So far, I’ve been mostly on the fence about Sonic Unleashed. I see good, I see bad, I hear good, I hear bad. On top of that, two different versions with two teams working on them– how is one to choose whether to get it or not, or which one to buy?

Thank goodness for videos. Though SEGA of Europe seems to be running all over YouTube, trying to make sure I don’t see anything I might like, some are getting through, including on GameTrailers. So, while they last, here are a few videos of note. For starters, the opening cutscene (with the option of selecting Japanese voices over English, as you’ll see).

Of course, there are spoilers. This is largely for people like me who may not see the game for some tim yet, but be warned.

And here’s the first twenty minutes or so; not sure if it’s the same one that was taken down when the opinions were given after the embed. Oh, and it’s via shakey-cam, so the sound sucks. Sorry, folks.

Some popular opinions, as expressed through Ian “Potto” Flynn, author of Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog, via his forums:

“I’m almost getting a Mario-vibe off the first of shig’s vids. The opening town with the people make me think of Mario Sunshine, while the space-set opening with its horn-heavy music makes me think of Galaxy. These aren’t negative comparisons.

My optimism just shot up ten degrees with the new gameplay video. Sonic’s running into walls – and not collapsing for ten seconds! I saw no bottomless pits. I saw imperfect gameplay that resulted in you slowing down or doing something less-awesome – not giving you insta-deaths or throwing the game out of whack.

And it even looks like there’s some minor exploration of the hub worlds. As one of the few who actually liked Knuckles/Rouge’s stages, I’m pleased.

bsonic concurs:

“I’m thoroughly impressed. I was wowed by the cutscene and gameplay. I really want this game now! The cutscene was great, I loved how Eggman had the Eggmobile and I loved how he and Sonic interacted. The whole cutscene was enjoyable to watch. For some reason, the opening cutscene gave me a Mario Galaxy and Disney feel to it (as well as Sonic). Those weren’t bad things, just something I noticed.

As for the gameplay, I like how it wasn’t as punishing. Like Ian noted, if you run into walls for instance, gameplay doesn’t come to a complete halt and you aren’t jarred out of the flow of things. The gameplay looked nice and smooth overall, and seemed to be fun to play. The hubs did remind me and give me a feel of Mario Sunshine (not in a bad way). The hubs are looking nice too, they look pretty explorable, which is good.”

A peek at an ice level named Holoska (but without sound):

All in all? I’m looking forward to this a bit, but I remain a touch wary. It’s good to see that the Joker clearly took over Sonic Team and asked “why so serious?” I just remain unsure of which version to get; Sonic Team is doing the 360/PS3 one, which may be the first one they’ve gotten right in awhile, while Dimps of Sonic Rush fame is doing the PS2/Wii version. It has fewer stages for some reason, but I suspect more of those may be 2D oriented, given that again, they did the Rush games. Maybe. But then, I wasn’t as big on the first Rush as some people, though Rush Adventure was leagues better.

I’m ultimately going to weigh the opinions of those who play it after the release… preferably those who get to play both versions. Also, I’m hoping that SEGA doesn’t make the 360/PS3 version unreadable to those with SD TVs… I know that they voice the speech, but I’m willing to bet there will be other stuff to read as well.

For now, enjoy a teaser of an animated cartoon that SEGA is going to release sometime in November… instead of for Halloween, as it rightfully should have been:

–LBD “Nytetrayn”