Recently, Sega released Sonic Forces, a modern 3D Sonic game developed by the Sonic Team. The last modern Sonic game worked on by the Sonic Team was Sonic Lost World, a Nintendo exclusive, and after its release, Sonic Forces had been in development. But does Forces succeed where Lost World could not, read on to find out.
Sonic Forces is a platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game was released on the 7th of November 2017.
In Sonic Forces, the tables have finally turned: Sonic has finally been defeated by his nemesis Dr. Eggman. Characters from previous games, like Shadow, Zavok, Metal Sonic and Chaos are brought back to serve as a part of Eggman’s army and without Sonic to oppose them, they succeed in conquering 99% of the world. A new powerful being called Infinite, has provided Eggman with a new power and serves as his right-hand man, leading his entire army. The only good guys who remain are Sonic’s friends who have formed a Resistance army led by Knuckles the Echidna. Joining the Resistance is your custom-made character who is from a district of survivors that Dr. Eggman attacked.
Gameplay & Mechanic
The character creation is a huge selling point for Sonic Forces and lets fans live out their childhood Sega fan dream of making your own original character. The character, known as the Avatar, can choose to be any species from:
Each animal gets a different special ability:
- The Bear can blow away enemies with its homing attacks
- The Bird can fly high with its double jumps
- The Cat keeps some rings after getting hit
- The Dog restarts with rings after dying
- The Rabbit has a longer invincibility duration after receiving damage
- The Wolf automatically draws in rings and items when close to them
- And the Hedgehog’s dropped rings remained on the stage for longer
We can then customize the character’s looks and clothes and make them look either slick or downright terrifying.
There are three different gameplay styles in Sonic Forces. The first two are the Modern and Classic Sonic variations from Sonic Generations. Modern Sonic’s stages are based on three-dimensional movement with his standard maneuvers from the previous games. You can also play as Shadow the Hedgehog who plays exactly like Sonic.
Meanwhile, Classic Sonic stages are 2.5D side-scrolling levels, and the Spin Dash and Drop Dash maneuvers from the recent Sonic Mania game have been added. The third gameplay style is the custom character. The Avatar’s movement is like Modern Sonic, but instead of relying on boosting, the Avatar utilizes a grappling hook to get around places. Each Avatar is equipped with its own unique particle gun called Wispons. The Wispons that can be equipped are:
- Burst – A flamethrower used to clear enemies in your path
- Lightning – An electric whip that can zap enemies and zip you through rings
- Cube – A hammer that can turn enemies into cubes and create platforms mid air
- Asteroid – Can lock onto multiple enemies at once
- Drill – Can tunnel underground and climb up walls
- Hover – Can rise upwards, and prevents you from falling off ledges
- Void – Launches a black hole that swallows up enemies
The Wispons you equip can greatly affect the way you progress through stages, and you can access different routes and hidden secrets with each weapon. The physics and level design of the Avatar stages may seem a bit wonky at first, but this was created so that every species and its weapon can defeat the stages.
I found the Modern Sonic levels a little too short. This is a problem in most of the newer Sonic releases: the levels get over too fast. Most Modern Sonic fans love the speed and adrenaline rush you get from holding boost and zooming through levels like in Sonic Unleashed and Sonic Generations. However, if you put only boosting levels, the gameplay becomes shallow and the game gets over too fast. High speed Sonic levels are not easy to create either, a long enough track must be created as the hedgehog will be running at more than ten times his walking speed. They also must create enough deviating routes so that one cannot just hold the boost button and run in a straight line to win.
I feel that Sonic Forces tried to do too much, and the Modern Sonic levels were too short as a result. However, while the Avatar levels might take some time to get used to, they were the most fun levels in the game.
The boss battles in Sonic Forces were one of the best in the Sonic series. Boss fights in Sonic games usually tend to be drab and we usually want to get it over with fast, so we can move on to the next stage. However, the Sonic Forces bosses provide a real challenge and have some great reality-bending visuals. The final boss was extremely challenging and the ending hits Sega fans with a blast of nostalgia.
My favorite feature of this game is the online leader-boards installed for each level of the game. This gives the chance for speed runners to compete against each other and become the best in the world. Also, the levels have high replay value, with various hidden rings to find, and multiple accessories to unlock.
While Sonic Forces may not be the perfect Sonic game, it was creative and fun to play throughout. The serious theme of the story, colorful graphics, astounding soundtrack, nostalgic cinematics, and challenging boss fights outweigh its cons. If great replayability and character customization is something you enjoy, Sonic Forces is the game for you!