Sonic Forces Stays on Track & Moves Forward: PS4 Review

 

Unpopular opinion, though the pages of reviews I’ve managed to navigate say otherwise; it wasn’t that bad of a game.

Don’t get me wrong, I played it with the idea of both sides in mind, that it could be another step forward or a flaming dumpster that could send the Sonic Team back again. People have long memories in the game community, and though 10 years out, no one has forgotten Sonic ’06, as it is referred to. I personally had gripes with “The Secret Rings” and “Unleashed” with the auto-run/dodge system the games seemed to run on, and I gave up on our blue hero. Full Disclosure: This is my first Sonic game since that era, not counting when Sonic Mania was introduced to me as a demo and I got a good nostalgia kick for a bit. That was a great move, but I digress.

The first thing that hit me about it’s release is that it went from the $40 range rather than the full $59.99 that new titles harbor these days as an average. (Technically, you could have bought Mania & Forces together to come out to a similar price, which did occur as a good marketing tactic if they ever wanted to use it.) For that price versus the rest of the industry, that makes Forces affordable, giving good incentive for purchase whether a parent looking for a new title or a veteran gamer, both whom may remember.

The big joke that surrounded “Forces” was the ability to create your own Sonic character. I thought it would be great to make the most bizarre looking icon, and it was fun manipulating the different costumes to unlock with each achievement over the 2 to 4 hour main story. Your character can be 1 of 5 different animals, each with it’s own incentives, so you could be a Hedgehog and gain more rings upon collecting them, or you could be a Dog and gain more time in invincibility mode after taking a hit. I thought that was nifty honestly, so obviously I went the Hedgehog route, specifically for science. The Bird was my second choice, due to the racing games.

The over-world, stages, and story felt out of Ian Flynn’s comic universe. The story begins with after the first stage, Sonic loses to the new villain character, Infinite. After not being seen for months while in Dr. Robotnik (Eggman)’s clutches, the other cast members like Amy or Knuckles form a resistance movement against the Eggman Empire. Flynn’s stories include a much more diverse cast, many rotating villains and tales of rebellion with Sonic, and in the comics & 90’s TV show Sally, at the resistance front. That personally pulled me in a bit. This is where your OG character comes in, introduced into their main force as “The Rookie”.

Included in the story is an explanation to have Classic Sonic join the rest of the cast, making this title feel like the sequel to Sonic Generations, which would not be surprising as Sonic Team’s intentions. So, Modern Sonic, OG Character, and Classic are all players get to interact as. Until Sonic comes back, the OG model more or less mirrors Modern Sonics movements, on down to the homing attack and the bounce. The stark different in gameplay is the variety of elemental weapons your OG gets to equip and unlock over each stage and achievement. There’s also a wire instrument that makes OG feel a lot like a Spiderman archetype, and it serves as just another mechanic to show off the world, get around stages, and quick-time certain events at different points.

My biggest surprise is that they did away with the auto-run from earlier titles, and thank god. Modern Sonic feels more like the Sonic Adventure games’s gameplay, where I can stop and think about what I’m doing before I rush right in. The boost attacks, which I suppose are from the Colors title since you have to collect the capsule squids to initiate it, add a tactic to barreling through certain enemies, so I appreciated that. Classic Sonic is everything a Genesis Owner should expect, and that’d be the platforming, the ground-spinning, and the power-ups. Nothing wrong there.

Many of the stages were named of the past editions, and even would make reference to other older game areas. Some might say that they should have made new areas for the game, but I see that in having, for example, Green Hill Zone somewhere we play in, but in Forces took it and divided it into several different stages/spots. That was good thinking, and a way to differentiate between parts of Mobius’s world. With Classic, the game remixed stages like Chemical Plant and Green Hill, so I ended up in the second area from Sonic 2’s Chemical Plant, with much more added in and additional secrets.

There has been throw-back to the long-time fans since Sonic Generations hit consoles, and in the last three games Sonic Team has put in effort to appeal to past and present fans with the little things. We need that outreach, and congrats to them for finally making that a priority. Serious Kudos.

As was said earlier, it is a short main campaign, stretching at most 4 hours, meaning you can beat it in an afternoon if you prefer. The replay value is in collecting the red rings for more unlockables, getting S-Rank in each stage, and the new edition of the SOS-system, where the game at any point in the overworld map with beep and display a stage with a challenge for players to accomplish, giving a grindable rank for your time and skill with your OG character. You are able to earn medals throughout the game, which link to trophies and extra items yet again to equip your OG with. It certainly helps when trying to get the biggest bang for your buck at the price-point, but I can also see this getting stale after a while unless you’re a die-hard fan.

If you need me to talk about the music, then in a few short words; The soundtrack doesn’t disappoint, and never has.

So, in conclusion, Sonic Forces is not the worst game in the franchise, but also not a blow-out. I’d cite against it the shortness of the title, the ease of going through many of the stages, and while I had some difficulty near the end, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t power through after a time. I also didn’t care for the jumps of Modern/OG, as I’d fall down holes many times over because I didn’t position correctly. The gravity seems off with them where it doesn’t with Classic at the helm. While being a fun game and definitely replayable, it has the the chance of growing stale after a time, although unlockable stages to pop up at the right achievements, which helps.

 

If I were to score it, I’d place it between a 6.5 & a 7/10. It is a step forward for the Sonic Team, and I hope they keep trying, making games and learning from their mistakes. The Sonic franchise overall has taken some big hits over the years, so I’m sincerely happy with this title.

That’s all from us today, I hope you enjoyed checking our review. Have a couple things to add? Did you love or hate Forces for different reasons? Are we too optimistic? Let us know in the comments what you think, and don’t forget to like this post if you enjoyed it here today!

Stay Warned, Stay Informed. Reporting Live, From 20XX.

– D.Sigma


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s