Lewis Denby had
to stack lots of boxes to play Sonic. He wasn't
tall enough otherwise.
know what? Games
are too long. Yes,
I know, itís fashionable to bemoan the demise
of the epic
videogame, but frankly, Iíd rather have three hours of
solid fun than fifty of crippling boredom.
Just look at Portal
and tell me Iím not right.
I dare you.
Three hours would have
been a good length for Sonic
hours of straightforward, high-octane running around linear
tracks, while far from a wonderful reinvention, would have
sufficed just nicely. Itís
in these sections that Unleashed
becomes passable Ė and, at times, even rather enjoyable.
Sonicís sheer speed provides much of the
entertainment factor, and there isnít a whole lot of skill
involved in these sections Ė indeed, there are even a few
inexcusable instant death traps to be sprinted into Ė but,
as the scenery goes whizzing by, itís hard to hold much of
And we do get three hours of this. But
Iím less than thrilled by the repetitive, nonsensical,
gimmicky interruptions that constitute the remaining
majority of the game.
The first time night rolled around, alarm bells began to
ring. We see our
loveable blue scamp turn from hedgehog into werehog Ė and
yes, we noticed that it translates as Ďman-pigí as well.
What this actually means is that Sonic grows stretchy
arms and spends a couple of hours at a time moving boxes,
swinging from beams, beating up embarrassingly stupid
enemies and generally behaving as though heís in the
outtakes from pretty much every notable 3D adventure of
It strikes me as a bad idea to include these sections at
all, let alone to this extent.
It strikes me as even worse an idea to not bother
making them fun. The
werehog levels are relentlessly tedious, with badly-planned
level design and awful control mechanics.
Whenever you die, usually as a result of Sonic
flat-out refusing what you tell him to do, youíre chucked
back to the last check-point, wherever the hell that was.
If you fancy leaving it for later, well, tough luck.
You canít save the game, even at the check-points,
meaning you have to endure the whole insufferable stage in
one jaw-breaking mouthful.
Itíll probably make you sick.
Sonic Unleashed is
yet another example of SEGAís inexplicable
misunderstanding of what people want from a Sonic
game. Itís a
badly-contextualised, awfully-scripted and hideously
contrived mess of bad ideas with bad implementation.
If I want to play Tomb Raider, Zelda or God of
War, I can already do so, safe in the knowledge that
there are a range of high-quality titles to choose from.
If I want to play Sonic,
I expect to be able to enjoy Sonic
for what it is Ė not as some lazy, uninventive and
horrifically dull plagiarism of other peopleís ideas.
Oh, itís colourful and pretty, and there are a few moments
of glorious madness hidden away in the depths.
But, in a casual game such as Sonic,
Iím not sure I appreciate having to search for my fun Ė
particularly when thereís barely any of it to be found.
How much longer can it be before SEGA stop trying to
How much longer will it take for them to realise what
made this series good in the first place?
Frankly, Iím not holding my breath.
FORMAT: PS3 (reviewed) / XBox360 / Wii
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