I finally bit. In mid December UK gaming retailer Gamestation offered Sonic Unleashed at half price for one week only as part of their Christmas sale. So the price was only £20. I had money and I’d actually heard good things about Sonic’s latest adventure. I’d also heard some bad things but at £20 I was thinking that It’s probably worth it at half it’s normal price just to experience these high points I’d been told about. So I bought it and sat down ready for at least half of a good time. And for the first hour or two it was fun. I couldn’t believe it. But that fun eventually died out and revealed just how bad a game Sonic Unleashed is. Hit the jump for the review/why I won’t be buying a Sonic game ever again.
So it starts off well enough. You have Sonic attacking Eggman’s battleships with explosions and robots and all kinds of awesome. Eventually Sonic battles Eggman himself before turning into Super Sonic and destroying Eggman’s battleships before stopping Eggman himself. Eggman begins to beg for mercy before trapping Sonic in whatever contraption he decided to call it. Then Eggman takes the power of Chaos Emeralds or something (it’s not explained) and uses it to awaken “Dark Gaia” a Final Fantasy esque demon who had been dormant in the game’s planet for thousands of years. Sonic is also turned into …ughh…. a werehog and is shot off towards the planet. That’s when we hit our first problem.
Werehog Sonic lands and finds a really annoying twat called…well I can’t even remember what he’s called. Maybe it’s my conscience telling me to erase the character from my mind. Anyway unfortunately for my sanity Sonic makes friends with this prat, who has amnesia. They decide to go off together and find out just what is going on. I also forgot to mention that it this point, due to it being daytime, Sonic returns to normal, luckily for us. So begins the first stage. And what’s this, I’m having fun!? What the hell! Yes, I had actually had a fun time. The fun only lasts for 1-2 minutes though and then we come to our first hub world. These are annoying little towns with annoying little people and the only purpose they serve is to get to the next stage. And even then you have to actually explore the bloody places before you can even get to a stage. AND EVEN THEN I have to have enough sun or moon medals to progress. These are tokens you have to find enough of in each level and if you don’t, there’s no way to finish the game. It’s a piss poor way of lengthening the game and serves no purpose other than to frustrate the fuck out of you as you search in every little nook and cranny of a level just to find enough of these medals so you can torture yourself by playing another werehog level. What happened to the days when all I had to actually do was complete the previous stage to progress Sonic Team?
And that brings me on to yet another problem. There’s more werehog levels than Sonic levels. What…the..fuck. I’m sorry Sonic Team, I guess I expected to play as normal Sonic for at least half the game but no, I have to play a load of repetitive levels as a poor man’s (hog’s?) Kratos/Prince Of Persia clone. How silly of me. Maybe it would help if these werehog were slightly fun, but I just can’t believe how goddamn repetitive they are. I can tell you what a level would be like without even playing it. Just use any combination of puzzles, Prince Of Persia style platforming and God Of War style fighting and you get the idea.
To be fair when the game is fun, it is fun. But that fun just can’t justify how terrible the bad points are. Well known critic Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation nailed it perfectly when he reviewed Sonic Unleashed a few weeks back. Sonic needs to be put down. He’s had his chance. We’ve let him get away with his dastardly deeds for too long. We never gave the likes of similar failures Crash and Spyro the chances we’ve given Sonic because Sonic has always been a sweet memory of our childhoods. And I will keep those memories. But I’m sorry Sonic Team and SEGA, but you just can’t keep me around like an abused wife anymore. Unless you can make something that is absolutely amazing, I’m not coming back.
(original image from JustinGreene.net)
I mean Nintendo, even though they’re dicks right now, have always made consistently fun Mario games and the like. Why is it? People may like to complain that a new proper Mario game takes too long to make but at least when one does come out, it’s great and you know it. Just look at the statistics. I’m not a big fan of averages but all you need to do is take a look at Metacritic. Not counting spinoffs, Sonic’s had 8 main titles in the last 5 years with an average score of 70.75%. On the other hand there’s only been 2 main Mario titles in the last 5 years with an average score of 93%. I think that speaks for itself.
Of course when all has been said, Sonic is still going to sell. Like I said earlier, Sonic has a strong nostalgia factor and people are still going to buy his games, whether they are good or not. But I just had to get this off my chest, even if I have already ranted on this subject before. But Sonic Team and SEGA, you’ve lost someone who has tried to stand up for your mistakes long enough. Rest in peace, Sonic The Hedgehog.