Sonic Unleashed

A great game at heart, bogged down with poor design decisions.

Those of you who are hoping that the werehog plays a small part in Sonic Unleashed should look away now. for those of you still reading, the good news is that even though the werehog is a huge part of Sonic Unleashed, playing as him is – whisper it – not actually that bad. At least, not at first.

The Telegraph says…5/10!

oooo sonic

Someone kill that rodent.

Sonic has to have the most misdirected development as a series ever. There is literally nothing inspiring about playing as Robotnik in a missile firing robot, a gun-wielding Shadow the hedgehog, or a gem-collecting bat. Reading that review is just painful to my childhood memories… God of War-esque fighting and puzzle sequences? Yeeeugh.

Yeah, I saw the preview of this in the G4 podcast and was not heartened. Sonic is basically dead, they need to let him go.

Yeech. At the end of the review he mentions that the checkpoints are too infrequent, necessitating a lot of repetition. Also, the game uses lives to limit the number of retries you have in a level before booting you out and forcing you to start all over. Those two things alone are enough to keep me from checking this out, even in the bargain bin.

Also, the game uses lives to limit the number of retries you have in a level before booting you out and forcing you to start all over. Those two things alone are enough to keep me from checking this out, even in the bargain bin.

Seriously, fuck that. It’s 2008. I’m not playing with limited lives.

The one exception for me in this realm was Super Mario Galaxy. Otherwise, I agree. The superb level design in SMG made up for the annoying lives system.

I want to know who keeps buying Sonic games at this point? After getting burned for the 5th or 6th time, why would you continue buying this dreck?

The handheld Sonic titles have been good lately, but I agree that they have to stop making 3D Sonic games.

I know that the majority of this game sucks, but I’m still trying hard to stop myself from buying it just to experience the cool daylight levels. hmm.

Anyway, David Oxford over at Kombo found out why Sonic Team didn’t create more daylight levels:

As it turns out, Sonic Team… how do I put this lightly? Let’s just say that when it comes to simply running, they don’t have the endurance their character does:

"I asked one of the developers at TGS, you know I was like, come on everybody just wants Sonic running, like what's up with the werehog? And he was like, well, here's the deal... he runs at this miles per hour, kilometers per hour, and he laid out all of the statistics on how fast this hedgehog goes, and he was like In order to make a game where Sonic is running and everybody enjoys the whole thing we'd have to design this many miles of level, and it was some ungodly number. And he's like and that would be like maybe a three hour game and I was like wow, well that kinda stinks and he's like yeah, so we gotta do this other stuff." -- David Clayman, on the IGN Three Red Lights podcast, via Indoor Heroes

you know sonic team. if its that hard, you really don’t have to make sonic games anymore. i mean, really. give it up already. if you can’t or don’t want to do it correctly, just stop.

you have got to be fucking kidding me…

They could probably revert to Sonic 2 quality graphics and just keep making interesting environments and boss fights (oh yeah, make it 2D you fuckers), and there wouldn’t be any more complaining about that then there is about the current horrible horrible travesties they are inflicting on my favorite character(s) (Tails is badass in co-op) from the Genesis. If anything, there would probably be less complaining, and they could just release these games for bargain prices or on XBLA. I would totally buy that.

Or, you know, come up with a new IP. It has been well over a decade after all.

Sonic can be done 3D, and it can be done well. It just hasn’t been done.

I would probably buy a 2d Sonic sequel in the same vein as Mega Man 9 over XBLA. That quote regarding the sonic levels really shows that Sonic Team doesn’t care anymore about 3D Sonic . The last ok 3D Sonic game I played was Sonic Adventure on the dreamcast and that is being very forgiving with the camera and glitchy deaths. Personally, I think they need to reboot the whole series and get away from the cartoon storylines for a 3d Sonic title. I just wrote up a blog post talking about how Sonic went wrong, and my idea for the 3D series here :

Mario on the other hand is still on the cutting edge of fun.

It’s all about execution. I’m sure 3D could work for Sonic but they have yet to show it, and I’d rather have a good 2D game than a terrible 3D game.

Then again, some games just shouldn’t be in 3D.

Not to go all Dave Long on you, but despite how shitty the Sonic games have been, they still sell like crazy. Kids are dumb.

That doesn’t sound right to me. I mean, if you’re making 100-mile long levels (or whatever, some numbers in the quote would have been nice) surely you don’t have to lovingly handcraft every bush and rock along the path. I’d think you’d design the overall shape of the level, put in some spectacular set pieces that the character might arc around and approach from different angles to maximize their appreciation (I’m thinking something like a waterfall that you see off in the distance, then loop around it a time or two, then maybe run straight up it or something crazy), then take all the rest of the level and fill it with procedurally-generated terrain.

If it’s going by so fast, you don’t have to put as much effort into each 30’ square as, say, Devil May Cry. If it takes a tenth of a second to zip past, no one’s going to care, because they’ll be blissing out on running through a Sonic game that actually cares about the feel of ludicrous speed.

Correction, parents are dumb. Kids can be good at spotting shitty games when they play them.

I actually find this game to be underrated. The 2.5D/3D levels are really great, and most of the rest consists of Sonic werewolf levels and it’s actually a good God of War clone of some sort. Some of you would gain to get off your ZOMG SONIC DOESN’T RUN THE WHOLE TIME!!! high horse and you’d have an enjoyable romp. The camera is also the best it’s ever been in a 3D Sonic.

I wouldn’t say they’re “dumb”. They just don’t have the same expectations that long-time gamers have when they play something with the Sonic name on it.

My oldest son’s first Sonic game was Sonic Adventure on Dreamcast. It made him a fan of the character (got the big plush for Christmas one year, etc.) and since then he definitely enjoys most of the output from SEGA.

And some of the games that gamers destroy online are entertaining, they’re just not 2D Sonic so people go all crazy about them being “bad”. Sonic and the Secret Rings on Wii is good. Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is good. They’re just not groundbreaking or exactly like the Sonic games of the past so the Internet (lol!) hates them.

Then again, the only game people really moan about is Sonic the Hedgehog on 360/PS3, mainly because that’s the only one they’ve played. And if that’s your only point of reference for Sonic in the last five years or so, then yeah, you’re going to think all the games suck.

I have more of a problem with stuff like Sonic Chronicles because that game completely misses the point of a Sonic game entirely. At least the two above are about speed. On the other hand, kids dig the characters and Bioware gets that part right.

Well, started playing Sonic Unleashed tonight, and I am impressed by the overall production values: Good music, great graphics, and the opening cutscene is awesome. But honestly, I wasn’t having that much fun. Nothing was compelling enough to get me to the end of the level. Once I realized this, I turned off the 360 and went to find something worth my time.

Mario can still get away with being video gamey. You can’t, Sonic.

edit: Tom McShea kind of sums up my experience in his Gamespot review:

Pretty pictures aren’t enough to make up for the miserable gameplay. Almost nothing else in this game even reaches the level of mediocrity. The Sonic levels are poorly laid out and have unresponsive controls, the werehog portions have monotonous combat and a wonky camera, and even the hub world is so difficult to navigate, you’ll spend way too much time searching for the next level. There just isn’t any fun to be had in Sonic Unleashed.