The most dissapointing 3-D Sonic game I have ever played, decent but not great sonic stages and mediocre werehog stages.

User Rating: 5 | Sonic Unleashed WII

Sonic last few years of gaming have not been so great then expected. While I personally didn't have much problem with titles like Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic and the Secret Rings or Sonic the Hedgehog 06, they were certainly not for everyone like the sonic adventure series on the dreamcast and Gamecube. That's when Sega decides to change things by bringing us a Sonic RPG on the DS and a new adventure of sonic for all consoles that promises to deliver the sonic old school style we know and love. Yet, when Sega announced that Sonic was going to transform in a wolf named werehog, many started to doubt again. So, does Sonic Unleashed really brings an incredible sonic adventure we been looking forward to or is it just another sonic game that does not reach expectations?

The story for the most part is very traditional sonic, once again Dr. Eggman is up to no good. This time around Dr. Eggman is successful at the beginning of the story by using a special beam to break apart the earth and at the same time he is transforming sonic into werehog, then he launches sonic with the chaos emeralds into space. In the end, Sonic must now stop Eggman by finding the chaos emeralds scattered around the different continents of the world but with a twist, at night he will transform into werehog.

The story overall is not something really that interesting to get excited about, and is a shame because they have been other sonic games that have pull off a well developed story. Plus, if you enjoyed the presence of other sonic characters, then you are going to be disappointed because you only get a new character named Chip and the traditional Tails & Amy, that don't do much in the game besides talking non-sense. Plus, you also get some human characters around the different continents that simply make the story uninteresting.

Like mentioned before, the game features many human characters because you get to explore a city of each continent to find out where to go next. Apparently, Sega thinks the people enjoyed exploring Soleanna on Sonic the Hedgehog 06, and going through Station Square and other places in the first Sonic Adventure, so they included this city section in Unleashed as well. On the other consoles, you will go in 3-D mode exploring the city like done in previous games. Luckily, the Wii version is all point and click to figure out where is the person you need to get to so he can then take you to the next level. Still, it feels very pointless when you just want to simply go and run through the next stage.

The game kicks off with Sonic stages that only take place in the day, which are pretty impressive with great sense of speed, on the 3-D sections. The 3-D sections of Sonic's levels consist mostly of running fast while avoid different obstacles and performing special tricks along the way. The camera's point of view in these sections is like Sonic and the Secret Rings except you can control Sonic freely. Yet, if you are going to go backwards, the camera is quite a big mess. Still, these sections are the best part of the entire game and that should have been the entire game not just parts.

Unfortunately, Sega decided to somehow bring back some old school sonic spirit by putting the other sections of a Sonic level in 2-D. Which is not a bad idea, but these sections make Sonic run slower instead of making him go faster. Also, these sections are the ones with most obstacles and traps on the way, that you can only know their presence by falling into them for the first time. The 2-D sections that were suppose to give more energy to this game does the complete opposite, not to mention they share similar aspects in every level.

Even with those flaws mentioned before, Unleashed could have been a nice game to play for everyone with the Sonic levels alone. Yet, they decided to give some variety to the game by turning Sonic in a wolf named Werehog at night, to deliver slower-paced platforming levels. They also decided to include a lot of combat in these levels as well, in which most of the time you can't progress in the level until you have beaten all the enemies. The combat is pretty random by just moving the controllers around to make Werehog punch the enemies, even though it features some combos, they don't make much a difference. Not to mention the controls are sometimes unresponsive in these battles.

Other times where the controls are unresponsive with werehog is when you are going to grab a pole, you must press and hold the B button to make the werehog's arms stretch to grab the pole and then start swinging by still holding the B button, and once you are ready to jump, then you release the B button. It would have been better if you only had to press the B button but not to hold it. That's not to say the werehog part is awful, it has some really great platforming moments with some nice tricks and challenges but they are usually interrupted by obligated combat or unresponsive controls.

The boss fights during the day with Sonic are some of the most impressive in a Sonic game. The boss fights with Sonic involves Sonic running forward, chasing Eggman inside one of his robots avoiding all of his attacks and then doing a homing attack in the cockpit where he seats. The part that makes this boss fights really exciting is that they are in high speed non-stop. On the werehog, you get a more traditional platforming boss battle in which you must find the boss' weakness and attack it; these boss fights are pretty decent even if sometimes the camera gets on the way.

In terms of the visuals, Sonic Unleashed is probably one of the best looking games on the Wii and of Sonic as well. When there is a lot of speed in the 3-D sections, the graphics are really great and rarely cause any framerate slowdowns. The character design looks great in both cut-scenes and during the game, including some great detailed fur of the werehog. The levels are also well designed in detail with many objects and interesting backgrounds that relate to each continent you visited, such as the Great Wall of China in a werehog stage. It even opens with a stunning cut-scene that shows the potential that Sonic has to be on the big screen.

Sadly, on the audio department, they decided to change the style of music used in previous sonic games. During the stages, the music is more normal to hear but not inspiring enough with the fast action going on. In some stages it is, but in most of them it really isn't or just sounds very similar. When you are going to go in combat on the werehog stages it changes to a particular song that always plays when there is a battle in werehog except in boss fights, and it gets really annoying as you progress. The voiceovers are even disappointing on this game; Sonic's voice in werehog is really weird, not deep enough for a wolf and sometimes even hard to understand. Why did they have to change it? Sonic does not speak like a hedgehog; Rouge doesn't talk like a bat, so why make sonic talk like a wolf when he is werehog, now that makes no sense at all, they should have just made it deeper but it isn't either.

The single player experience is not too long or short but it features some extra missions for you to do that will help you unlock a few more things like cut-scenes, picture artworks, combos for werehog etc. But beyond that, there is no multiplayer experience at all; neither offline nor online multiplayer is featured in the game. And is a shame considering that just about every sonic game does feature some multiplayer. The sonic stages are good enough that you will want to play them again but not the werehog stages.

Overall, Sonic Unleashed offers some fun and exciting sonic levels despite a few issues here and there that prevent them to truly shine, but it also features werehog that offers some decent platforming levels that definitely give some variety to the game but also weakens what sonic is all about. The main problem with Sonic Unleashed is the idea to transform Sonic in werehog that feels unnecessary, if the werehog stages were done by another character and were less in the game, they wouldn't bother much. Sonic Unleashed is still a good game despite his issues, but it just does not deliver quite enough sonic thrills to recommend it for the fans. The only safe way to go is to rent the game first and see if you can tolerate the werehog stages because they are more of them instead of more Sonic stages.