of 3D and 2D does not really work, either, so the whole thing just feels a little flat compared to other series releases.

Pros

  • Interesting take with the daytime levels and the pace of each level
  • Visuals and audio still hold up to a respectable standard to this day

Cons

  • Repetitive gameplay that felt confusing and often thrown together last minute
  • Werehog features were enough to put some people off the game entirely
  • Not enough freshness, with most key gameplay elements failing to land

Download Sonic Unleashed

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

XBox One

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Wii

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Roaming around at the speed of sound is the name of the game, usually. In Sonic Unleashed you will spend a significant portion of the game as a werehog version of Sonic. You’ll be slow and clumsy, much like the controls of this game. This was the game’s gimmick that was advertised to us as an attempt to mix up the Sonic formula but with such great day time missions that have you racing around as normal Sonic, being werehog Sonic feels like a sluggish mundane chore you mom makes you do to earn more videogame screen time.

Story

The game takes place after Sonic’s nemesis, Dr. Eggman blasts the world with a laser, causing it to fragment in his attempt to release an ancient evil called Dark Gaia. Sonic comes into contact with this magical dark evil, causing him to become a werehog at night. Your job is to stop Dr. Eggman’s evil plan and fix the world. Fairly standard for a Sonic game.

Gameplay & Level Design

Arguably every 3D Sonic game has had an issue with its camera controls and overall gameplay. You either are in the flow that the world has set up for you, or you’re stuck on the side trying to gain speed, only to be hit by one of the several chaotic obstacles that you often can’t see coming due to the camera pointing elsewhere. Unfortunately, Sonic Unleashed continues this pattern. But it doesn’t stop there, the game has you spend roughly half the game as werehog Sonic where you must fumble around poorly designed platforming stages along with simple combat where you fight mundane enemies. These sections of the game will make you question if the rest of the game is even worth the pain.

Best & Worst Parts of Sonic Unleashed

There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but first, let’s get the worst part out of the way. For some reason, the developers thought adding an RPG system would be a good idea. I’ve never met someone who thought Sonic needed an RPG system. It works as well as you’d expect. It’s a poor and needless RPG system, that will have you upgrading your werehog attacks and sonics speed. Why do I have to upgrade Sonic’s speed? Isn’t that the point of Sonic? He’s the fastest thing alive, but apparently, he needs to be upgraded. But wait, there’s more. They added hub worlds where you can do side quests and talk to pointless NPCs, I never spent much time here since it seemed like a rather useless area. But graphics is much better than used it's predecessor Sonic the Hedgehog 2006.

Beloved Features

Now it’s time for the light at the end of the tunnel. There is something special here for those who are big fans of the Sonic lore. There are plenty of secrets to unlock character art, character lore, and other collectibles. Added features like this are often missing from many big games today, which can rob fans of the chance to get to know the world they love.

4

At the end of the day, I can’t say I recommend this game to anyone, as far as actually playing a game goes, the only redeeming quality is the day time levels where you race around in typical Sonic fashion, with the rest of the game feeling useless, unwanted, and boring. At best this is a game for small kids who are desperate to play any videogame, at it’s worst, Sonic Unleashed is something you give away for free at a garage sale.

Pros

  • Nicely stylized
  • Good day time levels
  • Classic Story

Cons

  • Poor controls
  • Bad RPG elements
  • Wonky camera
  • Bad nighttime levels

Snapshots and Media

Screenshots

XBox One Screenshots

Wii Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots

Playstation 2 Screenshots

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