Since his 3-D debut Sonic has had many ups and downs in gaming.
So can this new sonic game bring back the glory days?
The answer is yes.
The game starts with Sonic facing off against Eggman (Again), Eggman believes that he has sonic beat until it becomes apparent that sonic has all 7 chaos emeralds and is overwelmed by super sonic, unable to fight that power Eggman flees the battle with sonic chasing him.
Sonic traps Eggman and forces him to surrender unaware that it is a trap. Eggman traps sonic and shoots him with a beam that not just sucks the power out of the emeralds but also split the Earth below into 7 pieces.
To make things worse the beam has turned sonic into a monster. After falling out of space and back to earth Sonic befriends a creature which he fell on, Sonic names the small creature chip. Sonic must stop the new evil that Eggman has awakened.
The game is spilt into 2 types of gameplay, Day time which is your normal sonic levels which involve running from A to B, and night time where you are the werehog who has to get from A to B by fighting hordes of enemies and solving puzzles.
Playing the day time levels I suspected that Sega had taken example from sonic and the secret rings and had the developers improve on it drastically. For starters you are not on-rails you have 100% control on the 3D sections. You control sonic using the control stick and use A to jump; in the day stages sonic has some new abilities to help him get through the stage quicker. First there is the drift, sonic can use drifting to get around sharp and long turns with out losing speed, if you are going straight sonic will slide, use sliding to get under obstacles. The other new add-on is the boost gauge which lets you do boosts; you fill the gauge by collecting rings and getting bonus chains, collect enough rings and the gauge gets bigger. You can not boost if the gauge is empty, the down side to using the boosts is that you have less control over movement and that when you hit a wall you hit it hard, it will take a few seconds to recover.
The daytime levels also have 2D sections where like in old sonic games you have to get from one end to the other. The problem with the 2-D section's is that you don't seem to have 100% control over sonic more like 90%, but when you consider how the game is that's probably for the best. I'll be fair the stages must have taken a long time to make they as they are so big and well planned out. You are ranked on how quick you finish the stage in the Wii version. It's just a shame there aren't many day stages in the game.
Since the sonic adventure it seems that Sega can not make a 3-D sonic game without there being some new gameplay mechanic. Sonic Unleashed has the WereHog. The WereHog is the thing sonic turns into at night time. The WereHog stages differ to the sonic stages I will go as far as to say it is like you are playing a different game. For starters the WereHog stages are part platformer, part beat'¢em up.
The stages are split into different parts you have the parts where you are fighting through hoards of enemies, the parts where you are doing traditional platforming and the parts where you are puzzle solving.
I'll start on the fighting, as you go through the level every now and then you will be stopped by a force field and forced to fight through a hoard of enemies, once you have cleared through the foes you can progress through the stage. I will admit that after a while this may begin to get slightly dull, the special moves that you learn as you gain Dark Gaia points will add more to the gameplay, when playing as the werehog you have 2 bars ones the health bar and the other is the unleashed bar, using the unleashed bar powers up Sonic until the bar is empty, it makes Sonics attacks more powerful and changes some of his special moves.
The platforming sections are quite straight forward, it normally consists of you either getting to the other end of the stage by jumping over holes and gaps, climbing up poles and across ledges while avoiding obstacles. The other half of the platforming is finding 3 keys every time you run into a force field with 3 dots on it.
One of the annoying things about the WereHog stages is the invisible walls and there are a lot of them.
The puzzle solving is more or less no brainers such as putting boxes on buttons, putting out fires and using the environment to get around without dying. It doesn't sound like much but the puzzles really show their true colours in the extra rooms in the temples, the puzzles in the temples have you use both Sonics to get past the obstacles and to the bonus items in the rooms, take note that you need medals to get into these rooms, I'd say the rooms in the temples are the most enjoyable part of the WereHogs game.
The game may only have a few day stages but the extra missions make up for it. The game should last you about a week.
Graphics & Sound
Considering that the game is exactly the same on the PS2 I will admit that it does look quite nice for a wii game, Sonic looks detailed and the stages look well polished especially when you consider how fast you are running through them.
The music in this game is joy to listen to, easily the best sonic music I have heard in years. Each song matches the stages perfectly.
The game uses all 3 controllers, the wiimote, the classic controller and the GameCube controller. So which is best?
Wiimote: I do like the ideas put into this game with the wiimote but sadly it doesn't work as well as I had hoped it would, in the day stages the wiimote doesn't always detect the homing attack and boost properly.
In the night stages the wiimote doesn't cut it, the fighting is just to shoddy and tiring and the climbing isn't much better, nearly everything requires you to use the motion controls in the night stages.
Classic controller: This controller works really well with both stages but is out done by the GameCube controller in the day stages. It does work well the only problem is that at time the position of the control stick can feel a little awkward and uncomfortable. It can't be beat on night stages though as the buttons are played perfectly, the Y & X are used to attack and it works well you can attack quickly without messing up when trying to use the special attacks you learn. It's also better for climbing as you use the R button the grab things.
GameCube: Godly on day stages you have better grip of the controller and better control over Sonics movement the buttons also feel better placed on the GameCube controller so you don't have to worry about pressing Y instead of X as the buttons are all different shapes and sizes.
Night time would have to be a no as using the shoulder buttons to punch left and right just felt odd for me, I couldn't punch as fast as I could before.
It may not be what the fans want but it still doesn't stop Sonic Unleashed from doing what it set of to do. Now make a game with sonic stages only and you are on to a winner Sega.
+ Closest to classic sonic we have had in a while
+ Boss Battles Are fun
+ The game can be rewarding
- Lack of balance between Sonic and Werehog stages
- Wearhog levels are to simular
- Missing levels in wii version