== SONIC UNLEASHED ==
Sonic Unleashed is yet another game in the series of Sonic games that seem to have been around for a very long time. Sonic Unleashed is a platforming action game and is the 11th installment in the Sonic series. The game was developed by Sonic Team and published by SEGA. This is one of the first Sonic games to feature two different types of gameplay events which include daytime and nighttime. This is one of my favourite Sonic games but on the Xbox 360 and PS3 and this Wii version of the game isn't as good but I feel neither of them can compete with the older classic games. The game does feature a story which is quite good as old favourite characters return in the game such as Doctor Eggman. This Sonic game is available on many systems which include the Xbox 360, PS2, PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.
=== STORY ===
Sonic is captured by Doctor Eggman who also does tests on Sonic which turn him into a Werehog which gives him greater abilities and strength at night. Doctor Eggman then sends Sonic into space which he then lands on the planet below. Sonic then meets a little creature who assists him on his adventure. Now Sonic's quest has begun with the help of old friends such as Amy and Tails. Sonic and his friends must now find a way to repair the emeralds and also find a way to stop Doctor Eggman and save the world once again in this exciting adventure.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
Sonic Unleashed is a little different to many of the Sonic games because it involves the old styles platforming where you start at one place and try to get to the end then there is also the newer style Sonic games where you race from one place to another. Both of these are mixed together to form the Sonic Unleashed game. The platforming is quite good in the game and does feel a little like the old games but obviously in 3D. Also in this Sonic game you can now fight with Sonic by doing things such as punch or even jump on your enemies but it all depends what enemies you are up against. Sonic in the day doesn't fight so much but at night when hes a Werehog he fights more than he does anything else.
The levels do offer a lot of variety because of the different things you can do. When you're a Werehog you can use combos to defeat enemies and special attacks. Whilst the Werehog is really good at fighting enemies its not so good at doing other bits such as running or jumping. There are tons of different enemies from things such as plants, robots to some very ugly looking creatures. Sonic can also ride pipes like in previous Sonic games as well as running along speed pads to gain speed and tackle the ramps, hoops and other bits.
The game does feature a few bosses as well which can be tackled as the Werehog or as Sonic depending on which you have to be. Sonic Unleashed also features a world in which you have to talk to people to find out information on what you must do next and where you have to go. Its a menu-based map system, where players simply click the appropriate area to talk to the townspeople and find information. There are a lot of items for Sonic to find and use and his good old faithful Rings are back. There are also extra lives to be found and other bits to help on Sonic's adventure. There are also power-ups that Sonic can gain for a limited time. All in all the gameplay is great and fairly varied depending on what time of day it is. My personal favourite is the nighttime levels because its something new.
=== GRAPHICS & SOUND EFFECTS ===
Both the graphics and sound effects are okay for the Wii version with the sound effects outshining the graphics tho. The game doesn't look the best on the Wii but it sounds really good to be honest. Sonic looks great in terms of graphics. The layout of each level is okay but its nothing spectacular because its a Wii game. I do feel the music to the game is quite good though and stands out more so than the actual sound effects themselves. The scenery isn't that bad but most of the graphical features to the game are a little bit of a letdown compared to other versions of the game such as the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions. The sound effects however are just as good if not better than other versions. The platforming sound effects are good but the fighting sound effects are even better. Overall the game looks okay but it actually sounds really good.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
I always find most Sonic games quite easy but the main reason for that is because they are aimed at gamers of all ages. Whilst most of the game is easier it does feature a few tricky parts and even a few tricky puzzles that may cause a little problem at some point. Also each level in the game varies in terms of difficulty and length because whilst some could last over an hour there could be some that last as little as 5 minutes. Also the controls to the game are a little awkward for the Wii. Overall the game isn't difficult but can get harder as you progress further into the game but its definitely suitable for most gamers and also the length of the game isn't the best and I had completed the game after just 8 hours but its the type of game you can play again and again.
=== PROS ===
*A mixture of gameplay features with two different styles with speedy Sonic and a Werehog Sonic.
*Some top sound effects that bring the game fully to life!
*Tons of enemies to defeat, tons of abilities to use and quite a lot of variety in the levels.
*A world which you can interact with a little bit like the Spyro games with people to talk to for info.
*The action the game offers is good with pulse pounding action and high speed running all the way throughout.
=== CONS ===
*The graphics are a little weak but that's no surprise because its a Wii game.
*Not one single multiplayer mode or online feature and the Wii version is the worst of the games.
*Could be far too easy for the more advanced gamers.
*The game is also far too short and could be finished in as little as 8 hours.
*Quite expensive for an old Wii game that's not the best ever!
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
So at the end of the day Sonic Unleashed is just an okay game. I have played all versions of the game and have to say the best is either the Xbox 360 or the PS3 with both versions being bigger and both versions looking better than the rest. The Wii version is still fun to play but it only offers limited fun and enjoyment. This is definitely one of the Sonic games that offers something new which is why I like it. Probably the first and only time you will ever see a Werehog Sonic.
I think the game has enough for me to recommend it. If you like any Sonic game past or present am sure you will love this one too as its Sonic and its fun and exciting at times. If you're looking for a good platform game on the Wii then look no further because this is it. If you are a major fan of anything platform then this is right up your street. The game has an age rating of 7+ and the game manual itself is quite average overall.
Sonic Unleashed is an okay game but many will be put off by the price of the game and to be honest I'm shocked this version of the game is roughly the same price as the Xbox 360 and PS3. The Wii version of the game is on Amazon for around the £10 mark which isn't too bad but for what you get some gamers maybe slightly disappointed by this. Other versions are around that price too but there is more to those games than the Wii version.
Overall its a good Sonic game definitely one of the better new ones but it just lacks everything the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions have. The Wii version of the game gets a 6/10!
Review also posted on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!
My Experience with Sonic the Hedgehog
Ok as many of you may know I have been playing video games since I was a wee girl of maybe three and I was there when the NES and Sega mega drive was around. When I was a child the main protagonists of the gaming world were Sonic the Hedghog and Mario in my eyes there was nobody else, this was before Pokémon, gears of war or Portal, video games were two dimensional and basic pure addiction with no fixation on camera angles or scantily clad ladies, it was a different time.
However as Mario and his friends have went up and forward in the gaming world with a few little bumps along the way in terms of their gameplay and overall quality Sonic the Hedgehog I am afraid to say has plummeted. I have to say that the last great sonic game that was created was sonic adventure battle two on the dream cast and the original sonic advance game for the GBA. This was because they were kept simple in that sonic=speed, sonic does not need a sword, spaceship or go-kart for crying out loud he is a genetically mutated small mammal with running shoes he is designed to speed through the land and make smart mouth comments at evil villains who want to bring fear and destruction to the world.
It was because of my general disappointment in Sonic games after Sonic Advance that I boycotted buying those that were available on the GameCube and Wii until recently because they would not withstand my severe critique and comparison due to their poor quality compared to what they could and should be.
For some reason in this game sonic seems to turn into a warehog at night and has befriended a small flying called chip who is obsessed with eating ice cream. You must play through the levels and areas of the game to recover artefacts, moon medallions and sun medallions. For whatever reason this is I have no real idea. All I know is that you play through a beach resort much like that of super Mario Sunshine and that happiness and light is being sapped away from the area again much like super Mario sunshine, so in that respect it feels a bit ripped off.
Overall the gameplay is pretty easy to get to grips with normal day time sonic as he must dash through areas collecting rings and fighting bad guys while going through loop de loops in a 3D world. The camera angles are pretty decent and the actions of sonic correspond pretty well with the use of the Wii mote. However there seems to be a little too much effort invested in integrating the Wii motion aspect to this game. If you want to dash you have to shake the Wii mote which disrupts fluidity. The controls for sonic could have been reduced down to something similar of that in the dream cast in my opinion.
Dark ware hog sonic in my opinion is a little unnecessary, again you must travel through areas fighting off bad guys and collecting rings and medallions, his actions largely work in correspondence to the Wii mote again but you once again have to shake the Wii mote fiercely to attack but every other time you do your direction gets kind of messed up and he is slow to keep up the pace of some of the night time baddies which is pretty annoying. Another aspect of being dark sonic is that you have to swing and climb up things which can also be rather awkward, time consuming and annoying.
Overall the aspect of playing as dark sonic is totally unnecessary and would have been better just leaving it out as it doesn't really bring anything to the game. Besides that we already had dark sonic or an alternative side known as Knuckles the echidna and Shadow the Hedgehog. Does anybody remember them? This has sort of already been done and it's not as if dark sonic in this is bad or evil in anyway he's just big, furry, clunky and slow.
It's not really a real plot to make a game out of even if the regular sonic levels are pretty fun and do take me back as a lot of improvement has been made over the last decade or so I do have to just ask what is the point.
Furthermore the game is slowed down by having to talk to local human inhabitants of the area who aren't in the slightest bit shocked by your appearance or the fact you are a giant blue talking animal and the loading times which happen far too frequently that make you want to skeet the disc out the window like a Frisbee.
This is particularly bad when the game is teaching you the controls which would be totally unnecessary should they have kept the controls simple to begin with.
I have to say the visuals are really good, the environments are very beautiful and well developed and when sonic transforms you can see the fur move in the wind, the moonlight and sunlight at different times of the day vary the village greatly visually too so I can't really complain at all in terms of the visuals.
The characters speak in the cut scenes and it is pretty well done, the music is pleasant memorable and suits the coastal setting which the game is based, though chips voice can get a little annoying when he gets going.
I am not sold really, the game feels a little slapped together with no real character development or plot to be seen, I think they should stick with Sonic and tails and keep in the speed aspect while reducing the new character intake there are already enough sonic characters out there and let's face it the only villain a real Sonic fan wants to see is Dr Robotnik. The genre is heading in the right direction with its visuals audio and gameplay with regular sonic but the unnecessary addition of a side story such as ware hog Sonic spoils this game.
Available for around £12-20 on amazon.co.uk it's not exactly a bad game it's just lacking a real plot. Though it may not be great for a snooty gaming connoisseur like me I pretty sure that younger kids would really enjoy it as there's nothing really objectionable in this game, the environments are colourful and it's easy enough to get to grips with after you get through the lengthy tutorial at the beginning.
The fact that you have to stop and communicate with the local people by reading want they are telling you on screen could also be seen as educational as encourages children to read and engage in the story so they become more envolved.
Sonic Team haven't had the best of luck with the Sonic 3D games in the past decade, ranging from the apparently decent 'Sonic Adventure' on the Dreamcast to the abysmal 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2006'. Fortunately, the 2008 release Sonic Unleashed is a slight return to form after the latter disaster. We have the fast blue hedgehog with attitude zooming through 3D stages as Sonic fans have always begged for, but now interspersed with beat-em-up, action-based levels implemented. I'm a fan of both Sonic and beat-em-ups and decided the game was worth a shot. What I found is that there are few glimmers of hope here in 'Sonic Unleahsed' which would finally manfest in 'Sonic Colours' two years later, but enough flaws to warrant it as far from great.
So, what dastardly plan is Robotnik- er, I mean Dr. Eggman- conjuring up in 'Sonic Unleashed'? Well, he has gathered the Chaos Emeralds and, using his satellite and the gems' dark energy, fires a massive beam onto the planet which breaks it up into fragmented continents and an evil entity called Dark Gaia. Meanwhile Sonic, who had been chasing after Eggman and is exposed to the dark energy, is transformed into a "Werehog" at night. Landing back on a part of the planet, he meets up with Tails and a new dessert-guzzling mascot with memory loss whom Sonic names Chip. Together they set off to restore their planet, learn about Chip and reverse the Werehog transformation. As you can see, the plot is okay and nothing mindblowing, as with the characters. Of course this is to be expected since you know Sonic, Tails and co. from the other games, but you will find Chip equally as annoying, especially he will be your (forced) tutorial guide at the beginning of the game! On the other hand you don't play the Sonic games for their plot, but for the platforming and speed, so it's not really important here.
The transformation of Sonic means that the levels in this game come in two types- Day and Night levels. Day levels have you controlling Sonic as per the old games- speeding as fast as he can, homing on enemies, collecting rings, going over loop-the-loops in their dozens, and so on. The Wiimote and nunchuck controls (you can also use gamecube or classic controllers) are fairly simple: control stick to move, A button to jump, B button to quick step (move immediately left or right), Z button to slide (for drifting) and shaking the Wiimote to home on enemies. These are easily the best aspects of the game, especially given that the developers have struggled to do this in 3D in previous instalments. The raw, intense speed of Sonic and bright backgrounds will certainly remind players of the old-school Sonic. It just goes to show the series can work in 3D this generation. The problem? There are much fewer Day levels than Night ones and for some reason a few levels have not been put into the Wii version (but are in the 360/PS3 games), resulting in a 60/40 ratio.
So instead we have the Night levels making up the bulk of 'Sonic Unleashed', probably because Sonic Team wanted to push this side of gameplay as the main selling point. Night levels are essentially a shift into the beat-em-up genre where Sonic, being much slower and having stretchy arms, goes round the levels scaling buildings, breaking boxes and fighting swarms of enemies. You depend more on the Wii's motion controls on these levels both to defeat enemies and swing from one platform to another. Defeating enemies on each level allows you to collect Dark Gaia points, which unlock more powerful moves for combos. Ultimately the combat is repetitive, not helped by the fact that once you move into an area with enemies barriers keep you there until all foes are defeated. Although Beat-em-up games are going to be repetitive, that doesn't really excuse the slow-paced gameplay in a series primarily known for speed. It annoys me how Day and Night levels are so disjointed. You don't move from the end of the day level through dusk into night but start the level with Sonic immediately in Werehog form, as if they're part of two different games connected by the story. All that the two types of level have in common are the collection of rings, basic movement controls and the score and ranking system in place at the end. Another thing that's been segregated is the hub-town quests. To proceed through the story to the next level you must go round different parts of a town on a text-based map asking the locals about stuff that could have been put in a cutscene or left entirely, which feels like padding.
However, I do think the graphics in 'Sonic Unleashed' are pretty good, with the Day levels and their bosses having excellent designs. The night levels are mainly coloured dark purple (even most of the enemies) and mostly look the same as each other even across continents. Music is decent too, with themes easily fitting the level at hand: Day levels have more upbeat, breezy tunes and night levels are jazz-heavy. Also in the night levels a new piece of music started up whenever you encountered enemies and this soon got annoying to listen to.
'Sonic Unleashed' had so much potential to help make Sonic finally break the 3D curse. Indeed it does do this in less than half the game with the Day levels being exhilarating and fun, but the Werehog levels and controls let it down by taking up too much time of the game despite it being an interesting if unsuitable premise. Unless you're a big Sonic fan I'd either rent this game, get it at a bargain price or play the 360/PS3 version (those have downloadable content and more daytime levels). Otherwise leave this and try out the later Sonic games instead.
(Also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)
I really enjoyed the Sonic game for the Sega Dreamcast and, getting my next console years later, was happy to see he'd made the transition to Nintendo. All the usual superfast Sonic action is here, but the unique element of this game is how Sonic transforms between day and night. This piqued my interest and I bought this as my first non-bundled game for my new Wii.
I should point out at this point that I'm a VERY casual gamer - as I said above, I'd not even had a console for years - but I do enjoy well-made, visually appealing titles. Sonic seemed to fit the bill.
Well. I certainly enjoyed the early stages. These combine proper stages with mini-challenges that teach you the Wii controls needed to use Sonic's different powers. The little games are fun, while the longer ones are stimulating. The game starts in day mode with the Sonic we all know and love, racing around a town that resembles a Greek island. I found this very easy.
Next up is the same town at night when Sonic transforms into a 'Werehog', a mutant with long fur and claws. Again, there are mini games to teach you the controls. The night section took me a little longer to master, but was fairly straightforward and enjoyable. Enemies are numerous and you'll use a variety of techniques to get around and defeat them, which keeps things interesting.
My problems started with later stages. Things went from fairly easy (I'd assume very easy for a keen gamer) to very hard (for me!) very quickly. More of a gradual progression would have been nice. Without any tips to follow and having done the same night level (the nights always seemes to be trickier) many, many times, I gave up. I've not put the game into the console since.
This is a real shame as it was a fun game up until then. The visuals are good and the different settings - villages around the world - are lovingly recreated. For this travel fan the settings were the best thing about this! I'd really have liked to see more of a progression in terms of challenge. From being easy for a good while, it stepped up too quickly for this casual player. I can imagine children, who are more the Sonic audience, getting quite frustrated too. Shame.
Another issue is the dual night/day thing. It makes the game feel rather disjointed. Frankly, I'd rather the day stages were longer or you could juts move on to something different when you've finished them. Just doing a similar stage with totally different powers is simply annoying. I think sticking with either regular or 'Were' Sonic, or maybe even being able to choose your Sonic, would have been preferable. As it was, I found myself getting annoyed with Were Sonic, who was slower than Sonic. Surely the reason for playing a Sonic game is the speed!
I'm sure I'll give this another go, but I'll be prepared for the frustration next time.