When Sonic Forces was first announced back in July of 2016, a lot of fans were excited. After the abysmal release of Sonic Boom, Sega announced that they were reshuffling their business and adjusting their corporate strategy. This left fans hopeful the next Sonic endeavor would be on par with the original games or the likes of Sonic Adventure.
With the recent success of Super Mario Odyssey and the excitement surrounding Sonic Forces, I felt like a 90’s kid again. I was very excited to pop out the tiny cartridge and power up my Nintendo Switch.
A tale as old as time….Dr. Eggman (formally Dr. Robotnik) tries to take over the world with his machine army. Sonic and pals (Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and a slew of side characters) try to stop him. However, this time they lose thanks to a new enemy called Infinite. Some time passes and Dr. Eggman is taking over the world and the team can’t find Sonic. They are starting to lose hope when a new recruit joins the squad. That new recruit is YOU! You get to create your own character out of the choice of a Hedgehog, Bear, Rabbit, etc. Each character type possesses a unique ability and will acquire different gear as the game progresses. I chose a sea foam and yellow bunny with floppy ears. You traverse through different worlds and stages, navigating between Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic and your own Avatar.
The mechanics are quite simple and most levels run on “auto-pilot.” It borrows a lot from Sonic Generations. The controls are easy to navigate, and quite frankly offer nothing new. Classic Sonic uses his spin dash, while Modern Sonic uses the honing attack, and your Avatar uses a Wispon (similar to the used in Sonic Boom. You switch back and forth between 2D and 3D stages, and every so often a Boss battle will arise. Most of the battles are quite easy and just require you to time your attack. The gameplay will not offer any real challenge to seasoned Sonic players, but it will make Forces accessible to casual or younger players.
One of the game’s strengths is how pretty it looks. The graphics are smooth and colorful. The cut scenes are well-done and entertaining. This is a huge improvement from Sonic Boom which displayed choppy or broken graphics. I would love to see the Sonic Forces graphics turned into an anime. I did find it is a lot crisper in docked mode, but it does play well in handheld mode. The Classic Sonic levels were a bit hard on my eyes in handheld mode though.
The opening cut scene and first level were very fun and captured my attention. I even loved creating my own avatar. After that, I could feel my interest level waning and completing the game felt more like a task. I found myself taking several breaks. Now this wasn’t as difficult as Sonic Boom to complete but I did find myself not really loving this game. I think back to Sonic Adventure 2 or Sonic Heroes and how I couldn’t wait to get to the next level. This game doesn’t possess that magic, yet it plays a lot smoother. I do look forward to the DLC that Sonic Forces will offer.
I believe, although this game is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction. The graphics and story are definitely the strengths of this game. I hope Sega takes note and actively tries to improve the series. Sonic is a beloved character and I think fans only want the games to succeed. Sega recently saw success with Sonic Mania, and I hope they use that to inspire future releases. While I don’t see Sonic Forces as a failure, I don’t believe it will get the masses rushing to retail. Sonic Team did a great job improving the mechanics and overall smoothness of the game. However, there is still something missing. The speed is back, but it feels like the adventure is gone. The launch price of $39.99 is fair. I recommend this game to fans of the sonic series, but others may want to purchase at their discretion. I do hope they continue to support the title with free or low-price DLC to make for a fuller experience. Overall, this game makes me wonder what Sonic would be if Nintendo was in charge of the IP.
- The awesome soundtrack
- The SPEED!
- The colorful and crisp visuals
- The Nostalgia factor
- The automated play
- The repetitiveness of levels and lazy design
- The snoozy DLC
Soup Verdict: This bowl of soup is certainly affordable and looks delicious, but it just won’t leave you full.