The Sonic series has been very long suffering of poor controls, horrible stories, and a fanbase that has no idea what they want. Unleashed finally changes that.
This game finally reminds us that Sonic actually is "the fastest thing alive" during the incredibly beautiful daytime stages. Though hair-pullingly difficult at times, you'll never get tired of them.
On to the night stages and the controversial "werehog" gameplay. Unlike what just about everyone in the fanbase spouts: change is NOT bad. The battle system is well made and genuinely entertaining. The main fault, however, is that the stages are implemented are both linear and long for such simple gameplay. Despite this flaw and the contrast, the gameplay does have its charm.
As for the storyline, SEGA appears to have learned it's lesson. It's simple, cheery, and molded around the characters. Rather than force the entire cast into a Final-Fantasy-inspired mess, they simply allow the characters to flow naturally. The improvement even shows in terms of voice acting. Even the side characters are charming in their new Pixar-esque designs.
Overall, this game is a badly needed step in the right direction and has strong standing in it's own right. While not perfect, it is a strong game in it's own right. Very much undeserving the the mindless hatred it tends to receive from fans and (some) critics. Try it as soon as possible.
8.5 out of 10