The game is split into 3 different parts: daytime levels, nighttime levels, and looking around for the levels. The daytime levels are reminiscent of the Sega Genesis trilogy, but it also innovates on that classic game play by... well... Being new. There are also 3D sections that play like the Sonic Adventure series, just a lot faster. Sometimes it can be too fast. Your little blue blur will be running along, and suddenly, he'll disappear, and a few seconds later, you'll have realized you fell in a hole, but it will have been too late. Minus 1 life. Speaking of lives, I've noticed that many people are complaining about the life system, calling the game out for using a trail-and-error system. I say, isn't this what games used to do anyway? Have gamers really gotten so bad at games that don't involve shooting down squads of terrorists and dropping the fag-bomb over Xbox LIVE that they resort to throwing hissy fits when a game is too hard and punishes you by making you start over because you just plain fucking suck? That's just sad. Yes, it's frustrating when you die, but learn from that mistake and TRY GETTING PAST THE OBSTACLE SOME OTHER WAY. Anyway, yeah. 2D part is very fun. The transitions between 2D and 3D are fantastic, and there are times when they will be combined, feeling very reminiscent of NiGHTS into dreams... (Which is quite possibly Sega's greatest game ever.)
Unfortunately, some moron on Sonic Team decided that Sonic needed to take a break from all that running... A loooooooong break. So, they decided that Sonic should turn into a werewolf, a stretchy werewolf, a stretchy werewolf in a bad beat 'em up platformer. Well, it's not that bad. If it weren't in a Sonic game, it probably would have went over very well. It has a rather deep combat system to prevent the monotony that comes from most beat 'em ups with the regular "PRESS A OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND HE DEAD NOW YAY" gameplay. But... It's Sonic. For one thing, he's a hedgehog, not a werewolf. For another, nobody wants to play a slow Sonic game... Nobody. Get it right, Sega.
So, that's another 1/3 of the game. Wait, Gerard, that's only 2/3, you suck at math. No I don't. The other 1/3 simply consists of trying to find the damn level you want to play. This is not enjoyable at all. I don't want to get rewarded for playing a game simply by getting to actually play it. It can take upwards of half an hour to actually find the level you're supposed to play, and because of that, I could only stomach about 4 hours of this game before I quit. You go around trying to find some towns person to talk to, and they might tell you where the level is, or they might just try to sell you a hot dog, or ice cream, or mushrooms, which would probably be a good investment and make this part of the game stomachable.
So, when the majority of gameplay in a game is bad, yes, it's a bad game. It's sad, because the part that Sega got right is fun. Really fun. Really really really really really fucking fun. Sega did take a step in the right direction, and I have high hopes for the next Sonic game they might be releasing (When's the last time that happened?) After all, they did develop an entirely new engine for this game, I doubt they would use it for one game. Hopefully, Sega will learn from these mistakes. They're so close to fixing a problem that they shouldn't have had in the first place, but as an avid Sega fanboy, I'm not going to give up on Sonic. No, Sonic 2006 is still a terrible game that I'll never, EVER play, but it looks like Sega is starting to finally get things right. It's just a shame that if they had just shortened Sonic Unleashed and removed all of the shit that didn't belong in it, it would have been a perfect game.