After the success of Sonic Mania, we turn to Sega's second Sonic game, Sonic Forces. The 3D iteration of the blue blur hasn't had the greatest success, but can things be different this time?
Sonic Forces kicks us off with Dr. Eggman once again trying to take over the world, but this time he actually somewhat succeeds as he defeats and captures Sonic. Within the six months that our speedster hero was missing, 99 percent of the planet has been taken over and a small resistance group comprised of a few series favourites are putting up their last stand to avoid total domination.
I initially was happy with the direction the narrative was going, however it all amounted to nothing special in the end. So much could have been done with the characters present, but unfortunately it wasn't capitalised on.
The game can be beaten in roughly 2 and half to 3 hours which is really disappointing. When I first caught wind of Sonic Forces and its promos, I likened it more to Sonic Unleashed and how that overall story line played out.
The avatar you create is a pretty important part of the story and how he/ she came to meet Sonic and his friends is quite interesting and I feel that side of it should have been explored a little more.
Sonic Forces takes place across 31 stages split up between the world map and Eggman's base in space. These are split into 3 categories and therefore the gameplay will change depending on whether you need to use Classic Sonic, Avatar or a tag team comprised of Modern Sonic and Avatar. I honestly feel that a huge disservice was done to Classic Sonic as the physics felt completely off and after coming from Sonic Mania, it took some getting used to.
Once a stage is completed you are given a final score depending on how well you performed. This score goes into a system which you build up and awards you medals for your avatar. 4 bronze for a silver and 4 silver for a gold, all the way up to complete honours. There are also daily challenges which you can complete, some of which offer extra XP which definitely helps in attaining those honours.
I felt that the tag stages themselves could have been fleshed out a little more to really give it a more dynamic feeling. The whole point of Sonic is to go fast, so if you have no obligation to switch to your avatar, I believe that most people would prefer to stick to playing as the blue blur.
For the first time in the franchise, players can now create their own avatar which plays an integral part in the overall story. You can pick from several species such as Wolf, Rabbit, Hedgehog and more along with being able to customise its clothing and overall look.
While you will of course be looking to build up your own created character, you are also able to use avatars created by others whenever the right stage is selected.
As you complete stages in the game, you unlock new items to use on your avatar with 'S' ranks giving you the biggest haul. These vary between headgear, full body suits, shoes and what you'll be using the most as avatar, a Wispon.
Wispons are the weapons you're avatar can use. There aren't many of them, however I felt that there were enough differences between them that it made a meaningful impact on the gameplay depending on which one you go for.
Visually the game looks amazing. Environments have a really strong pop and lots of little details you will definitely miss the first time around as you are blasting through at the speed of sound.
Sonic Forces started out so well, but ended up not realising the potential it had. The controls are not as fine tuned as the past 3D games and the end result after going through all those stages feels unsatisfying.
Its a real shame as Sonic Mania put on a stellar performance and there were high hopes that Sonic Team can put something together that was not only on the same level, but hopefully even better. Sadly this did not happen and your better off going back to the previous 3D titles instead.
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