Note that for this review, I played the Xbox 360 port of the game.
First of all, I'd like to say that I've been a fan of Sonic since Christmas of 1991 and have been a fan of the franchise throughout the 90's. Sonic Unleashed, like the other Sonic games that have broken into the "3D" generation of game consoles, is really unpleasant.
The graphics are pretty nice and the whole thing with Sonic becoming a "Werehog" and going around slashing and punching bad guys is pretty fun, but that's all there is to say that's positive about this game.
While it may seem unfair to target this particular Sonic game for this upcoming flaw, I feel it's legit. The biggest problem with this game is the 3D environment. Sorry, but I truly feel that Sonic wasn't meant for a 3D environment since it's extremely difficult to move really fast while collecting as much rings as possible in this type of environment since it's much easier to die and since it's easy to veer off your desired path, it's much harder to collect rings. While most video games in the last 8-10 years have done away with the "limited life" system so ubiquitous in the first three game console generations, it's still in this game and it gets on your nerves because you're gonna die A LOT.
The tallying system at the end of each level really gets on my nerves because in the "classic" Sonic games, the tallying system just tallied your numeric score and if you got a high score, you'd get a continue. However, the tallying system in Sonic Unleashed is atrocious because the game expects you to accomplish much more difficult levels in a timely manner and has the nerve to actually grade you (using letters A through F) at the end. Isn't it good enough that I came out alive? Just give me a numeric score, don't grade me like a strict university professor.
Aside from the 3D layout and harsh tallying system, I was stuck on one level where you're on top of the Tornado (piloted by Tails, of course) and Eggman has launched a giant robot thingy firing guided bombs at you. I DETEST this level because in order to shoot down the incoming bombs, each projectile is targeted with an icon of either the A, B, X, or Y buttons above them and you have to press the right button in a really short time in order to fire the missiles. This is horrendous because you're in such a panic, you're just mashing buttons, hoping that you hit the right ones since you don't have any time to think. Wouldn't it be more convenient if there was just one button to fire missiles or just have a machine gun and point it at the projectiles? At that point, I quit playing and returned the copy to Family Video.
After playing this and the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog games, it's no surprise to me as to why the newer Sonic games aren't so popular among gamers and critics alike. Sonic Team should really take their cue from Nintendo concerning the New Super Mario Bros. Wii game and make a game that's essentially a "throwback" of the Genesis Sonic games because those are the Sonic games people tend to remember in a positive way. Just get Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection instead.