Sonic Forces (PC)
With Sonic defeated, Doctor Eggman and his empire are taking over the world. Knuckles, Tails, and the rest of the gang form a resistance to fight back against Eggman's army. A new recruit also joins forces will these familiar faces and become the hero that they need.
-Create your own hero to join the fight against Eggman's army.
-Tons of clothing and weapons to customize your hero to reflect your own style.
-Play as both modern Sonic and the retro Sonic from the old school 2-D era
-30 stages that combine the 3-D and 2-D gameplay of both eras in the Sonic Franchise
OS: Windows 7 Service Pack 1
Processor: Intel i5 5th gen @ 2.7Ghz or AMD A10 7th gen @ 3.0Ghz
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GTX 750 Ti or AMD R7 265
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 18 GB available space
Sound Card: Sound: 11 compatible
November 7th, 2017
PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
Sonic Forces was announced way back in 2016 as Project Sonic 2017. Looking back at the teaser trailer, it was reasonable to expect a Sonic Generations 2 considering that retro Sonic made an appearance. The Nintendo Switch was still being called the “NX” at the time, and we already knew what Sonic Mania was going to be. Fans young and old were rejoicing in 2016, because 2017 was shaping up to be one of the best years for our favorite blue blur. Now that 2017 is almost over, we have discovered that Sonic is not dead and surely alive. Does Sonic Forces have the momentum to keep up with its retro-inspired counterpart?
At an ESRB rating for E 10+ there is not much to worry about in terms of negative content. When players take control of either version of Sonic, they will be jumping or spin-dashing at enemies to defeat them. Most of the enemies in the game are robots and explode upon defeat. Where things differ from a normal Sonic video game is the new player-created character who uses cartoon-like oversized weapons like blasters, lightning whips, hammers, and more. Players will have to utilize one of these to defeat enemies during a mission.
Parents should know that the story line and presentation are slightly darker than a Sonic game is known for. The story begins after the defeat of Sonic as a new recruit joins our heroes in the fight against Doctor Eggman. This is nothing to show alarm or concern over; the game simply not as happy, upbeat, or bright like the other games in the series.
During my first couple hours with Sonic Forces, I could not believe what I was seeing: a Sonic the Hedgehog game with a darker tone. (I’m not including Shadow the Hedgehog since I only played a level or two back in the day.) The premise is more grim and the presentation itself is much less brighter than what we have seen from a mainline entry to the series. All of this is done in what I thought was a tasteful manner..
Let us begin with the story. Sonic Forces starts off right where it needs to and sets the stage with the defeat of Sonic. You take control of the blue blur as he races through Green Hill, which is becoming a barren wasteland right before his eyes. At the end of the stage, we are introduced to a new foe named Infinite who defeats Sonic. The heroes we know and love from series’ past lead an army to fight against Eggman and his own army of bots including some familiar villains as well.
Sonic Forces is more akin to Sonic Generations since it has the player in the shoes of both classic and modern versions of Sonic, in addition to the new player avatar. Unfortunately, the defeat of modern Sonic doesn’t last very long to really make an impact. I was hoping for more of a Death and Return of Superman style approach in which he would come back for the second half or even final moments of the game. Though I still really appreciate this new direction, that was the area I felt they could have done much better.
The two Sonics play just as anyone would expect. Modern Sonic has the boost ability from Unleashed and Generations with a focus on homing attacks; classic Sonic utilizes the good old spin dash and jumps on enemies to attack them. The avatar is where things get different, your characters actually uses various models of what is called a “Wispon” which is a reference to Sonic Colors. They are weapons that have various functions: hammer, lightning whip, blaster, etc. My personal favorite is the whip which is great for clearing crowds of enemies. The avatar also uses a grappling hook to traverse through stages and uses it for their own homing attack by hooking onto enemies and kicking them.
Sonic Team takes things a step further by improving on the concept of playing both modern and retro styles of Sonic. The two styles were separated by stage in Generations, now the two are blending and players can experience both within one stage. This is usually done through transitions, you may be going through a stage at the high speed of the modern third person style but minutes later end up on a 2-D plane. The classic style is mostly used to change the pace of a stage, though there are times when these sections contain their own flavor of high speed and intensity. This improvement is a well-thought addition to both the gameplay and presentation.
Speaking of presentation, I found the lighting and textures to be very well done for a Sonic game, reflecting that Sonic Forces does stand as a next gen addition to the series. Each character is also fully voiced. There was not a single segment where I had to resort to reading text which helped the flow of gameplay. I was also pleasantly surprised by the soundtrack; some of the music even introduced vocals during special moments in some of the stages. The soundtrack reminded me very much of the RWBY web series and how full vocal tracks are utilized in various scenes of that show.
Lastly, Sonic Forces is a very easy game to burn through—almost too easy. This is likely a result of to all the well-designed and challenging platformers that have come out in this day and age. Anyone looking for a challenge will not find it here. I sped through the game in the course of a weekend which was only a total of 6 hours according to Steam. I do feel that the developers made up for the easy ride by making the last few stages more difficult. I got the challenge I desired that came in the form of good level design too.
I’ll go ahead and say it: Sonic Forces is one of my favorite entries to the Sonic franchise. It may not be very challenging, but it is an enjoyable experience. I appreciated the bold direction in story and presentation. What we have here is definitely no Mario Odyssey, but it is definitely not Bubsy either. I don’t get the hate for Sonic, I have been a fan since I was a kid and enjoy both the modern and old school representations. I suppose the world is simply determined to hate 3D Sonic since 2006.
+ Avatar Customization
+ Good familiar gameplay
- Too easy
- Under-utilized story elements