Reviews: Sonic Forces

Enjoyable, yet Disappointing

So Sonic Forces has finally come out... and it didn't quite live up to its hype. Now don't get me wrong, I managed to enjoy the game in spite of its flaws, but I still can't help but be disappointed. I was really hoping that the game would turn out to be something more than just average, especially after the resounding success of Sonic Mania.

Pros:
  • The graphics are quite awesome to look at, even on the Switch.
  • The story, while far from perfect, is a step up from the previous Sonic games due to having a sense of urgency and danger, something I felt the previous games lacked.
  • Roger Craig Smith voicing of Sonic has really improved from previous games. Same goes for Kirk Thornton's voicing of Shadow. (Jason Grifith still has them beat though).
  • The OST, as always is pretty damn good. Though the Modern and Classic Sonic stage themes are rather bland by comparison.
  • The Avatar is easily the best feature about the game and the biggest source of replay value. That your Avatar actually undergoes Character Development through the story is a big plus.
  • Infinite is easily my favorite Sonic villain. His powers are cool, his design is awesome, Liam O'Brien does a great job voicing him, and his theme song is a guilty pleasure of mine. That said, I still have some issues with him.

Cons:
  • The story, while engaging for the most part, tends to violate the rule of Show, Don't Tell. For instance, we're told that Sonic is being tortured on the Death Egg, but when we see him, he's perfectly fine (Though this is more the fault of the localization team than the writers).
  • While I'm one of the few people who didn't mind Classic Sonic being in the game, I wished that the writers would have him do more than be Tails' sidekick. Also, his controls are way too slippery.
  • Speaking of Tails, his Badass Decay in this game is utterly disgusting. What happened to the kid who saved Station Square from a missile?
  • Infinite's backstory is never touched upon in the main game and the gang never learns who he truly is.
  • The final battle with Infinite is woefully anticlimactic. I mean, really? A reskin of Metal Sonic's boss fight. Is that really the best you can do, Sonic Team?
  • The fact that Chaos and Shadow only appear in cutscenes and don't get boss fights is insulting and borders on false advertisement.
  • Levels are way too short to enjoy.

Conclusion: 6/10. While it's not a trainwreck like 06 and Rise of Lyric, Forces is still a disappointing step backwards from Colors and Generations and an overall bad way for SEGA to end a year that has given us amazing games like Cuphead, Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey, A Hat In Time, etc. SEGA really needs to step up their game.

What happened?

After Sonic Generations I thought they had finally nailed the 3D/2.5D Sonic formula. That game had it all; great level design, graphics, music and replayability. After so long in the shadows I thought Sonic had come back at last.

So what happened? Never mind the mess that was Sonic Boom, this game is just so 'meh' I don't even know how to describe it. But I'll try:

PROS:

The Avatar: Some people think this is just going to flood the fandom with crappy OC's... which it will, but I like this feature. The Avatar levels are some of the most fun, there is loads of customization to be unlocked, and the Avatar has some character development, going from too timid to hold a gun straight to bona-fide badass.

Infinite: He may be super edgy, but there's no denying this guy is cool. Maybe its the mask, the illusions or his voice, but I like this guy. Shame he gets side-lined so easily though.

CONS:

Levels are too short and far, far too easy. I know it's aimed at kids but I think this lack of challenge is insulting to their intelligence. Getting an S rank on every stage is a walk in the park.

Rehashed Content: Green Hill and Chemical Plant are back, again. Classic Sonic is back, again. Sonic has proven itself capable of awesome level design, why not apply this to new ideas?

The Plot: I don't mind dark in Sonic. It doesn't have to be all sunshine and rainbows. But the super-serious war element is badly handled by terrible dialogue and phoned-in performances from the usual cast. Only Infinite has any weight behind his lines.

The Music: I can't believe I'm saying this but the music sucks. The music in a Sonic game sucks! How is this possible?! It's just so bland it drains me of what little joy I got from playing this game.

Result:

Some good features, but ultimately a wasted opportunity to do something fresh and exciting with Sonic by building on the strengths of Generations. By no means a train-wreck but leaves me feeling disappointed overall.

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