Sonic Forces is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch and was developed by SEGA.
I wanted to love Sonic Forces so much, I was excited about both Sonic Mania and Forces when they were revealed, I saw Polygon give the game a pretty poor score and I thought, Nah there’s no way. I suppose the manic Sonic fan that I am didn’t want to believe after the gems Sonic Generations and Mania that Sonic Team could come out with a negative Sonic release after such good releases lately, I even enjoyed Lost World. Sonic Mania was an instant 10 for me, it was perfection, it took Sonic back to his glory days but then Sonic Forces comes along and really disappointed me.
Sonic Forces throws the player into a war zone, Dr Robotnik (I still refuse to call him Eggman) has finally conquered the world and has a team of villains who manage to overthrow Sonic after years of trying. Characters from the series must try to stop the world from being completely changed while searching for Sonic. The story while cheesy is not the worst storyline they’ve come up with, it’s nice to see Robotnik finally achieve his dream and see how he would shape the world around him. Seeing the characters desperately try to overthrow the evil is an emotional rollercoaster it does get you emotionally invested if you’re a fan because you’re seeing all your favourite characters at breaking point.
Onto gameplay. In Sonic Forces you can play as a newly created avatar which is a pretty cool feature and I looked forward to it, I can confirm it is fun creating your character but using him with the weapons you have isn’t as satisfying as running through stages as modern Sonic. Modern Sonics stages aren’t too bad, it’s fast, it’s chaotic but so many moves have been removed, no longer do you need to avoid obstacles by skidding and much of the freedom Generations offered seems to have been taken away. Once you start to enjoy the level you are instantly taken away from it because they’re so short. The only feature I enjoyed was running fast, any cool actions you have to take in the levels are either completed with QTE’s or cutscenes, it’s very disappointing to have so little control over it. Classic Sonic makes a return but you have to ask yourself why? They seem to have slowed him down, I feel the controls are pretty poor and the levels just aren’t much fun, they feel quite plane and empty. In Sonic Generations the blend between both characters was amazing, it worked so well but for some reason in Forces, it has really gone downhill. It’s such a shame because I loved the classic Sonic levels in Generations.
Sonic Forces also suffers from being quite a short game, players report finishing it in around 6 hours, some shorter, the levels sadly are pretty short and lacking any unique features, it’s either one we’ve seen before or just copy and paste jobs. I have to get pretty negative here but how many times are you going to make me visit Chemical Plant Zone and Greenhill Zone? I’m tired of it now, I visited them so many times, no unique stages ever cropped up. You take it, Sonic Unleashed, I wasn’t fond of the werehog parts but the level design was phenomenal in the Sonic zones, Generations felt like they had so much variation despite being a remaster of previous zones. Sonic Forces just keeps throwing you into the same 5 environments over and over and over again. I won’t lie though they all do look beautiful, that is the positive to come from it.
The music in Sonic the Hedgehog has always been amazing, I loved the soundtracks from the old days but honestly, it feels really lazily put together this time around apart from a few in the later stages. Graphically the game looks beautiful, each character looks fantastically fleshed out, the environments look absolutely beautiful and I liked looking at the graphical design of the backgrounds.
Overall Sonic Forces has been pretty disappointing, it has a few redeeming qualities, the customisation, the graphics the story isn’t too bad but these are let down by the repetitiveness, the lack of creativity and no soul. It’s sad because I thought this was going to be Sonic Generations 2 but sadly it isn’t. SEGA said they would judge the future of Sonic on the performance of these two games, Sonic Forces and Sonic Mania and it’s proved that Sonic Mania was the winner and that’s the direction to take Sonic in. Sonic Team I’ve always loved you, I have been a Sonic fan for years but I feel Sonic now needs a new direction, go back to the glory days, people love it. I hate to review this in a negative light, I understand developers have it difficult but I have to be honest and sadly I didn’t enjoy myself that often with this title. Despite my negative comments, I feel kids would have an absolute blast with this title.