Sonic Forces Review

Sonic Forces was released in most countries on November 7th 2017. For Japan, however, it was released on November 9 2017.

If you’ve been a fan for a long time, or have been unimpressed with the line up of the past several Sonic games over the decade or so, Sonic Forces is a game that hopes to change your opinion about the modern Sonic franchise.
I am still a fan of modern Sonic. I have enjoyed a lot of the games that have come out in the past, but I haven’t been this excited about a Sonic game since the Sonic Adventure-era. I don’t know what made the game so appealing to me. Maybe because it included something that everybody would enjoy, either Classic Sonic, Modern Sonic or your own custom character. Most of the stages are new, only a handful of them are re-created or re-imagined classics.

When you start the game, the story begins as a short opening cutscene of Dr Eggman plotting what he’s going to do to Sonic and the world when he destroys it. Unlike most Sonic games which start with a very long and theatrical cutscene, the intro to Forces only lasts about a minute, then you get right into the stage. I really enjoyed the transition, and felt like it focused on more of the game play than the theatrics, but later on you’d see more in-game cutscenes throughout the stages, split after a few completions of levels or bosses.

There are 30 stages in total of the game. Some stages may seem shorter than others. I reckon my only criticism to the game was I wished some of the levels would have been longer. But, I guess that’s one way how they could fit 30 stages into the game. However, not all of the stages are a minute and a half long. Some are longer than others. It’s a big number of stages, as regular Sonic games quite often have about 22 or so stages each.

The graphics, visuals and effects are really stunning, and look glorious even on a standard HD television. I really appreciate the amount of time and detail they put in to make the scenes look just right. Especially a lot of the in-game levels have some minor cutscene transitions, like Avatar character jumps on a train in Space Port, or Sonic falls through space in another stage.

Besides the visually impressive graphics, another joy of the game is the exclusion of extra lives. Now for the first time in a Sonic game, there are no lives and no game overs. This made the gameplay for me less frustrating when I died, since I could endlessly come back to the same stage without having to worry about a pointless game over, and feel less stressed about dying at a specific level or boss battle.

The music, on the other hand, is a real big treat. I am really pleased that they bought back vocal music in Sonic games. It certainly has been a while since a Sonic game had vocal music. Interestingly there is also vocal music in stages as well.  It features catchy synth hook based music (other times hard hitting synth based music to rock) composed by Tomoya Ohtani. Jun Senoue does have involvement in this game as additional guitars and the lead guitarist to Infinite’s theme song.

When I played through Sonic Forces over a period of 2 days I was really getting into the game and had loads of fun with the game play and story elements. At some points I was actually cheering for them to smash Infinite in the face, or to threaten to beat up Eggman, or what not. The boss battles are one of the highlights to the game, and it’s where the new tag-team Fist Bump feature shines. It’s similar to the Team Blast feature that appeared in Sonic Heroes, and makes boss battles more exciting.

Let’s talk about the Avatar characters quickly. Yes you can create them during the game and I love it how they show up in the cutscenes. When you beat a level, and get a good rank, you will unlock more items that you can give to your avatar for customization. It’s a really fun way to earn something for your character after completing a stage or boss. They come with different weapons, or Wispons, based on the Wisps from Sonic Colours.  My personal favourite is the Cube Wispon, which turns oncoming enemies into cubes, and then you can walk straight into them, without getting damaged.

I haven’t tried Episode Shadow’s story yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

I enjoyed Sonic Forces. I really hope it isn’t the last time we see a 3D modern Sonic game. Sega and Sonic Team did put a lot of effort into this game and I really credit that. I wonder if there will be any more DLC to be added on in the future. I hope so!

Sonic Forces is a really fast-paced and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re a die hard, casual or new Sonic fan, I am sure you will enjoy this game.