Game now features a bar for Experience Points; first video of Wii version
As TGS begins, footage from Sonic Unleashed is beginning to trickle down to media outlets. One of the first to get footage up is Gametrailers.com, who, as of writing this, have three videos up. These videos show a more polished Sonic Unleashed, featuring numerous small graphical tweaks. First up, the Ring Race video, featuring Sonic in the daytime version of Greece.
Rings, for example, now float from Sonic directly to the ring counter. If you’ve ever played any of the Donkey Kong Country games, the bananas you collect in those have the same effect – they float from the player directly up to the number of bananas the player is holding on the HUD. It’s not the most dramatic change in the world, but it could be a signal that Sonic Unleashed is receiving a little polish here and there – something 2006’s Sonic the Hedgehog sorely lacked.
The next new feature is the EXP bar. At certain times during a video, a yellow crystal will float towards Sonic, and when he collects it, it brings up a bar on the HUD for EXP – undoubtedly “Experience Points”. Early information about Sonic Unleashed mentioned Sonic would have skills that could be upgraded as the game progressed, and this may be our first look at how this happens. The question is: Where do these yellow crystals come from? Nowhere in the video do enemies seem to drop them; they instead seem to appear almost at random intervals, and always float in from off screen…
The final new feature is the SPD bonus. It seems the game awards the player bonus points based on how fast they were traveling when they touched the checkpoint.
The next video, Seaside Parlor, focuses more on the Werehog, and it too features a number of new HUD elements.
Previously, the Werehog had two meters in the bottom left of the screen: Vitality and Shield. Though we never really understood what they were for, that part of the interface has been completely redesigned: Vitality has now been simplified to “LIFE” and a new “UNLEASH” meter is visible. As the Werehog fights enemies, his UNLEASH meter slowly fills. The video never ends up showing us what happens when you fill the UNLEASH meter all the way up, unfortunately. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say that SHIELD was for blocking and is now represented as the five icons above the UNLEASH meter – a system that may be similar to Sonic the Fighters, where the player had a limited number of shields to block with, and once they were exhausted, the player was defenseless.
Finally, Gametrailers provides us with the first in-game footage of the Wii version of Sonic Unleashed, featuring the Europe level. For those of you who don’t remember, though the Wii version of Sonic Unleashed will feature the same settings and the same storyline, its levels have been designed specifically for the Wii by Dimps, the team responsible for the Sonic Advance and Sonic Rush games. The Wii version contains a number of notable differences, including a completely redesigned HUD. Featured prominently on the HUD is the the specific time you have to achieve to get an A-rank on the level, and the game actively calls out how quickly you complete specific sections of level and how many attacks you can chain together as Sonic.
All in all, despite my own personal feelings on earlier previews of the game, it seems Sonic Unleashed is shaping up fairly well, and even the Wii version appears to be coming along very nicely indeed. Stay tuned to TSSZ for more Sonic Unleashed TGS news as it happens.