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Sonic Unleashed
GC 2008: Sonic Unleashed Preview
Written Wednesday, September 17, 2008 By Dan Webb
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The Sonic franchise is a lot like the band Oasis in my eyes. You know, the obnoxious but supremely talented British indie band. Both almost peeked too early and have been dependent on their former glories for way too long. For Oasis, it was “Definitely Maybe” and “What’s the Story Morning Glory” which were classics in their own right and for our blue friend Sonic, it has been the 2D adventures from the 90’s. The Sonic team has almost tried to do much since and have unnecessarily over complicated the series. After their last horrendous outing on the 360, they are back and they claim to have gone back to its roots... Well kind of.
 
In the SEGA stand situated in the middle of the Business Centre at the Games Convention, group after group of journalists and like-minded press folk gathered around a HD TV to see whether Sonic was truly going to be a hit again and many, like myself, left not knowing what we’d just seen. Many reports circulated the internet before any concrete details were released and a lot were way off. Sonic Unleashed is NOT purely 2D classic gameplay action, hell, half of it is Sonic as we’ve never seen him before.
 

The game is split up in to two core sections. The one core gameplay section is the speedy, blue Sonic that we’ve all come to know, love and then loathe, who in the day time is faster than a speeding bullet... Oh wait, that’s superman, but anyway, he’s fast. This half of the game was made up of both 2D and 3D elements, from what I could tell of one of the opening levels, it was about 50-50. Then we have the second gameplay element which is entirely new to the series, namely Sonic the werehog who takes over for the night-times. This gameplay mechanic is Sonic as we’ve never seen him before and it takes the game from being more about speed to attempting to be a more traditional platformer.
 
The day time levels we got to see and get our hands on with were largely based around Europe going by the architecture in the level; Greece we’re told for the one, but we did also get to see one loosely based on China as well. Both environments were bright, vibrant and looked great, something that you’d truly expect from a Sonic title. The rings are back, but that was to be expected and fundamentally the gameplay is traditional Sonic; get from point A to point B as quick as possible. The game however offered you different paths at some points allowing you to take different routes and add to the replayability of the game.
 

The 2D aspects of the game felt truly great, you had to stop and pinch yourself at times it was that good. Even the 3D sections seemed totally revamped with the camera no longer being an issue. The focus on the 3D sections seemed to be, go fast as possible forward but move left and right slightly to avoid objects and take different paths. So it wasn’t overly complicated. Sure, you could stop and look around if you like, but with the speed being part of Sonic, I never had the impulse to stop once.
 
Day Sonic is blessed with a few new moves being the “quick step” and the “speed drift” and the main purpose of these is to allow you to change your line without moving the analogue stick too much. Ultimately, the point of the new moves is so you can move freely without having to sacrifice any speed.
 

Moving from day to night, Sonic makes a transition from this fast, agile hedgehog, to this brutish, powerful werehog. The physics of the game totally change here and it just didn’t feel like Sonic as you were thrown in to levels that you’d kind of expect to see in Banjo Kazooie. Night-time Sonic is compensated with strength instead of speed and can use his long arms to attack enemies, grab them, throw them and even use them to grab on to higher ledges. We were told the whole point of these sections was to give your eyes a rest and offer you more of a challenge on another level. The underlying aim of these sections was exploration... and fighting. It at least gives you a chance to absorb the detailed environments and soak up the gameplay but this isn’t Sonic surely?
 
I left the presentation and hands on session with mixed feelings. On the one hand, seeing the 2D gameplay in a 3D setting brought back so many memories of years gone by and playing it felt like Sonic was due to make a triumphant return. Even the 3D aspects of those levels were fun. Then on the other hand, we were presented with this new gameplay mechanic that we’d never seen before and just aren’t used to. It’s definitely a gamble adding this new aspect in to the Sonic franchise and we won’t truly know whether or not it helps or hinders the series until we get our hands on the final product at the end of the year.

Sonic Unleashed will be available in November for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2 and Wii.



 
 

User Comments

Forum Posts: 77
Comment #1 by ChemicalXzibit
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 11:33:38 PM
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Very nice comparison to Oasis.


Forum Posts: 185
Comment #2 by Cynicalfate
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 11:35:30 PM
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sounds pretty intresting


Forum Posts: 67
Comment #3 by YanksForTheWin
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 12:23:29 AM
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I used to love sonic in his genesis glory but after... how the mighty have fallen. I hope he gains some sort of respectability with this game.


Forum Posts: 724
Comment #4 by IceKingz
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 12:27:51 AM
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Gosh I can't freaking wati for this game....I'm going crazy. I'm like a huge 3-D Sonic fan so all of the games rock so far in my opinon.


Forum Posts: 32
Comment #5 by towns
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 01:39:46 AM
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@ #4
i dont know if u even played sonic the hedgehog on xbox360 but it was pretty shitty. i was all for the sonic adventures on the gamecube, they were a couple of my favorite games of the time but saying all the games rock so far is a stretch imo. im hoping that sonic can return to his former glory because the only good game that he has been in recently has been super smash bros. maybe mario and sonic at the olympics. but im hoping they can bring him back with a game that doesnt dissapoint like the last one did


Forum Posts: 11
Comment #6 by Flip4242
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 01:42:17 AM
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man i dont know i already have mixed feelings...i liked adventure 2 but damn..i dont know..


Forum Posts: 219
Comment #7 by Hoebagger
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 02:53:58 AM
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There's no way this can suck as bad as the other sonic for 360


Forum Posts: 2099
Comment #8 by mjc0961
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 03:20:32 AM
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"This gameplay mechanic is Sonic as we’ve never seen him before and it takes the game from being more about speed to attempting to be a more traditional platformer."

Which is exactly why it's going to be just as bad as Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes, Shadow the Hedgehog, Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, Sonic Advance, Sonic Advance 2, Sonic Advance 3, Sonic Rush, Sonic Rush Adventures, Sonic Battle, Sonic and the Secret Rings, and the other two upcoming Sonic games. Did I miss any?

"im hoping that sonic can return to his former glory because the only good game that he has been in recently has been super smash bros. maybe mario and sonic at the olympics."

What? Those aren't even Sonic games. If you weigh them in as such, they're also just as bad as all the games I mention


Forum Posts: 160
Comment #9 by Jmashed
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 05:04:19 AM
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I didn't mind the other Sonic on 360, I've played some pretty shitty games in my time but it definitely isn't in the top 30. Can't wait for Unleashed, hoping for the best.


Forum Posts: 6
Comment #10 by shAmPoo killa
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 06:48:43 AM
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please be good, please be good, please be good.
p.s. unleashed rocks.


Forum Posts: 6
Comment #11 by shAmPoo killa
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 06:50:24 AM
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force unleashed.


Forum Posts: 6
Comment #12 by xHHx CURT xHHx
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 07:36:10 AM
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how cum u dirty yanks always gets games like the force before england? it sucks they should be brought out the same time even if it is made there...


Forum Posts: 6
Comment #13 by xHHx CURT xHHx
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 07:52:38 AM
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p.s hope this game is good sonics have been a let down


Forum Posts: 513
Comment #14 by Edable Giraffe
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 08:23:59 AM
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im looking forward to the day-time sections, IF they can fix the framerate issues


Forum Posts: 503
Comment #15 by Volcom guy992
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 09:42:10 AM
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I hope this game is like the one that was on dreamcast, that game was so sick. It ranks up with the originals I love them all.


Forum Posts: 371
Comment #16 by xTHSx Rascal
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 10:53:28 AM
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am i the only one that did think sonic on 360 wasnt shit

ive played every sonic game sega,dreamcast eg, their isnt a bad one yet exept the one on pc where you race


Forum Posts: 14
Comment #17 by Invader Skooj
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 11:14:50 AM
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Ever since sonic took a step of the Genesis it has sucked bad. The only sonic game I'm looking forward to is Bioware's Sonic on the DS. I just want to tell Knuckles "I don't have time for this crap! Saren is out there and I need to take him down!"

... Bioware is so awesome...


Forum Posts: 89
Comment #18 by GameGodWill
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 06:20:08 PM
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same as comment #1 nice comparrison but a think the werehog should not be in it or at least not as sonic maybe should have had that part as a different new character his cousin or summit would have been better


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #19 by xBDx Buddy
Friday, September 26, 2008 @ 01:03:55 AM
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I Like The Fact That Sonic Has A Beast Inside Of Him This Game It's A Good Game, But I'm Not Going To Buy It


Forum Posts: 2
Comment #20 by Chris_CoRpSe
Monday, December 08, 2008 @ 05:40:39 AM
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Nice cant wait to play XD


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Game Info
Developer:
Sonic Team
Publisher:
SEGA of America
Genre:

Release:

US November 24, 2008

Collection:768
Wishlist:113
 
 
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