Sonic: Unleashed Game Poster Image

Sonic: Unleashed

(i)

 

The speedy blue hedgehog grows some claws.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Sonic and his friends are clearly good guys with altruistic motivations.

Violence

The fighting, which involves plenty of punching, grabbing, throwing, and the occasional laser beam, is cartoonish and generally unrealistic. It is, however, quite pervasive.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is part of Sega's decades-old (and remarkably prolific) Sonic the Hedgehog license.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game stars Sega's chipper blue hedgehog, and that he occasionally morphs into an evil looking monster with long claws, sharp teeth, and menacingly arched eyebrows. But his looks are deceiving; at heart, he's the same noble mammal gamers have loved for the last two decades. Still, he is a little more aggressive than normal while in his more intimidating form. He swipes at enemies with his fists and grabs and throws them to the ground. It's mild fantasy violence, but its pervasive and perhaps more than some people might expect from the usually tame game hero.

What's it about?

SONIC: UNLEASHED opens with a lengthy and spectacular CGI movie that wouldn't be out of place in a blockbuster disaster movie. It depicts the hedgehog's arch nemesis Eggman cracking open the planet's crust from the comfort of his spaceship in hopes of remaking the world into Eggman Land. Meanwhile, he turns our loveable blue hero into a strange and menacing monster, then kicks him out of the ship and sends him hurtling down to the world's fissured surface.
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So begins Sonic's adventure as a kind of werehog; a creature that exists as a super speedy hedgehog by day and as a ferocious (but in a good, evil-fighting way) monster at night. Levels are divvied up for these two personas; half take place in the sunshine and see Sonic sprinting at breakneck speeds over hills and through loops, while the other half occur in the evening, where Sonic's darker form battles evil robots and uses his stretchy arms and clawed hands to climb and swing around environments filled with treacherous crevices.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

The levels that take place during the day recall Sonic's glory days, when the little blue furball zipped around the screen so fast that the player's greatest challenge was simply anticipating what came next and deciding whether Sonic ought to stay his course, slow down, or perhaps jump. They switch seamlessly between a rear perspective, which allows players to control Sonic's movement from left to right as he avoids various gaps and spiky perils, and a side angle that feels a lot like the perspective of Sonic games of old -- had the hedgehog been moving through them at five times the pace. It's fun, habit-forming stuff.

Unfortunately, the game drags when Sonic changes form at night. His alter ego is capable of doing pretty much the same basic things that game characters have been doing in platform games for ages, such as climbing posts, shimmying along precipices, and smacking around hordes of bad guys then collecting the bits of energy they leave behind. It's not that these traditional platform levels have been badly designed, but rather that they bring nothing new to the table. There will be times when players wish the game was composed solely of the speedier missions.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the game's sense of speed. Did you have a hard time controlling Sonic? If so, did the difficulty affect your enjoyment of the game? Did the game's designers do a good job of providing you with enough warning for upcoming obstacles and perils? You can also discuss Sonic's alter ego. Was he likeable even as a scary looking monster? Did you prefer playing as one of his physical forms over the other?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2
Price:$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sega of America
Release date:November 24, 2008
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:E10+ for Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence

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Parent Written byobnoxiousm September 1, 2010

The Werehog as a Symbol of Teen Challenges?

First off, I should give you some perspective on my review. My little icon says parent reviewer, but I'm actually an educator, fresh out of student teaching. I'm also a lifelong Sonic fan; I wrote the expert mode walkthrough for the foul-mouthed Shadow the Hedgehog on Gamefaqs. I'm something of an expert on the series and its themes and this is my second-favorite installment. The plot is simple: Eggman cracks open the world to unleash Dark Gaia, an ancient evil, and use it to build and power his world empire. He has to use Sonic to do this, which turns Sonic into a monsterous creature with a warm heart at night. He sets out to right the world, and along the way he meets amnesiac Chip and helps him find his identity. Sonic is moodier and more aggressive as the werehog, and at night he must fight evil spirits spawned from Dark Gaia and take their power into himself. Over time we see other characters possessed and even transformed by Dark Gaia's fragments, but why aren't Sonic and Chip effected (well, at least not emotionally for Sonic?) I personally read the game as symbolic for the process of growing up and putting your life together as a teenager, lain against a backdrop of saving the world from itself. Sonic is both a normal heroic being and something new, different, and tinged with Dark Gaia, and yet he resists all temptations to do evil, just as a moral teen can resist the urge to do all those usual risk-taking things they do. Sonic's friendship with Chip, responsible fighting, and determination in the face of apparent ill health are great role modeling for kids, teens, and even adults like me. My only concerns for younger kids are the violence, and for older ones, the consumerism. There is a lot of fighting and the final boss fight involves eye-poking. You do not want your little ones mimicking this! By 13 your kid should know how serious violence can be in the real world, though. For older kids... there are two versions of the game, the normal version (Wii/PS2) and the HD version (360/PS3). The actual level content is different, but the story is the same, and it's something of a cheap ploy to get more money. If your younger teen has one and you have any say in it, make them get all the medals and beat the final boss before they waste money on the other version or the DLC. The Wii version, at least, is a rather easy game, I barely therw myself at it and am already ranked in the top 20 of the site at which I compete in it. Gameplay wise, it's excellent. Controls for the werehog are consistent, few glitches, fun fighting and seeing as the werehog and traditional speed as Sonic. I don't really enjoy the day levels as much as night, but that's typical of me, not other players. Fighting gets a little annoying once you reach the final continent. The music is also beautiful--see if you can spot the Green Hill reference in Adabat Night!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old October 1, 2009
Average quality game, with the day levels being out of this world and the night levels being rather a chore to complete. Long cutscenes don't help.
Kid, 11 years old May 28, 2009

I can't believe what happened to me...

I don't play games and stuff but my brother does. I saw him playing this game on his PS2 and I was highly into it. Now I have it installed to my PSP. I enjoy racing ...Really ....I think I am going too far as a girl in the game.