Sonic Unleashed First Look

We get our first look at this speedy platform game starring Sega's mascot.

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Sonic Unleashed is Sega's latest stab at getting Sonic the Hedgehog up to speed on the current generation of platforms. The company's mascot has seen some rough roads over the years with a broad array of titles that haven't really worked to his strengths. At Sega's recent press event we were given a look at Sonic Unleashed, which is an attempt to go back to the hedgehog's speedy platforming roots. The demo of the 360 game showed off two levels and gave us a good idea of where the game is going.

Sonic Team is again handling the development on the title, but the Unleashed team is being led by Yoshihisa Hashimoto, a veteran member of Sonic Team who was on Sonic Adventure 1 and 2. The remainder of his group is pulled from various areas of Sonic Team and have all worked on different entries in the series over the years, ensuring a respectable amount of collective hedgehog experience. The game's story finds Sonic racing around collecting chaos emeralds to repair the shattered Earth, which the nefarious Dr. Eggman has sliced up with a new evil device. While this game appears to be thankfully free of a human love interest, Sonic will still mingle with people.

The two levels we saw were both set in Europe, the first being in Greece--the isle of Mykonos, to be exact. The levels were essentially long playgrounds for Sonic to run through with various side paths to zip along. We saw the standard running, rail riding, and enemy bopping, courtesy of Sonic's homing attack. New to the mix were button prompts during certain action sequences and more acrobatic moments, and a new ring energy meter. The ring energy is a new mechanic that is set to encourage players to haul tail and collect rings as quickly as possible. The faster you collect rings the faster it charges. Once the meter is full you can trigger a powerful speed boost. It looks as though the boost and button prompt actions will tie in to gaining access to different routes through levels. The action also included the use of water spouts to bounce along in certain routes as well. Our demoer also noted that Sonic will gain abilities much in the same way he did in the adventure games, but didn't offer much in the way of details as to how.

The visuals in the game are running on Sega's proprietary "hedgehog" engine, which has been developed specifically for Sonic titles with emphasis on speed. What we saw was a promising start with some stretches of impressive speed and camera shifts from third-person to more traditional 2D perspectives. The environments were tightly designed with a mix of enclosed spaces and more open ones with alternate paths. There were also a fair number of breakable items and the like on the paths that would shatter dramatically when Sonic turned on the speed. The incomplete game obviously had some issues with its frame rate, which fluctuated, and some of the camera angles, but those were to be expected given its early status.

Based on what we saw we're cautiously optimistic about Sonic Unleashed. Our hunger for a really good update of Sonic remains unsated, and it sounds as though the team understands that 2006's franchise reboot didn't do anyone any favors. We like the sense of speed the team is going for and the emphasis on just plowing through levels while bopping enemies and doing crazy leaps. We're intrigued by the difference in gameplay between day and night, so we're curious to see how that works out. Most importantly, we like the talk about Sonic only being the main character you play as. Some Tails or Knuckles action might be nice, at the most, but we're hoping the game stays focused on our blue hedgehog for the most part and doesn't boast a soccer team's worth of extra playable characters. Sonic Unleashed is set to ship later this year for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360. The game will differ between the two groups of consoles with the PS3 and X360 offering crisper visuals and slightly different content, while the PS2 and Wii games will purportedly each boast their own unique touches.

Discussion

289 comments
Link-reaper
Link-reaper

lol this game looks good due to being like a werewolf and all,but have seen the name that they gave it ?! its called were hog lol witch is probaly the best the sega company can do.it just doesnt fit....

clanker96
clanker96

this game looks awsome and the day and night gameplay looks good

nintmanag
nintmanag

I haven't actually enjoyed any of the Sonic games I've played. But they have potential, I'll give them that. Come on Sega, you can do it!

evviebear
evviebear

Ah, yet another Sonic game. I hope that it's an improvement to 2006's crud-o-rama for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, one of the best ways to play Sonic is in 2D, so I hope that the side-scrolling gameplay is better than the "three-dimensional" gameplay of Sonic the Hedgehog '06. I hope that Sega learned that 3D is not good, so the 3D gameplay had better be good. And I hope that you can play as Tails or Knuckles or Shadow or the rest, because more playable characters=more varieties of gameplay. Well, I'd better rent this when it comes out. Or better, pre-order...

KhargAtla
KhargAtla

Here's to Gamespot once again criticizing past Sonic games for including more than one character. Don't they get that people like Knuckles, Shadow, E-123 Omega and the rest. I think we could do without Vector though. After what the new voice actor they introduced in Shadow did to him, I think he'd prefer to be taken out of his misery... please let's just let him find the big computer room in the sky.

SkyRyu
SkyRyu

Will be another "okay" game...

Wetty01
Wetty01

chaos were time-wasters

ground-sound
ground-sound

sonic games shouldn't be about him all the time i mean the game's name is sonic thing but being all about him ; that makes me sick i dunno but i hate the way sega does it i say sonic adventure 2 battle was the best as well as sonic heroes but we'll see then add our comments

Tracey8969
Tracey8969

It looks brilliant! I'm a huge Sonic fan and I'm really going to want this game when it comes out and I like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle as well, and I have it for Game-cube. I like the part of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle where you can raise your own Ch-ao.

Darkmaster46
Darkmaster46

I Love Sonic Games. Two of My FAvorite Sonic Games are Sonic The Hedgehog for the PS3 and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the GC. Sonic IS Awsome and This Game Looks Like It Is Gonna Be The Best Sonic Game Yet. Hopefully It Is THe Best Sonic GAme. I Am Gona Save Up For It.

DarkSmokeNinja
DarkSmokeNinja

This may be the best sonic game sega has ever made

DarkSmokeNinja
DarkSmokeNinja

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

dreman77
dreman77

if they want sonic to be as good as it used to be, they need to make it like sonic adventure 2

LK9988
LK9988

I'm almost TOO excited for this game's release! it seems that sonic's back! just from the 90s and brought up to-date with our "futuristic" consoles! ( this is goooooood)

codypeddle
codypeddle

hopefully its like the sonic adventure 1 and 2 and the genensis games cuz those games were the best sonic games so far

canana
canana

I will pass this one.

canana
canana

I will pass this one.

grambyte
grambyte

I wonder, I wa-wa-wa-wa wonder.... Will it.... be good.... or bad.....

Fatapuss
Fatapuss

Brinca I agree and i think that the ps2 is going to stop after this year

BRINCA
BRINCA

W T F they have it for the ps2 and ps3 man when are they gonna let ps2 die i mean just put it for the wii and thats it -_-

gamah_killah
gamah_killah

Hopefully this won't disappoint. This will be slightly on 2D gameplay, and 2D gameplay of Sonic was always my favorite Sonic game

ultra-chidori
ultra-chidori

This game I'm pre ordering it. Sonic unleashed is gunna be so epic you will wet yourself.

dexter111344
dexter111344

The Genesis games and the DS games have been the only truly good games of Sonic. Hopefully this won't just be another meh 3D Sonic.

Strife88
Strife88

This could be the best Sonic game, other than the Genesis games.

Jerell_rast
Jerell_rast moderator

This is the first time I'm actually looking forward to a 3D sonic game:).

neock2003
neock2003

I'll play it if it's good, but I highly dought it.

Cube_of_MooN
Cube_of_MooN

I hope this isn't another one of those mediocre sonic games... there have been so many.

SuperMooseman
SuperMooseman

This game looks great, but it reminds me of Sonic and the Secret Rings, which was a bit 'meh'. We shall see how it goes.

IIHitandRunII
IIHitandRunII

I hope this game is as good as it looks......

IIHitandRunII
IIHitandRunII

I hope this game is as good as it looks......

tgman12
tgman12

I hope this is going to be a good game. Hopefully Sonic can be really fast but not so fast you cant control him

Arxilla_uchiha
Arxilla_uchiha

I cant wait for this game to come come out! it looks so cool! ^.^

hawkfrost282
hawkfrost282

Are the controls on the wii going to be the same? if so then this game will suck.

nintoushiko
nintoushiko

I've refused to buy any Sonic game since Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but it looks like Sega is about to have €50.00 of mine again!

elozl
elozl

I hope this one gets to be as good as the Sega Genesis games

SaintNe123
SaintNe123

This is the "New Super Mario Bros." for Sonic.

Neosword
Neosword

Don't think I've liked a Sonic game since Sonic Adventure. Hope this turns out well.

SolidSnake35
SolidSnake35

"Two franchises that need to go away: sonic and tomb raider." Sonic has loads of potential though. If any franchise need to go away it's Mario. Those games are always so similar and, as a character, Mario pales in comparison to Sonic.

ZabuzaR
ZabuzaR

Hopefully this will give Sonic a good turn. Ever since the Sonic game for the 360 and PS3 I been having my doubts. Please prove me wrong.

Gergroy_
Gergroy_

why don't they try having people that HAVEN'T worked on other crappy 3d sonic games do this. Obviously these people suck at making sonic games, so get a new staff that hasn't been tainted be mediocrity and you will probably find they are capable of making a much better game for this old mascot.