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Sonic Unleashed review
Exceptional
by Dima064

Completed as of writing this review: 100%

One of the most underappreciated Sonic games out there. Why? A lot of reasons, but mostly lack of trust after 06 and due to the fact this game was released to consoles only. I think the feedback would've been more diverse if it came out on PC.
Anyway, as for the game itself, the base game part is almost perfect in my opinion. Werehog doesn't tire me one bit, because it's a nice change of pace. Sure, stages like Spagonia take too long for a gameplay that is so punishing when you die once, but as a whole, it's not frustrating if you know how to play. In terms of mechanics, it's not Bayonetta, yeah, but as for a game targeted at the young audience it gets the job done. As for Normal Sonic, I have no complaints. None, zero. Sure you can argue he's too slippery, which was later fixed in Generations, but.. if you treat these stages like a rhythm game, it clicks. And it does it well. The stages are basically a rollercoaster ride for your eyes if you play them just right, which is why I enjoy replaying them from time to time. This gameplay style was a really clever move, as it emphasizes Sonic's speed really well. It's also not just boost to win, as you have to get through a lot of obstacles and steep turns to proceed without dying. Adabat and Spagonia show it best in my opinion. And the look of the stages themselves maaaaan. No wonder consoles at the time didn't handle it well as the framerate dropped hard in some places. This game literally could've been on par with Crysis in terms of hardware requirements, had it been on PC. The only problems are medals requirements (even though you can explore for them in Werehog stages and hubs) and pacing. The pacing is the most annoying part, as the game doesn't make you play one gameplay style each time, it mostly requires you to play 2 stages in a row for one gameplay style, which is probably large culprit for people calling Werehog a slog. The OST is good as always throughout the whole game and the story is ok. I guess the goal of this game was to take a break for large cast of characters and focus more on Sonic himself, as people complained that most of the time you don't play as him. I actually like the experiment aspect of the series and it's a shame my opinion is not popular as much, which is why we got Forces, the safest game of all in the series. 
I also have to talk about a completionist part of the game. As always, Sonic games tend to give you a lot of things to complete, which is debatable in terms if it's a good idea or not. I enjoyed going the completionist route, even got the unnecessary S ranks! But the most pointless part they added, is Hot-Dog vendor's missions. I literally don't know why he's here as you have basically a lot of content already. Aforementioned S Ranks, additional medals, experience points system (which I actually didn't like as much) and a LOT of side-quests. But no, I guess Sonic Team was insecure about the quality so much, they decided to add him or something. The S ranks were brutal from time to time, but they were fair anyway, as they were skill-based and not ridiculous like in Adventure 2. Also, the final boss fucking sucks (in my opinion it's one of the worst in the series).
As a whole, Unleashed truly feels like Sonic Team tried to apologize for 06, but unfortunately people were too skeptical and wanted something perfect. I won't know for sure, since I was a kid without a 7th gen console at the time when this came out and I was able to play only now with emulation. Generations nailed the formula, sure, but it didn't even do much besides making Sonic more controllable in slow parts of the stages. I really hope this game releases for PC someday and I'm glad it gets the feedback it deserves nowadays.

I'd recommend this game to every Sonic fan that likes all Sonic's gameplay styles and that is not a classic gatekeeper. In my opinion, before Frontiers, this was the most ambitious game in the series and it was a pure joy to play.
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
«Underrated»
«Beaten more than once»
«OST on repeat»