Oh boy! Out of all the Sonic games, this was…well one of these games to give me a hard time and found a very odd way to circumvent this. You just never know what you’re going to expect when entering the world of Sonic.
My first time knowing about the game is seeing Sonic, now more furry and with fangs and thinking to myself, “HOLY CRAP! There’s an evil version of Sonic! Has Sonic gone rogue? Is he evil now?” And upon seeing the game and realising what the game is about, I just didn’t care too much about the game after that. I did eventually pick up a copy of it on the Nintendo Wii, playing hours of it and got stuck on a level to the point where I gave it to my cousin, got it back years later and sold it and later bought the Xbox 360 port. And so, this would be the port I will review.
Sonic Unleashed (ソニックワールドアドベンチャー, Sonikkuwārudoadobenchā, “Sonic World Adventure”). So YEAH! THIS IS SONIC ADVENTURE 3! SUCK ON THAT SONIC FANBASE! The game was developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega, it was released in 2008 for the PlayStation 2, Wii (also in Japan), Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 worldwide except for Japan, they would get it in 2009…albeit the HD versions. This game has a mixed reaction like no other, and I’ll explain it all
Dr. Eggman is invading Earth with his battalion of ships. But of course, Sonic arrives and destroys many robots and causes havoc to Eggman’s plans. So Eggman begs for mercy at the power of Super Sonic, but it’s an elaborate trap, not only draining Sonic of the power of the Chaos Emeralds, but the side-effects turn Sonic into a Werewolf…yeah, that happens, no rhyme or reason. Eggman uses the powers he drained for his dick ray (seriously, look at it) and uses it to shoot the earth, splitting the world apart and somehow not destroying it.
I will say that the opening animation is absolutely beautiful. It’s very detailed, very colourful and very…Sonic, I wouldn’t mind a movie using that animation…wait, they are? COOL! Wait! Sony Pictures Animation? Live-Action hybrid? SON OF A B****!
Anyway, Sonic, now the Werehog, falls into Earth and falls on a strange creature who has amnesia. Sonic calls the creature Chip after both of them eat the best looking ice cream model ever created on a computer. After talking to Professor Pickles, they find out that an evil creature called Dark Gaia has been living inside the core of the Earth for as long as the planet as existed. In fact, this planet-splitting has been happening for many years. So Sonic and Chip has to find the shrines in each continent and get back the power for each Chaos Emerald and restore continents bit by bit.
There are seven continents to go through, Apotos, Spagonia, Mazuri, Empire City, Chun-nan, Holoska, Shamar, and Adabat. Each continent is based off a real country and once you explore each one, you should know what they’re based on. The continents consist of a hub world where you can explore around, talking to the residents, finding mini-games and finding the main levels. To access later levels, you’ll need to find the sun and moon medals all throughout the game (I’ll get to that later).
The gameplay focuses on Sonic and his counterpart, the Werehog. For Sonic, we have daytime stages, where he goes WAY TOO FAST! And I guess that’s what many people liked and from what I played, I enjoyed it for a while until I realised some issues I had with it. First off, Sonic runs way too fast…I know, I know, it’s a Sonic game and it’s par for the course, but the controls are never precise enough if you want to freely move side-to-side, which is probably why they added the sidestep ability to circumvent this.
There are moments in these speedy moments where I have an absolute blast, but there are some bits and bobs of the level design that work against the controls. Another issue is that this game really does the scripted moments a bit too much and usually I have no problems with this in other Sonic games that have it but it sticks out like a sore thumb here, especially Eggmanland (I will definitely get to that level later). Also, WHY IS THE HOMING ATTACK ANOTHER BUTTON INSTEAD OF THE JUMP BUTTON? That’s so inconvenient.
And I’ll now talk about the controversial part of the game, the Werehog night-time stages. These are the levels where there’s no speed. Instead, you walk around and finding enemies to beat up, become Stretch Armstrong and smack the living heck out of enemies and perform combo attacks…and then perform quick-time combo moves and I hate them but you get more rewards for doing so. You can collect crystals to upgrade moves or gain new ones…or make Sonic in the daytime levels even MORE faster. One of the problems I have and that many people do agree with, is that the night-time levels are too long and outstay their welcome, they’re like fun for five minutes and then it gets repetitive and it goes for nearly half an hour…no, I’m not joking, and that’s the case even when I have no issues with the levels.
And all of that came to a complete halt when I couldn’t access levels. Want to guess why? The medals. When I said you had to find the sun and moon medals all throughout the game, you really have to find them all throughout the game and most are hidden in plain sight. Furthermore, they’re in the Sonic daytime levels and the game relies on you gaining speed but it also relies on you collecting the medals too, which is a near impossibility to do both, and you can’t go back to a previous area since you’re automatically forced out, meaning you’d have to start the level all over again. At least with the Werehog night-time sections, the game is slower-paced so finding them aren’t too much of a hassle, but it’s the Sonic levels. At this point, I was fed up with this game and didn’t touch it since.
A year passed and I decided to play it again, this time on the Nintendo Wii…and I enjoyed it. Yep, this is probably the first instance where I liked an inferior version of a game.
So why? Welp, the hub worlds are just maps and you still talk to people and you collect the macguffins to open up a new level. Also, remember those sun and moon levels you needed to collect throughout the game? Welp, none of that bollocks as all you need to do is, for daytime levels, finish with a good time record, and for night-time stages, you need to finish the levels in time, the amount of rings collected and how much Dark Gaia Points you accumulated. For the Dark Gaia Points, for every certain amount of points you collect will earn you a new move or an upgrade for the Werehog.
Now, for the daytime levels, I hated most of them, especially at the end where they heavily rely on trial and error to the point where the level design has so many poor obstacles that will end up killing you. Also, you have two lives and ONLY two lives, you can’t get any more as far as I’m aware, so if you screw up, you go back to the continent map you’re currently in and start over, it’s annoying but it didn’t happen a lot. Also, each time you complete a stage, the next one will rely on you to collect a certain set of rings or complete a stage without breaking something (which is the reason why I stopped playing it as a child).
The night-time stages on the other hand, I really enjoyed…when precision platforming weren’t around. The game simplified the combat to be more streamlined for the simple system and I feel it worked much better. I guess it’s my love for beat ’em ups that make it fun for me. It also works for the fact that the levels are much shorter…albeit the same long levels from the HD version but split into multiple stages due to memory constraints I guess, but this leads to the Werehog having more levels than he should, but it also gives the illusion that you’re just playing much shorter stages because I never got bored with them.
And then there’s Eggmanland, F*** THIS PLACE! F*** THE LEVEL! It’s horrible and has the worst level design I’ve played through in a Sonic game. I couldn’t even finish the game because it’s so broken.
I apologise for the sheer sloppy review, but never have I played such a mixed bag of a Sonic game before. There are many reasons why the HD version does and doesn’t work and I can say the same thing about the SD version. You know what, I’ll talk about the absolute positive aspects of the game. I love the graphics, especially with the cartoony NPCs, they fit so perfectly in the world of Sonic and it’s NPCs Sega should stick to in future Sonic games. The worlds look so good, each of them having their own identity…well obviously, these are based off real-life countries. The main characters are pretty good, I like Sonic, Tails, Dr. Eggman, Amy Rose who isn’t annoying (actually, that’s kind of surprising), Professor Pickles is great for an individual character for this game…and then there’s Chip. I’m guessing because I played the Wii version so you didn’t hear his bloody gob, but when he does talk…well let’s just say I’m glad he’s only in THIS game.
Overall, Sonic Adventure 3 is just very mediocre when it comes to the HD version, but the SD version is a bit more better since it’s more streamlined…though Empire City is gone BUT I DON’T GIVE A S***! I’m the sort of person who just wants to go to level to level and the Wii version hits that correct spot for me…no wonder the Wii version had higher ratings.
And so, I will have to run away after annoying a lot of Sonic fans. Goodnight!
You can get it on PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Next time is a much better game and hopefully, the review will be much clearer.