Sonic Forces

Sonic Forces (November 2017)

System:
Nintendo Switch
Publisher:
Sega
Developer:
Sega
Series:
Sonic the Hedgehog

Why, oh why, Sega!? Why can’t you be consistent with your games? Did you really want to be outdone by the team behind Sonic Mania, the game literally made by fans!? I had high aspirations for Sonic Forces. Following Sonic Mania and the plethora of other amazing titles we got this year, I was looking forward to this game.

Unfortunately, this game has surprised me in the worst of ways. Let’s find out why.

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The Review

Gameplay

Sonic Forces

Gotta Go Fest!

Sonic Forces is trying to be way too many games at once. First, you have your classic Modern Sonic gameplay from Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations. Second, you have your Classic Sonic gameplay which is more focused on speed and precision platforming like the Genesis titles. Lastly, you have the new form of gameplay in the creation of your original character.

Because Sonic Forces has all of these different play styles in one game, it can get relatively confusing by way of controls. Switching between all three characters can be tedious and some may prefer one style of gameplay to the others.

Modern Sonic

If you’ve played Sonic Generations or Sonic Colors, you already know the basic controls. Imagine that but stiffer.

Sonic Forces

Now you to can be edgy incarnate!

In classic Modern Sonic style, the goal is to generally hold down the boost button and blast through enemies and obstacles on your way to the finish line. But, sometimes you are asked to do precision platforming, and that is where Modern Sonic starts to falter.

Sonic always feels exceptionally stiff, and it’s incredibly laborious to move him from one side to another. It became quite difficult to “force” Sonic back onto the right track. I felt like I was going to split my Control stick in half.

Because of Sonic’s weird inertia, it can also be quite difficult to get him on the platform you want him to be on. I was never quite sure how hard I needed to push the stick to get him onto the ascending platforms going up.

Overall, it felt like it was a downgrade from generations and somehow the game has lost the great sense of control Sonic Generations had.

Classic Sonic

It’s almost like Sega said, “how can we save this game? It’s tanking fast!” One of the employees who was probably smoking in the corner looked up and said, “what about that… uh… Classic Sonic character from Generations? People liked him.” This man got a raise, and now spends most of his days vacationing in the Bahamas.

Sonic Forces

He’s back!!!

Honestly, there was a reason for Classic Sonic to be in Sonic Forces if you’ve played Sonic Mania. But, that doesn’t excuse the fact that it feels like a cop-out.

“Please Classic Sonic, come and save our tanking series!”

I will say though that the Classic Sonic levels are the best in the game. There’s no weird boost mechanic, no wild inertia, and you have the most control over your character. Even if the rest of the game sucks, at least they got these levels right.

I kind of wish Sega made the whole game with this style. But with the advent of Sonic Mania, it might be redundant.

My OC and Me

My Sonic OC (Jim the Bird) is now official Sonic Cannon. Straight up fact. Sega let me do it, and now it’s a thing.

Sonic Forces

It looks so bad…

The OC mechanics are the newest inclusion in the Sonic Game formula. Your character gets probably the most broken weapon in history, called a wispon after the wisps of Sonic Colors. It can be used as a hook shot to latch onto different points to fly around, and it doubles as a flamethrower that one-shots any creature except bosses.

Depending on what type of wispon you’re holding, you also activate different wisp powers based on the aliens from Sonic Colors. These included a drill that lets you follow rings, a rocket that boosts you higher, and beam which shoots you across the map.

It may be a nitpick, but I hate how the wisps keep returning to Sonic games. I thought they’d be a one-shot thing in Sonic Colors, but no, they’re in this game as well. They have no reason to be here and don’t play any sort of part in the story at all. It’s incredibly weird and doesn’t belong in Sonic Forces.

Sonic Forces

Where’ve I seen this boss before?

The platforming is some kind of weird hybrid between Classic Sonic and Modern Sonic. You can’t boost like Modern Sonic, but you can still use the homing attack. The gameplay focuses less on boosting and more on platforming. Because of this hybrid, it doesn’t really feel complete. It’s always trying to be one or the other, but never really its own thing.

The OC honestly feels the worst out of any of the play styles, and it’s really unfortunate when character creation was the main selling point of Sonic Forces.

What’s the Gameplay Verdict?

Splitting up the three styles of gameplay was a problem. It was clearly too big of a task Sega had tried to take on with how much time they allowed for this game’s production. It would’ve been better if they had simply focused on one of these three play styles.

Sega obviously needed to test the game more and make it feel better as well. I can just hear the wails of the game testers begging Sega to fix the bugs, but Sega scoffing at them and brushing them off. With another year this game could’ve been something special. They could have polished it well beyond what it needed to be, but instead, we have some half-baked attempt at Sonic platforming.

Story

Sonic Forces

Doesn’t the OC just look so good?

The fanfic plot of Sonic Forces is alright, as far as fanfics go that is. Sonic gets captured by Eggman and has to be saved by your OC. Your OC saves him and then starts to lay the beat down on Eggman and his forces. Oh yeah… also Classic Sonic shows up out of a time-hole or something to save the day.

That’s generally the backdrop you get from Sonic Forces. It’s not amazing, but it gets the job done for the most part. I often found myself confused at what the characters were actually doing. Often I asked myself, “how does this achieve your goal?” and “what does that have to do with anything?”

Obviously, they just wanted to give your OC as much screen time as possible, but it kind of felt “forced.” It almost felt like all the other characters you’ve grown to love (or hate) meant little to nothing. The only characters that mattered were Sonic, Sonic, and your OC. It was genuinely annoying.

At least Knuckles isn’t an idiot in this universe, though.

Visuals

Sonic Forces

Gotta get those rings man!

Why does Sonic Forces look so bad on the Switch compared to the other consoles? It could be that they started development late on the Switch version, but that isn’t a good excuse.

Preferably they should have taken more time with this one and waited until they could have released it with minimum 60 fps at 1080p. It’s extremely important to have these frames when you are making lightning-fast movements like in Sonic Forces. In fact, it’s probably one of the games that could benefit from these specs the most.

The only plus to the Switch version is the portability, and the game does indeed work just as well in the handheld mode as when docked. But, if you’re looking for something more graphically appealing perhaps look to other consoles.

Sound

This is the worst sound design I have ever experienced in any Sonic game. Others Sonic games have been bad, but you could’ve always counted on the music to be good. This time, however, it’s beyond bad. It’s mixed poorly, and the themes just aren’t that great.

Sonic Forces

Every main villain ever… Sonic’s screwed

In fact, they’re mostly annoying and some of them are straight up tone deaf, such as the Classic Sonic Green Hill Zone stage. The music was so bad, I had to mute the t.v.

This is the most tragic experience I’ve ever had musically. It was even more of a shock because Sega was known for their amazing music. But now, it seems even the music has fallen below average. All the parts just fight for center stage, and they are a cohesive mess.

I’m sorry Sega, but this is not OK!

Difficulty

Sonic Forces is the easiest and shortest Sonic game I have ever played. I played the game to completion in three hours. My friend who plays far fewer platforming games beat it in three hours, and my brother completed half the game in an hour and a half.

The main difficulty (if any) of the game occurs when the game glitches out and kills you. Never once did I die and feel like it was my fault. It always felt like it was the cause of mechanics, and that is not a good feeling.

I also played the game on the highest difficulty settings out of Normal and Hard. I never once had a problem progressing with this game though.

Conclusion

Sonic Forces is a catastrophic mess of a game. There is no coherent progression at all, and it’s a bunch of ideas smooshed together in a way that doesn’t work at all. I am ashamed of the waste of manpower it took to make this game. Sega just didn’t finish their work. If they had pushed the release date back a year, it would’ve made the game so much better. They could have fixed so many bugs.

Everything was just so close to being finished, but it never was. The controls were almost there, but just not polished enough. The music was ok but felt like watered down soup.

Sonic Forces is an unfortunate turn of events after Sonic Mania, a game so good that people were applauding the return of Sonic. Unfortunately, Sega didn’t get the memo and dug him further into the grave.

The copy of Sonic Forces used for this review was purchased by Skylar and not provided by Sega. You can read our ethics policy for more information. The links to purchase below go to Amazon.com or Target.com. Purchases made through those links may give us a small commission fee at no additional cost to you.

Sonic Forces

$39.99
Sonic Forces
5.5

Gameplay

6/10

Story

5/10

Visuals

7/10

Sound

4/10

Difficulty

6/10

Pros

  • Lots of Customization
  • The moments of classic sonic are fun
  • Story has it's moments

Cons

  • Way too short
  • Music is unfortunately bad
  • Controls are stiff
  • Can't name your OC



Skylar DeWeese

Hello, my name is Skylar DeWeese. I’m a long-time Nintendo gamer. I’m also a Video Game Composer. My favorite series are the Super Mario, Metroid, and Pokemon series.