Initial release date: November 7, 2017
Writer(s): Eitaro Toyoda; Makoto Goya; Ken Pontac; Warren Graff
Genre: Platform game
Developers: Hardlight, Sonic Team
Composers: Tomoya Ohtani, Kenichi Tokoi, Takahito Eguchi
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Sonic has definitely made a comeback these past recent years. I’m a big Sonic the Hedgehog fan, as I grew up in the Genesis era. The series has had ups and downs, from its origins as the SEGA mascot and Mario rival, to the not so well received 3D games of the early 2000s. New games have been released that are shining some new light on the blue hero, and I personally love it.
When I saw that Sonic Forces was free via PS Plus, I was looking forward to a new speedy adventure. What I discovered was a game that was trying to do too much, too fast, with only sparks of excitement.
So if you have never played a Sonic game, it’s one of the cleanest series there is. No cussing, nudity, or any content that may warrant a child to avoid this title. There’s cartoon violence, enemies do use guns but they are not bullets. Picture blasters with lasers and the heroes fight by hitting the enemy with spin attacks.
In SONIC FORCES, the evil Dr. Eggman has conquered much of the world with help from a powerful and mysterious new villain named Infinite. Now, you must assist Sonic and build an army to reclaim the world as they fight against chaos and destruction.
Defeat enemies with blazing speed as Modern Sonic, catapult past perilous platforms as Classic Sonic, and create your very own Custom Hero Character equipped with a variety of powerful gadgets. Experience fast-paced action with these three unique gameplay styles.
-Description from Nintendo for Sonic Forces
Sonic Forces starts with Sonic and Tails in a battle with Dr. Eggman and his new creation, Infinite, along with duplicates of his old enemies. Sonic is quickly defeated and the world is taken into possession by Eggman. It seems Sonic was the only obstacle in his way, and he finally won. The only issue here is that Sonic returns rather quickly, instead of staying out of the game longer.
There’s an underground resistance led by Knuckles and the other freedom fighters. Once you create a custom character that does not have any dialogue, he joins the group and helps rescue Sonic. The original retro Sonic (Sonic 1-3 and Sonic Generations) comes through as well to assist.
Each stage is getting the resistance one step closer to freeing certain areas from Dr. Eggman’s grasp and defeating Infinite as he plots to destroy Sonic.
The voice-overs for the characters are not bad, especially Sonic and his headstrong attitude. I would have liked to know more about Infinite or having the backstory of some of the characters fleshed out, sadly this did not happen and it’s very straight to the point. Don’t expect any slowdown in the story as you progress, it goes quick!
You create a custom character (avatar), male or female, along with various outfits that you pick up as you complete stages and get high scores for finishing them. It’s fun to change the look of the character, and there’s lots of variety including weapons.
The gameplay is fun at certain points, but not overall. It switches between a platform style, playing as your avatar or retro Sonic, then goes to the Sonic Adventure overhead view that can be tricky because of how fast Sonic goes through the area. I know that’s the point of the game, but he runs so fast that it’s hard to stop before falling off the side and having to restart the level.
The colors and graphics were bright and reminiscent of past games. They fit well in the levels as does the music, but I would have preferred some remixes of classic tracks. As I already mentioned, the game is speedy and you can get through a level in a few minutes, so beating the game only takes a few hours which isn’t that bad.
The three characters you play as (and later on Shadow as well) are your avatar, Sonic, and retro Sonic. Each has different attacks like the spin dash or homing attack. They all play pretty similarly though, so I would have liked more variety between them.
Each stage has it’s own design and features, which changed things up every time you started playing. Most are pretty easy, but there were a few spots that I kept getting stuck on. I would have liked it to be more challenging, but then again this is aimed at a younger audience so I understand why it’s not so difficult.
Sonic Forces felt like it was trying to do too much, too fast, and ended up not delivering. The story I can forgive since this is more aimed at children or teenagers, whereas I am a story-driven gamer. I would have wanted the gameplay to focus on the overhead Sonic Adventure style more, but that’s a personal preference.
If you want a game that won’t take you too long to beat and will take you back to the Sonic franchise, then pick this one up. I did not find this to be one of the better titles in the series, but it was enjoyable and I don’t regret playing through it.