Friday, April 9, 2010

RECOM: Sonic Unleashed by Rocket

Sonic Unleashed
by Rocket (Contributing Author) | Edited by Mop_it_up (Site Editor)

Playing as Werehog Sonic with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk feels amazing.

To recommend Sonic Unleashed - a Sonic game where you spend most of your time not running at high speed, but as a roaming beat 'em up style platformer - would take someone who genuinely enjoyed these levels. I'd like to tell you why these sections are at least worth trying out.

With the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, you just have to do little alternating flicks of your wrists to get Sonic punching. The other control method, which is to keep tapping the shoulder buttons, can get tiring very quickly. This is why I'm convinced playing as Werehog Sonic was primarily designed for the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. A little flick is all it takes to fling a crate at an enemy, which feels quite satisfying as opposed to button pressing.

When you're not punching, you use the Wii Remote to do platforming tasks. These include swinging the Wii Remote when Sonic's hanging off of poles sticking out from the wall, and doing alternating drumstick motions with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk when climbing to the top of a pole sticking out of the ground. It's fun and involving to do this. I'd imagine using a different control scheme where you're only pressing buttons instead must make the game feel so much like just another generic platformer. Pulling the Wii Remote and Nunchuk upwards to open a door adds to the experience, making you really feel like you're the character making his way through the level.

It takes some time getting used to the fact that you're not running all the time in a Sonic game, so I suggest you approach the Werehog sections with an open mind as they take longer to play than the daytime ones where you do get to run fast. The daytime running sections are very much like high speed roller coasters, and Sonic feels like he's just a racing car with legs during these levels. The Wii Remote's motion controls help to make them more fun than that. A swing will give Sonic a burst of speed or activate his homing attack when a target appears onscreen.

It feels really satisfying to do this! Like hitting a ball with a bat and really sending it flying, except you're hitting Sonic with your remote and making him go so fast he breaks the sound barrier. Pressing a button to do it couldn't possibly be as fun. It's definitely more fun than doing the spin dash in the older Sonic games.

Then there's defeating a chain of enemies with homing attacks as we've done before in previous Sonic games, but this time you feel each individual "WHACK!" with each swing you do with the remote. I never want to do this with just buttons again after experiencing this, it would be a massive step backwards.

There's one thing I'm glad the Wii version doesn't have, and that is the outer hub sections the 360 and PS3 versions have. In those versions you have to wander around to find people to talk to, and find out where you are to go next. In the Wii version, you just select these people from the map. I suppose with the other versions that makes it feel more like a "World Adventure" (part of the Japanese title of the game), but the approach with the Wii version helps put more emphasis on the action stages.

Sega's experiment with the slower, brawlier Sonic the Werehog is a fun and successful one, as long as you don't play with just buttons. The motion controls really make this game more involving and fun, and it is the best way to play if you're curious enough to check it out.


Maxi said...

Very good Recom Rocket!

Benjamin Fennell said...

As an arcade-style brawler fan, Sonic Unleashed seems like a lot of fun to me. I enjoyed Secret Rings - it was the first 3D Sonic I've actually beaten - and the unusual brawler gameplay in Unleashed really sets it apart as unique in its appeal as a Sonic game to me. I almost picked it up yesterday, in fact, but ended up passing for now since I came across a copy of Wario Land Shake It, which took priority in being out of print now. I'm definitely planning on picking up Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Black Knight at some point, though. Gameplay footage uploaded by actual players on YouTube's helped give me an idea of what to expect, and they really look like fun games.

NinSage said...


1. You can NOT go wrong with WarioLand: Shake It. I got so much bang for my buck out of that game. Go for the challenges after the game "ends." I have faith in you!!

2. If you liked SR, I venture to say you would LOVE Unleashed. Unleashed (Wii version) is literally my favorite Sonic game of all time. If I remember correctly, Unleashed doesn't "steer" Sonic the way SR did... but yea, it's a hell of a game.