Sonic Forces Review

As our resident Sonic expert, Craig helms our Sonic Forces review and comes away a little disappointed …

This was supposed to be the one, wasn’t it? That’s what they said. This will be the 3D Sonic game to bring back the glory days of Adventure 1 and 2, thrusting Sonic into the 21st century with a great game to rival long-time nemesis, Mario.

It’s not though and you probably already knew that.

Sonic Forces is more a case of what could’ve been rather than what it is. Playing through Sonic Forces’ three hour Story Mode showed me that there’s enough talent in Sonic Team to make another good 3D Sonic game, but something is going drastically wrong and that potential is not being realised.

The game is split into three main gameplay sections: 3D Sonic stages, 2D Sonic stages and Avatar stages (more about that later). All have been done better in previous games to varying degrees. On the whole, the 3D Sonic stages aren’t actually that bad. Most of them are quite competent, some offer adrenaline-inducing moments but it’s all over far too quickly. Almost every level can be beaten in under three minutes first time through with many failing to offer any sort of challenge whatsoever. Past fast-paced 3D Sonic games have usually provided at least a challenge to the most hardcore of Sonic players, with different ways to complete levels and shave seconds off your time, but the levels are so short here that I never felt any need to do so. I felt like many could’ve been completed with my eyes shut such was the ease at which I was completing stages. Even my seven-year-old son scored multiple S Ranks on his first run through the game.

If 3D Sonic is at least competent if not lengthy, then the biggest disappointment is with 2D Sonic.

Sonic Mania gave us a truly wonderful 2D Sonic game that not only harkened back to the classics of old but arguably surpassed them. Why then, do we have 2D Sonic in Sonic Forces which feels like a cheap knock-off of the original games. Every 2D section of the game feels heavy when you want to change direction, you lose momentum easily and every move you make feels like a chore. It’s even difficult to see where your character is at times thanks to the way the camera is zoomed out so far away from some of the sections of the levels, it’s just a letdown in every way possible.

One left-field idea that Sonic Forces does present us with though is the ability to create your very own Sonic character. You’ll be asked early on to choose a look and appearance for the newest member of the Resistance Group that’s looking to counter Eggman’s plans for world domination. You can make it as goofy or as serious as you want and by completing any level or task in the game you’ll unlock more and more items of clothing that you can edit your character’s appearance with.

There are far more customisation options than there really should be and by the time you’ve finished the game you’ll have well over hundreds of different possible combinations to choose from. Meaning that you may very well end up spending more time customising than actually playing levels such is the brevity of the actual gameplay.

While not as fast-paced as 3D Sonic, the Avatar levels are still completed at a decent pace, the only difference is that you’re given a grapple that allows you to hook onto things, making long jumps more manageable and a weapon capable of taking out the often static enemies. Truth be told, there isn’t too much difference between the Avatar and Sonic levels, especially when it comes to length as they’re just as short.

The story is nonsense and anyone who’s followed Sonic lore closely for some time will see a number of familiar faces. It’s all largely forgettable and much like the game itself feels all a bit rushed. Ironically, there isn’t too much wrong with Sonic Forces on a technical level. Sonic games are usually flush with out of bounds issues and general glitches but Forces holds up pretty well. That’s not enough to save it from failing to reach the levels of Generations and Colours though.

Sonic Forces Review Conclusion

It’s not the 3D Sonic game we wanted but it’s the one we’ve got. Sonic Forces gives us glimpses of what a good Sonic 3D game could look like but it does so much wrong that it’s not worth your time or money unless you’re a truly die-hard Sonic fan.

2/5

We tested Sonic Forces after purchasing a retail copy for Nintendo Switch, it’s also out now for PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

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