Title: Sonic Forces
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release date: 11/7/17
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch
Playtime: 16 hours
Sonic Forces is a game with an exciting premise, but it unfortunately fails to deliver the fast action that Sonic games are known and loved for.
In Sonic Forces, Eggman has taken control over 99.9% of the world. Equipped with his newest weapon, Infinite, Eggman plans to completely destroy Sonic and his friends. It’s up to Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, and your own custom avatar to stop Eggman and Infinite. Sonic Forces instantly distinguishes itself from other Sonic games because of its more mature story, however it never fully embraces a serious theme. Whenever a mature topic is discussed, it is immediately thrown aside for jokes and puns, for example, a character is said to have been tortured for months, but when we see that character again, they’re cracking jokes as if nothing happened.
Sonic Forces has three different styles of gameplay: Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, and the Avatar. Modern Sonic’s stages use the boost gameplay from Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, and I’m happy to say that it remains the same in Forces. This time around however, Wisp capsules, enemies, and rings fill the boost gauge. One flaw I found in Modern Sonic’s stages is how simple they are; almost all of these stages require the player to simply hold forward and the boost button. When doing this, Sonic will automatically turn when he comes to a wide bend. Even this part of the game isn’t fun as there is usually a small jump to perform or an obstacle that will suddenly stop the player if they don’t act fast enough. In one particular level, I would run right off the stage whenever I boosted. It was so annoying that I had to walk until I cleared that section so I could boost again.
Classic Sonic’s stages were much more fun to play. Classic Sonic has his normal set of moves along with a drop dash move. The drop dash controls the same as it does in Sonic Mania, all the player has to do is hold the jump button while in the air and they will perform a spin dash as they hit the ground. Classic Sonic’s stages are fairly bigger than Modern Sonic’s. As usual, there is a high route, a middle route, and a low route. The only problem I found with these stages was the air controls. Air movement in any direction feels slow and it would lead me to hit obstacles as I couldn’t move fast enough to avoid them.
Surprisingly, the Avatar was fun to play. The Avatar has an almost exact moveset to Modern Sonic with only two differences; the Avatar will use a grappling hook to lock on and attack enemies instead of using the homing attack, and they cannot boost unless Modern Sonic is present. Besides the grappling hook, the Avatar has a variety of “Wispons” to use. Wispons are weapons available to only the Avatar that provide many different ways to attack enemies and clear stages. Each wispon has a primary attack and an ability that will activate once the player has touched a Wisp capsule of the same color. For example, If the player has the whip Wispon (which is yellow) and touches a yellow Wisp capsule, they can then use the light speed dash on rings and enemies if they are close together. These abilities offer many different paths to completing a stage.
The Avatar Customization is another fun section of the game. Additional clothing for the Avatar can be unlocked by completing a stage for the first time, getting an S rank on a stage, and/or collecting red star rings. The customization offers many different ways to dress your Avatar with hats, helmets, gloves, shoes, bodysuits, and more. You can even create more than one Avatar, although you can only use one at a time.
The bosses in Sonic Forces are repetitive and boring. Each boss for Modern Sonic is exactly the same: run until you get close and hit the homing attack repeatedly. Classic Sonic and the Avatar only have one boss each, but they both have unique abilities and the Avatar’s boss is actually difficult. One big draw of Sonic Forces is the return of villains from Sonic’s past including Zavok, Chaos, Shadow, and Metal Sonic. However, you only fight two of these villains and the other two are ‘defeated’ in cutscenes, never to be mentioned again. This really angers me as I was excited to fight these villains once again. The final boss is the most disappointing of all. As I’ve mentioned before, Sonic Forces has a more mature story and the final boss reflects that, however, the final boss fight is too easy. There is no real challenge and the fight is once again reduced to running and using the homing attack. Not only that, but the Chaos Emeralds are not even in the game! I thought there was going to be one final BIG boss fight, but after beating every level and doing some research, I discovered that the Chaos Emeralds are not in the game. There is no way to earn them in-game, the only way to access Super Sonic is to get the Super Sonic DLC which was $2.00 until it was recently made free. On the stage select screen you can switch between regular Sonic and Super Sonic, once you collect 50 rings, you will automatically become Super Sonic. On top of that, the Avatar cannot become super and Super Sonic is unavailable for the final boss.
One shining light in Sonic Forces is the music. Each hero has a different style of music that accompanies their stages. Modern Sonic has fast tempo music to accompany the fast gameplay. Classic Sonic stages have music that was inspired by the Sega Genesis. The Avatar stages bring back vocals, which haven’t been heard since Sonic Adventure 2.
I bought Sonic Forces for the Nintendo Switch and the graphics are terrible. Most of the stages themselves look perfectly fine, however there are some parts of each stage that need more work done. The backgrounds make up the majority of the problem. The game looks great on other consoles, but I would beware if you plan on buying it on the switch.
Overall, I would say Sonic Forces was disappointing. Too many aspects of the game need more polish and entire sections need complete reworking.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia