After Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, faith in the Sonic brand was shaken. Could the Sonic Team develop a technically sound product devoid of interspecies romances, game-breaking glitches and a general sense of “It’s no use“? The answer, as Sonic Unleashed showed us, was a resounding yes.
While divisive for its inclusion of the werehog — a character whose existence turned off a lot of people to the game — no one can deny that Sonic Unleashed was a gorgeous, technological tour de force that, for the most part, reinvigorated the brand with its bold presentation and revolutionary 3D boost gameplay. Sonic Unleashed took the boost formula to new heights and invented the mach-speed platforming experience we’ve all come to love in modern Sonic games. However, Unleashed didn’t stop there. It gave us a globe-trotting adventure with a rich, fully realized story that took gamers all over the world, allowing players to tour beautifully reimagined versions of China, Italy, Indonesia and more as the blue hedgehog whipped past every major region on earth. To this day, we’ve yet to receive another adventure from Sega that’s as grand or as glorious as Sonic Unleashed.— Robert Carnevale