Title: Sonic Forces
Developer: Sonic Team
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: November 7, 2017 Worldwide
How we got the game: Received it for Christmas for the Nintendo Switch
My interest in Sonic the Hedgehog grew mainly from comics rather than the video games. Growing up, my main source of Sonic the Hedgehog video games was from an arcade cabinet in my childhood dentist’s office. I would be able to zoom through the first couple of levels of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 before I got called for my turn in the dentist’s chair. Sonic Adventure DX and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for the GameCube were some of my favorites after that, even if they haven’t aged that well. Since then, Sonic games have been… meh. Sonic Forces, though, wasn’t that bad.
Sonic Forces consists of levels that star Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, or the Avatar. There are a few where the Avatar teams up with Modern Sonic as well, allowing you to use the skills of both characters. Levels with Modern Sonic consist of the 3D game play style while Classic Sonic is mainly side-scrollers that do well inducing nostalgia within the player. Most of the Avatar levels are similar to Modern Sonic’s.
It was pretty simple to get into the game control-wise, yet I will admit dying more often than not because I decided to hit the Stomp attack button rather than Jump/Homing while flying over an abyss. The levels in general were decent, but most were not very challenging. In true Sonic form, zipping through a level was usually enough to reach the goal, even if a few levels had a couple of hiccups when it came to moving on.
The Modern Sonic levels were probably my favorites just because they’re Sonic. He’s the guy the games are named after, the reason why we pick up the games in the first place, however misguided the past few Sonic the Hedgehog games have been. His levels emphasized speed and were awesome to just breeze right through! There were a couple of issues when he went too fast and ran right off a cliff once or twice but, overall, they weren’t bad.
I didn’t mind the Avatar levels. There were a handful of weapons that you can unlock for the Avatar to use in the levels, such as a flamethrower and one that throws around lightning, and each were fun to use, that allowed you to create plenty of strategies in how to best the level, but there could have been more variety. The Avatar had a grappling hook-like tool that allowed them to mimic Modern Sonic’s Homing attack, which was useful. They were, however, extremely similar to Modern Sonic’s levels.
Classic Sonic was… eh. It was fun seeing him appear and completing his levels, but he was definitely slower than Modern Sonic and had no Homing Attack. On that hand, his levels were more challenging than Modern Sonic’s and the Avatar’s, but being a Sonic game, I wanted to go fast. Aside from that, I don’t think Classic Sonic really brought anything to the game. He had a bit of a narrative part to Tails’ part of the story, but another established character could have played that role (or, hell, let Tails stand on his own for once with the ability to carry out what Sonic would have done).
The graphics in this game, especially on the Nintendo Switch, were amazing. Honestly, the Switch has yet to let me down when it comes to the graphics and designs of the games on the platform, and Sonic Forces is no exception. The character designs, while familiar, looked great on the Switch (even if the Avatar’s facial expressions sometimes looked dorky enough to be funny).
The music, though? The music was so much fun to listen to during the levels. Both vocal and instrumental tracks were awesome, reminding me that the music tended to be my favorite part of the games. The songs got you pumped up for the level, especially the boss themes, but didn’t distract you enough from the level to mess you up. The game was fully voice acted as well, which was a delight to me. The voice acting and writing were well done, even if there were corny lines about friendship and love being the ultimate reason as to why the heroes prevailed.
The story starts out a little darker than most Sonic the Hedgehog games. We begin with Dr. Eggman and some of his “allies” — antagonists from previous games — taking over the world. Eggman’s newest partner Infinite is a creature able to create illusions via virtual reality, having power enough to enable the virtual reality to harm the protagonists. Infinite takes out Sonic, leaving the world defenseless enough for Eggman’s robots to swarm.
With Sonic feared dead, a resistance is created by Knuckles, one that includes Amy Rose, Silver the Hedgehog, and the Chaotix. Rouge the Bat plays the role of spy for them, while Tails is too busy mourning the loss of Sonic to be of much use to the resistance right away. The Avatar — nicknamed Rookie — joins the resistance as well and plays a crucial role in freeing Sonic and, ultimately, the world from Dr. Eggman and Infinite.
It’s a standard story to go along with the game. Sonic is freed fairly early in the game and joins the resistance, as does Tails and Classic Sonic when the pair figure out the weakness in Dr. Eggman’s plan for total world domination. While playing the three main characters, you’re immersed in the story as important pieces to freeing the world.
However, the only character in my opinion that is truly “needed” in the story is Modern Sonic. Classic Sonic appears very conveniently to rescue Tails and appeared to just be a catalyst in bringing Tails back into the story line, considering he ran off in his grief about Modern Sonic. If they needed another character as a partner for Tails, the developers could have easily used E-123 Omega, the robot character that Tails was fixing when Classic Sonic appears.
As for the Avatar… it was fun, I’ll give it that. Fifteen to twenty years ago, I would have been wicked excited about creating my own character to join the heroes on their adventure to save the world, and it was great to do so this time around. However, the Sonic universe has plenty of unique characters that could have been in that third “main character” slot if it needed to be filled. Being able to pick your character before each level, a character from the resistance force, would have been an interesting twist to the story.
Let’s infiltrate the Death Egg as Rouge. Let’s destroy the power core as Amy Rose with her hammer. Let’s rescue civilians in Park Avenue as members of the Chaotix. The story could have been more intriguing with different takes on the levels with all the characters the Sonic universe already has.
Sonic Forces has some replay value if you enjoyed it enough to turn it on a second or third time. There are daily missions and plenty of challenges for you to continue playing, as well as the ability to create more avatars to explore the levels with. There is also the free Episode Shadow DLC that launched with the game that acts as a bit of a prequel to the main game, and gives a bit more insight to the new antagonist’s, Infinite, origins. And, honestly, the music in this game is enough to make me want to turn it on again.
Sonic Forces was pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. It was fun to see these characters again in a game that I enjoyed, for the most part, playing.
Sonic Forces gets…
3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!