Sonic Unleashed review

Half a great game and half a near-total disaster

GamesRadar+ Verdict


  • +

    When Sonic just runs

  • +

    The graphics and tunes

  • +

    The combat's at least okay


  • -

    The half-done platforming

  • -

    Your new friend

  • -


  • -

    The needless talking sections

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

There was a time, perhaps a year ago, when we were seriously excited about Sonic Unleashed’s retro-platform action. The sense of sheer velocity was breathtaking as Sonic blasted through admirably detailed levels so quickly that the soles of his shoes should have melted off. The camera smartly alternated between a dead-on side view and a legitimately usable over-the shoulder view, and there was neither a huge cast of useless and annoying sidekicks, nor fishing, nor pet raising, nor kissing human girls, nor even any evil/anti-hero hedgehogs toting twin pistols or levitating around chucking cars with their minds. It was just Sonic. Running. And it looked wonderful.

Then we found out about the “Werehog” levels. And hope died.

And unfortunately, both our worst fears and our most hopeful dreams have been realized. Once again publisher Sega has somehow completely ignored all that made Sonic great – that would be the super-fast running – and added yet another needless bunch of crap.

It’s extra painful with Sonic Unleashed because the skeleton of this game is fantastic. The levels in which you’re rocketing along as Sonic, exploring the levels at a pace that would make your eyes water and your cheeks flap like you were in a wind tunnel, are an absolute joy. It’s all here, too: Loops, the rail-grinding, the spin attacking, the gold rings. There are even new ideas, such as a drift-like skid and a quick dodge. If the whole game was like this, we’d be looking at a legendary return to form for one of gaming’s most iconic characters.

But then you get dragged back to the werehog levels, which take up way more time than the running segments. When night falls, a newly lycanthropic Sonic gets even furrier, grows Hulk-like muscles, and gains the inexplicable ability to stretch his arms as if they’re made of elastic. We know this is a game about a talking, shoe-wearing, blue hedgehog, but seriously… what the hell?

More info

DescriptionThis is awesome, running around as Sonic will always be fun. Hey, what's happening? Why's Sonic changing? He's becoming a Werehog!?! Our eyes! Our EYES!!!
Franchise nameSonic the Hedgehog
UK franchise nameSonic the Hedgehog
Platform"Wii","PS2","Xbox 360","PS3"
US censor rating"Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+","Everyone 10+"
UK censor rating"7+","7+","7+","7+"
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)