The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Every time Sega plans a new Sonic game I hear someone talk about how they are fixing Sonic, and every time the game releases the developers do something new to mess it up. Look Sega, I don't want to play as Sonic's annoying animal friends. I don't want to wander around town talking to people about ice cream or hand puppets. And I don't want to play as some howling bestial, slower version of Sonic. I play Sonic games because I like to go fast.
Sonic is certainly good at going fast. Sega's tech is impressive, as Sonic's sprawling levels speed by without a hitch. Occasionally you'll have to dial in a button-pressing event or quickly jump over to a branching path, but for the most part Sonic's speedy levels are rollercoaster rides you cruise through. If these traditional Sonic levels were the only gameplay in this disc, I might have walked away amused. Sadly, they only make up about a third of the overall experience.
After Dr. Eggman uses the Chaos emeralds to split open the Earth's crust, thereby releasing a horde of evil spirits, Sonic becomes infected with some strange disease.
This disease turns him into a super stretchy Werehog monster whenever the moon is out. These Werehog segments play like a poor man's God of War. You fight hordes of enemies and level up his Werehog attacks, but many of the enemies look the same, Sonic's pace is plodding, and the platforming is frustrating. Even worse are Unleashed's hub world areas, which have Sonic holding inane conversations with random pedestrians in tedious adventure-style quests.
The Wii version has less annoying traits than the others and still retains all the usual mediocrity. The motion-control elements in the Werehog levels add an extra dimension to the action, and the hub worlds are entirely text-based and aren't nearly as annoying. If you can stand the diminished graphics, the Wii version actually edges out the PS3 and 360 entries.
As much as I disliked lumbering through levels as Sonic's hulky Werehog, I disliked hunting through the hub worlds looking for coins even more. Sega, if you really want to fix Sonic, the first thing you should do is stop trying to fix him.
THE Wii DIFFERENCE
The Wii version has less annoying traits that the others and still retains all the usual mediocrity. The motion-control elements in the Werehog levels add an extra dimension to the action, and the hub worlds are entirely text-based and aren't nearly as annoying. If you can stand the diminished graphics, the Wii version actually edges out the PS3 and 360 entries.
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Another game, another new Sonic character. This time it's our hero's alter-ego Sonic the ''Werehog,'' who (natch) only comes out at night. This split personality concept transfers to the game design, as the levels are divided up between the speedy, traditional Sonic levels and the platforming and fighting-oriented Werehog levels. As you might expect, it's a mixed bag. The Sonic levels deliver a modicum of high-speed thrills, but sadly the Werehog's botched gameplay (wonky platforming and boring combat) show an evil underside. If the Sonic levels are just more of the same, at least they show a certain level of polish – I'd rather have the same old thing done fairly well than the failed experiments of the Werehog levels. Interestingly, the Wii version is actually better – its unique levels are better designed and implemented than on PS3 or 360. Still, after the triumph of Sonic Chronicles for the DS, this is a bit of a letdown.