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  • Accidental Innuendo: In the Spanish dub, Sonic says "Que bicho mas grande!" when passing by a Sandworm in the first level. This literally translates to "What a huge bug", but it sounds different to Puerto Rican ears as "bicho" is a slang term for a penis.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The Twitter Takeover celebrating the release of the game had a moment where Eggman received a message from Infinite which consisted of a file named Sonadow. This could either paint him as a Sonadow shipper or a massive troll. Either way, this paints him as being Not So Above It All.
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    • Infinite also previously valued friendship in the form of his Jackal Squad, but later states in the main game that friendship is a waste and an illusion. Is this coming from his lust for power so he himself wouldn't be hurt again, is it to avoid the pain of losing friends, or did the Phantom Ruby corrupt him, similar to how it changed the Hard Boiled Heavies?
    • Infinite has in his command clones of Shadow, Chaos, Metal Sonic, and Zavok. Despite this, none of them go beyond their base form, with Chaos remaining Chaos 0, Metal never turning into Metal Overlord nor Zavok giant. The main story shows Infinite's main flaw is his pride, as he could have killed Sonic and allies very early, yet decided it wasn't worth the effort. Could Infinite's lieutenants stay weak due to his own hubris?
      • In general, Infinite's personality takes quite a drastic change between the prequel comic, Episode Shadow, and the main game. In the comic and Episode Shadow, he was loud, boisterous, rough, and his speech was as gruff and informal as you'd expect from a mercenary. By the time of the game, his personality has done a complete 180 and he's far more cold, subdued, composed, and menacing and his speech is far more eloquent and theatrical. And given that the Phantom Ruby is implied to be sentient, it calls into question how much of Infinite's actions throughout the game were his own and how much of it was the Phantom Ruby corrupting or outright controlling him.
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    • Once again, it's implied but never expressed that the Phantom Ruby is a case of Sentient Phlebotinum. After it seemingly fled from Sonic at the end of Mania, it arrives in the Modern world a full six months ahead of him, and directly just outside Modern Eggman's doorstep. Not only that, just like with Classic Eggman, it starts working for him almost immediately, and does so with absolute ease, whereas Infinite actually has to put some effort into activating its abilities while he wields it. Given how Eggman's prototype replicas worked, however, it's entirely possible that the Phantom Ruby imprinted onto him, and was just returning to its activated master.
    • Is it possible Eggman is Not Himself in the game? While Eggman is clearly in-character in the game as a bombastic mad scientist, and let's remember he was never above terrorizing the whole world, the final boss has him quiet during the whole fight. Considering Eggman has always loved to ham himself up, this is extremely weird for him. Is it possible the Phantom Ruby, like with Infinite above, is influencing him to a lesser extent?
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  • Angel/Devil Shipping: Infinite/Avatar (especially the red wolf Avatar, dubbed Gadget by many fans) has gained a bit of steam as a Crack Pairing, due to their Not So Different dynamic.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Despite the grim situation the heroes are in, they don’t act much differently from their usual selves. Of particular note is Sonic, who, despite being kept prisoner by Eggman and straight-up tortured for 6 months, still keeps his usual upbeat attitude. (It should be noted that in the Japanese version, there is no mention of Sonic being tortured.)
    • Jarringly, it's mentioned that Tails "lost it" after thinking Sonic died, but when we see him, he's more or less acting as he usually does. (Unless you take Tails’ Badass Decay as “losing it”.) The only tell that he's had any kind of distress is that he shouts out for Sonic's help, despite thinking Sonic's gone, but this is a blink-and-you'll miss it detail. (Interestingly, in the Japanese version, it's mentioned that the resistance simply didn't know Tails' whereabouts after Infinite's attack. Being that there's no implication of him "losing it," it explains why his demeanor didn't seem to be affected much.)
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • The final boss, the Death Egg Robot, is a massive, almost organically monstrous mecha powered by an overclocked Phantom Ruby. During the fight, it never uses the Phantom Ruby's power in any way, instead flinging iron balls and shooting lasers. The final phase gets it the worst, as its attacks are blatantly telegraphed.
    • The final battle with Infinite has been heavily criticized by fans for being nothing more than a blatant copy of Metal Sonic's boss fight, with the only difference being his energy cubes.
    • Shadow and Chaos, or rather, their Phantom replicas, get this due to being powerful characters who are quickly fought and taken out in a cutscene.
  • Anvilicious: Much like in Sonic Heroes, Sonic unsubtly preaches about The Power of Friendship towards both Eggman and Infinite. In the ending, Sonic later delivers a big speech about how we all have to fix the "real world" as opposed to an illusion.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • A big criticism of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is that, in that more combat-focused game, the combat in each combat arena was repetitive and tedious. Similar criticisms were leveled against Sonic Unleashed and, to a lesser extent, Sonic Heroes. Here, while there are combat arenas, they're meant to be an obstacle for players who don't take the faster paths (not to mention the Custom Hero's weaponry seems to be massively AoE focused, to minimize wasted time in said arenas).
    • The games have become rather infamous for their more evil secondary antagonists being generically evil with little background or little personality to speak of. Infinite gets more backstory within supplemental materials and the Episode Shadow DLC.
    • The plans to charge $1.99 for the Super Sonic DLC were scrapped.
  • Awesome Ego: Infinite is this trope made flesh. Everything he says and does throughout the game practically oozes with condescension and arrogance as he constantly belittles Sonic and his allies. His theme song can basically be summed up as "I'm awesome and you suck." Of course, given that he's a One-Man Army capable of curb-stomping the likes of Sonic and Silver, his arrogance is hardly unjustified.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Badass Decay: The game offers a complicated example. The Phantom Ruby is described to the player as having unrivaled power, enough for Eggman to actually conquer the world with ease through Infinite. However, due to a clunky presentation, this isn't shown well enough and makes the characters look incompetent.
    • Silver. The guy who has telekinetic powers strong enough to the point where he can compress tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of pounds of cars and debris into a massive ball. Realistically Silver's powers should be enough to make him a force to be reckoned with, yet he can't handle a few Death Egg Robots. He's still the only NPC to explicitly engage against Infinite, and even knocks loose one of the prototype rubies, which ends up helping later.
    • Since Sonic Unleashed, Tails has remained as just an Exposition Fairy who stays on the sidelines while Sonic does all the action. During many cutscenes, he's either hiding or in the background while the rest of the cast take action. He has to be saved by Sonic [and even Classic Sonic at one point] and is seen cowering in fear against Chaos 0, despite fighting him in previous games (and in the case of Adventure, he fought the much larger and more powerful Chaos 4). And during the climax where all of the resistance goes against Eggman's army? Everyone, even Charmy, is shown taking down said army. Tails? He just flies past, providing more exposition. This is in particular baffling as previous games have shown him to be a Gadgeteer Genius, so even if he is not a fighter, he could still have been shown providing technology to the Resistance, yet "he went missing".
      Tails: Huh? Chaos? Sonic, help me!
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The Custom Hero avatar, as some think this is appealing towards more questionable parts of the Sonic fanbase, as well as leading the Modern and Classic Sonics to be less refined in design due to falling back into the Adventure series motto of unwanted multiple playstyles. On the flipside, others acknowledge that with other franchises out there such as Dragon Ball Xenoverse gaining large amounts of popularity for being able to make your own custom character, combined with Sonic Forces being designed with this in mind from the start, it could have some interesting potential alongside their Wispon gadget weapons varying up gameplay. There's also the selection of Avatar species: all but one of them are mammals, with some also calling the inclusion of both a Dog and a Wolf redundant.
    • Due to the series' change in tone since Sonic Colors, people have been split down the middle with Sonic's ramped-up personality. Some people think he's an obnoxious joke machine who never takes anything seriously, the breaking point being when Sonic, after supposedly being "captured" and "tortured" for six months, just acts as if everything merely inconveniences him and jokes around with Infinite, compared to before when despite still cracking jokes and constantly showboating, still understood when things were serious. Others see Sonic as the original Mascot with Attitude, and prefer his self-confident, braggadocious personality and light-hearted quips, especially if the alternative is failed attempts at seriousness.
    • Infinite was already stirring fans up between two camps of acceptance for trying something new, and bile hatred for what looked like a severely edgy-looking foe. One side loves his Dark Is Evil design, his metal theme song, Liam O'Brien's intimidating vocal performance, and just his overall "holier than thou" attitude throughout the entire game. The opposition, however, find those very same elements excessively trite and see him as a tryhard edgy OC, not unlike those which most younger Sonic fans create themselves, and those very same elements were why Shadow is disliked. This only got worse when his backstory was revealed in Episode Shadow and the prequel comics. He was just a mercenary squad captain and aligned himself with Eggman, but went insane after he lost a fight to Shadow to become who he is. People are split on either finding him sympathetic despite his actions or finding the shift abrupt and laughably pathetic, and even that last part is debatable as to whether it makes him a complete joke or a more unsettling baddie than the norm.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Egg Gate, Sonic's breakout level from the Death Egg. Along with some very nice visuals, the stage is very reminiscent of Crazy Gadget and Egg Fleet with some Sonic Unleashed flair thrown in there, and is quite a thrill to race though.
    • Capital City (Metropolis), the level where the Resistance stage an attack on Eggman's base that Knuckles dubs "Operation: Big Wave." Not long into it, Infinite shows up and activates the Phantom Ruby on the landscape, turning the world literally upside down, having you run across the sides of buildings as he attempts to smash you to bits using giant monstrous versions of himself, ultimately forcing the Resistance to retreat despite them knowing it's an illusion. It's one of the few stages that has a great gimmick to it and showcases the potential of the Phantom Ruby's threat, with the narrative delivered through some fantastic mid-level animated sequences and some great music to top it off, all capped off nicely with the Avatar putting aside their fear and facing Infinite in a one-on-one bout, ultimately resulting in finding out a way to counter his power through the prototype piece found earlier.
    • Despite the missed opportunity with the eponymous void, the Null Space level is one of the big favorites. The level involves an all-out assault on the Sonic and Avatar duo by Eggman's robots, set to the tune of "Fist Bump," and its many alternate paths adds a lot of replay value.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Shadow and Chaos going back to the dark side? Yeah right. The mere existence of the Episode Shadow DLC practically gave it away that they were fakes before the game even came out.
  • Character Rerailment:
    • Knuckles is a Reasonable Authority Figure as the leader of the Resistance, undermining years of Badass Decay and Flanderization. Not that it stops him from making a very idiotic decision about halfway through the story, but it comes down more to his lack of planning skills and a desperate need to make a real comeback against Robotnik's army than general stupidity.
    • Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik has gone from being something of an Affably Evil joke to successfully conquering the world and going back to his roots as an evil Mad Scientist. He also completely shuts down Infinite once he's defeated for the last time and takes back the Phantom Ruby (albeit this is offscreen), avoiding the former trend of Robotnik getting overpowered by the powerful beings he summons/creates.
    • Amy continues this from Sonic Lost World, where she's presented as a competent tech wiz who keeps control of communication. Not to mention her obsession with Sonic is once again toned down. Even her voice has improved since Lost World, sounding more like her Boom counterpart. And she's presented as she was in Sonic Adventure — a cheerful fan who shows admiration for him. She even interacts with Sonic in a normal way. Even when she hears that Sonic's okay, her reaction is more along the lines of relief than obsessing over him.
    • Forces returns Shadow to the levelheaded and heroic (if not always friendly) personality he had in Heroes and '06. Contrast previous Sonic media of the 2010s, which opt to portray him as a petty Card-Carrying Bully instead of the more nuanced Anti-Hero he was in the 2000s.
  • Common Knowledge: The relevation that Classic Sonic is from another dimension/timelime has caused the assumption that the classic era games have been retconned from Modern Sonic's dimension/timeline, which as the presence of Green Hill and Chemical Planet should indicate, is blatantly untrue. Sonic also mentions that the Death Egg just won't stay destroyed in Egg Gate, referencing the times he's destroyed it in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Word of God has also all but confirmed during SXSW 2019 that the classic era games are still canon to Modern Sonic's world by stating that Modern Sonic's timeline has remained the same.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: When you go through the list of other people's Avatars, you'll find that of their Wispons, most are either Burst or Lightning, and the occasional Cube, with all of the others exceedingly rare, as they are the first three Wispons to be unlocked and the simplest three to use (in addition to the Burst and Lightning Wispons being very useful, noted under Game-Breaker below). In addition, there are more Wolves and Hedgehogs than any other species, as Wolves draw Rings towards themselves and Hedgehogs are the ever-popular choice for OCs. Of course, since most of the stages only call for Burst or Lightning or (in boss battles) Asteroid, this isn't surprising.
  • Complete Monster: Infinite is the high commander in the Eggman Empire and the primary reason behind the flawless conquest of Earth. Because of his position and power, Infinite took full part in the iron-fisted domination of 99.9% of the world, gleefully eliminating opposition, heroic or civilian, directly or by proxy through his illusions of Shadow, Chaos, Zavok, and Metal Sonic. He makes his introduction beating Sonic into unconsciousness for him to be imprisoned for six months. In the interlude, Infinite murders the Avatar's helpless friends, only sparing the Avatar so Infinite could relish their fear. He's put Omega out of commission from an early point to the finale; tried to kill Silver thanks to his love for ending heroes and instilling despair; and repeatedly tried to kill Sonic after his escape, only to not go through with it when Sonic is deemed not worth the effort. When the Resistance tried a full-scale assault on Metropolis, Infinite uses the Phantom Ruby to reduce them to even greater shambles. Later, he and Eggman try to trap Sonic in "null space", a void of eternal nothingness, to live out the rest of his days. At the climax, Infinite conjures a virtual sun to drop and burn everyone to death. A raving lunatic of a sadist, Infinite envisioned omnicidal designs even as a lowly thief and stands out for the reasons behind his sadism and hatred for weakness.
  • Contested Sequel: By this point following tradition, this game has fallen victim to countless, uproarious debates about whether it is good all the way, good yet flawed, merely average, downright bad with no redeeming qualities, and any other possible variation of the previously stated. Most of this has to do with the fact that it directly follows Sonic Mania, which received high praise and had some connection to it story-wise (mostly with the Phantom Ruby), leading to backlash towards it becoming harsher as a result. Common points of contention include the level design, level length, physics engine, story, and new villain Infinite.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
  • Creepy Awesome: Infinite qualified just with his appearance — a demonic-looking villain confidently floating above the Villain Team-Up.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • While the concept of the Avatar has been... contentious, to say the least, the template character (the Red Wolf with glasses) designed to show it off has actually been accepted and loved by a large portion of the fanbase, with many praising his design, calling him Buddy or, more popularly, Gadget the Wolf, and wanting SEGA to make him an official character. It's not exactly the level that the template design for Commander Shepard reached, but it's pretty close. The other designs (specifically the female orange punk rabbit seen in later trailers) are not too far behind him.
    • The Jackal Squad and its members have gained some devoted fans as well due to their color motif and designs, despite only really being namedropped and shown for two panels in a comic that otherwise focused on Infinite and Eggman.
  • Epileptic Trees: One relating to development: fans have speculated that the Sonic from Sonic Boom was originally intended to be the third playable character, before being retooled into the Avatar. Evidence for this includes the machine Eggman pilots for the Final Boss having a similar body type to Lyric and the Avatar's grapple ability being strikingly similar to Boom!Sonic's Enerbeam.
  • Evil Is Cool: Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik, Infinite, Metal Sonic, Shadow the Hedgehog, Chaos, and Zavok qualify, since they have managed to take control of much of the world at the beginning of Sonic Forces, and are powerful enough to kick Sonic around like a ball.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Certain fans have this view towards Infinite. This only doubled when the prequel comic showed Infinite what he looked liked without his mask.
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: The characters referring to Classic Sonic as the Sonic "from another dimension", which seemingly retcons the time travel aspect of Sonic Generations, hasn't been very well-received, with many perceiving it to be confusing and making little sense.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Between this game and Sonic Mania, both being return to forms for different types of Sonic games releasing within months of each other. While Mania was a pure classic-style game, Forces draws from the Adventure, '06, and boost templates for its story, gameplay, and characters.
    • Sticking to longtime tradition, and because the games have been released so close to one another in Fall 2017, it was an inevitability that Sonic Forces has been put up against Super Mario Odyssey, as both games are the latest entries in the long-running franchises starring the famous gaming mascots. The similarities in scope (the villains Bowser and Dr. Eggman are extremely, dangerously competent and kick the heroes' behinds throughout the game) and vocal theme songs of both games ("Jump Up Super Star" and "Fist Bump") only compounded the comparisons between the two games, with several music mashups between the two songs.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Since Sonic was captured and tortured by Eggman for 6 months, all while Infinite is out there fighting against the resistance, that leaves plenty of material for fans to write how Sonic is affected by all of this, with most adding in some Angst in order to avert his portrayal in the actual story, where he's shown to have been no worse for wear despite his long captivity.
  • Fan-Preferred Pairing: Although there's only one Avatar and the promotional avatars are there to show the different possibilities, people like to pair the Avatar Wolf with the Avatar Cat.
    • On the other hand, THE most popular ship to come out of Forces is the Wolf Avatar/Infinite.
  • Franchise Original Sin: Forces story is about Eggman winning, and conquering the world with his powerful lietenant Infinite, who by all accounts is loyal to the doctor. Not only that, Infinite as a Final Boss fight is supposedly wasted in favor of having Eggman as the final boss. This already happened wayy back in Sonic CD, where Metal Sonic conquers Little Planet for Eggman, and is the second last boss battle. CD however came during a time Sonic games barely had a formula, while Forces suffered from the previous two main games having Eggman as the surprise final boss, in fact, the same boss.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The trailer for Infinite, which employs Linkin Park-esque nu metal rap rock note  along with general edginess to the point of self-parody, was released the same day that Chester Bennington, Linkin Park's lead singer, committed suicide.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • For the Avatar, the Void Wispon. Though you slow down briefly after firing it and it's not readily spammable, just a single shot of it nukes every enemy on the screen by sucking them into the black hole. Even better, it sucks every single item, Wisp capsule, and Ring into its radius and gives them to the player (albeit collectibles are unaffected), allowing players the ability to potentially amass the cap of 999 rings on certain levels — and it can suck things through walls! The only significant downside is that bosses No-Sell it, forcing the player to use wire attacks or Sonic's Homing Attacks in Tag Team fights.
    • Another overpowered Wispon is actually the second Wispon you get: the Lightning Whip. While it can be hard to control since it thrusts you forwards if holding a direction while swinging it, as well as slowing you down if you're running, you may soon realize that beyond one exception (in Infinite's fight with the Avatar, with his Phantom Ruby attacks still affecting you), you're invulnerable while swinging the whip. This lets you tear ass through enemies and certain obstacles more safely than with any other weapon, and can even cheese phase two of the Final Boss in about a minute.
    • The default Burst Wispon also gets this. Traversing levels almost becomes trivial when you get a hold of a Burst Wisp capsule and can practically leap across huge chunks of it (it doesn't help that there's usually long lines of these capsules leading into the sky, practically encouraging players to break the game's level design). Its main weapon use is also fairly broken, allowing players to wipe out entire squalls of Egg Pawns in less than a second just by holding down the button to use it, making most combat encounters child's play. Using it during the few boss fights that involve the Avatar also means making the second Infinite fight and the second phase of the Death Egg Robot complete jokes to fight.
    • The Drill Wispon is also showing potential to be just as broken if not more. While its method of attack is obtuse at best, the sheer distance that a fully charged dash can cover in the blink of an eye makes such things as "platforming" completely irrelevant.
    • Hell, the Avatar in general is just freaking broken. Let's take a moment to review what these miraculous methods of robo-carnage called Wispons do again. Hover has the nuking capability of the Void, but knocks loot down like a POW Block. Cube freezes everything in a radius and generates Rings from them. Asteroid can be used as a Spam Attack and can cheese Infinite's first fight in mere seconds AND gives you invincibility for the Color Power. Then there's the abilities of the Avatars themselves, the most notable being the Wolf, which has a permanent Magnet Shield; the Cat, which always keeps one ring, making the matter of getting hit nonexistent; the Bear, which can bash heads by knocking Homing Attacked enemies into one another; and the Rabbit, which allows you to breeze through after getting hit with longer invincibility frames.
  • Guide Dang It!: A number of people have reported trouble with the boss fight against Zavok, as they instinctually jump when Zavok slams his giant Buzz Bomber against the floor. What you're supposed to do is not jump, as it will bounce Sonic high enough to reach Zavok.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Knuckles Chaotix featured a bad ending of a dystopian future filled with robots and hellfire. In Sonic Forces, this became the present.
    • "Infinite" contains Linkin Park-esque nu metal rap rock. Dangerkids, the band behind the song, viewed Linkin Park as one of their inspirations for making music; they referenced Linkin Park in their first album. The song was released the same day as Chester Bennington, Linkin Park's lead singer, committed suicide by hanging.
    "Cause when your time is up and everything is falling down."
    "It's only me and you, who is gonna save you now?"
    • The comparisons to the Archie Comics and SatAM with the comic's cancellation confirmed. Also, one of the mandates SEGA requested of Archie Comics was that Robotnik/Eggman can't win in the long run, aside from maybe a few smaller victories here and there. This game opens with Eggman having won.
    • The comparisons to Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) became much harsher when it was discovered that Tails now suffers from a serious case of Badass Decay that makes him about as useless in battle as his SatAM self. His only saving grace is the fact that, unlike his counterpart from the cartoon, he's still a Gadgeteer Genius and gets some sick burns on Eggman.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • For a meta example, the Twitter Takeover with Eggman, Sonic, and Shadow had one question begin with Eggman reading it off for Shadow, only to stop cold and stammer that it's probably not a good question to ask. Sonic underestimates what it is and reads it anyway, catching himself a little too late when he processes what it was; "Hey Shadow, how's Maria?" The fact that the two of them, particularly Eggman, were trying to be respectful of Shadow's trauma shows they all have some sense of friendship when not starring in a game. (Though Shadow's Tranquil Fury reaction, as well as Sonic's panic afterwards, loops it right back around to Crowning Moment of Funny.)
    • Once you've completed the main story, the menu background changes to show the Resistance's war room brightly lit with sunlight streaming in from the roof and a single flower growing out of the floor, presumably symbolizing the war being over and reinforcing the themes of rebuilding from the ashes the game ended with.
  • He Really Can Act: When clips were leaked online, fans were quite impressed with how Kirk Thornton had greatly improved from his generic bad guy voice for Shadow in Sonic Boom.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: With the announcement in 2021 that Roger Craig Smith would retire as the voice of Sonic, his farewell to the Avatar in the game's final scene becomes this.
    Sonic: See you later, buddy.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The fact that the game's plot deals with saving the world after Eggman conquers it. Looks like we might see how Sonic Chronicles ends after all.
    • The reveal trailer has a lot of people remembering a certain line featured in Issue 48 of Archie's Sonic comic:
      "For the first time in his life, Sonic truly understands the meaning of war..."
    • The above is made doubly so with Tails' line to Classic Sonic specifically during the final boss following the reviews of Sonic Forces in comparison to Sonic Mania.
      You'll always be our shining hope!
    • The teaser for the Custom Hero feature promptly went under Memetic Mutation due to how the character's silhouette looks similar to Bubsy. Cut to the Custom Hero's proper reveal, and bringing Bubsy into the game is technically a possibility (even though there is no bobcat species). Made even more hilarious when a new Bubsy game was announced a few months after the Custom Hero reveal.
    • Due to Dr. Eggman's influence, Green Hill's rivers have all been turned into sand. Then came Hirokazu Yasuhara's presentation at Digital Dragons 2017, where he detailed the original time travel plot plans for Sonic 2, and the infamous Dust Hill cut desert level turns out to originally have been a ruined Bad Present version of Green Hill. Coincidence?
    • Infinite's design unintentionally resembles a prototype design for Blaze the Cat.
    • Infinite's name incites memories of this Sonic the Hedgehog CD Easter egg. Fun is Infinite.
    • Zavok's first reveal gave him the title Master of Chaos (later renamed King of Chaos); here, Zavok is present working with a character named Chaos.
    • This tweet regarding Sonic Forces portrays Shadow as a villain. The E3 2017 trailer confirms he is, albeit it's not the real Shadow.
    • In the September trailer, Silver tries to convince his comrades not to give up. Contrast Sonic Generations, where one of his voice clips had him telling you to do exactly that. Or, even better, his debut. "IT'S NO USE!!!!"
    • Fans who preferred Sonic Mania to Forces for its retro graphics and story will be surprised that Mania is a Stealth Prequel and leads directly into Forces.
    • The fact that Super Mario Odyssey and this game allow for customization of a playable character. note 
    • Before the game came out, there was a lot of talk on Infinite trying to overtake Shadow as the series' resident "edgelord" given all of the design decisions surrounding him. The Sonic Twitter takeover featuring Sonic, Eggman, and Shadow even references this with Shadow dismissing Infinite as nowhere near as "edgy" as himself. That's not too far from the truth, as before Infinite became who he was, he picked a fight with Shadow and lost, causing him to Freak Out and turn into the character we see in the main game.
    • One of the guesses the fanbase made concerning the identity of the third character (before being revealed to be the Avatar) was Boom!Sonic. As it turns out, his outfit is actually in the game for the Avatar to use! You can even make Boom!Sonic yourself if you want.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: A common criticism with the game, and why to some the game ultimately doesn't stand out very much. Even on Hard difficulty, which is cited to be for experienced Sonic players, the game is ridiculously easy and simplistic for a Sonic game. Levels are very short, extremely linear if not borderline on-rails some of the time, the Avatar Wispon abilities are extremely broken, the enemies rarely pose a threat, and it is just as easy if not easier than Generations to get S-Ranks. The only genuinely difficult part of the game is the time trial Challenge Missions, which require intimate knowledge of each level's shortcuts and controls.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: One of the most common criticisms, especially of the Modern stages, is that the levels are extremely short and only take about a minute and a half to beat. This also extends to the game as a whole, as the main story only lasts around 3 hours, with not much in the way of replayability. Some have even said the game's $40 price tag is too much compared to the amount of content. And unlike, say, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Forces does not make its short length count in spectacular ways.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!:
    • When it was reported that the Modern-style stages would, once again, feature 2D sections, many fans threw up their hands in exasperation, as many perceive them as pointless when Classic-style stages are entirely 2D.
    • The first footage of classic Sonic shows him running through a very Green Hill Zone environment, something that many feel has been done to death (even as recently as revisiting it in Sonic Mania, which has caused its own negative response). This has been mitigated a bit when it was revealed for story purposes and not a wholesale recreation of the level.
    • The final boss has gotten this reaction, mostly due to its final phase being an easier version of the Nega-Wisp Armor (never mind that this is the franchise's second rehash of the aforementioned boss). Not helped by the first two phases being slightly harder rehashes of the Egg Dragoon and Zavok fights earlier in the game.
    • Surprisingly, the Boost formula got a bit of flack for this as well, with many reviews chiding it doesn't do anything new and lacks the excitement of previous games (Unleashed, Colors, and Generations) which at least had you drifting or side-stepping obstacles. Some even cite that they could've went with the control scheme of Lost World, since that actually had potential for a more open-world game without the circular design (the Zelda DLC on the Wii U version being proof of that).
  • Just Here for Godzilla: The Avatar is quite often considered to be the best part of the game, as even the harshest critics of the game will concede. In addition to the varied customization options, the Avatar's gameplay itself is considered to be a creative take on Modern Sonic's gameplay that manages to balance feeling unique while keeping true to the high-speed gameplay of Sonic. As such, the gameplay has even won over those who are otherwise against the Gameplay Roulette of several 3D Sonic games.
    • Some fans have admitted that the only reason they have even a remote interest in the game is its connections to Sonic Mania, specifically where the Phantom Ruby is concerned.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The characters think Sonic is dead after he's defeated by Infinite. The game doesn't even entertain the option for very long, presumably realizing no one would take it seriously. That said, the Japanese version does deem him being MIA.
  • Magnificent Bastard: In this work, Eggman researches the Phantom Ruby in his attempt at world domination. Recruiting Infinite through promises, he implants him with a Phantom Ruby prototype and christens him as the Eggman Empire's high commander. With everything in place, Eggman lures Sonic into a savage beatdown, and with him out of the way, conquers the world in a matter of months. Eggman proceeds to display foresight and cunning in trying to keep his iron-fisted hold on the planet — ordering his forces to destroy any remaining prototypes, keeping multiple power sources unbeknownst to his enemies, and targeting critical points in the Resistance. He also factored in multiple ways to eliminate the Resistance outright, culminating in a virtual Colony Drop when they were gathered in one place. Even in the final fight, Eggman pulled out all the stops, having kept the real Phantom Ruby with him the whole time, and had to be stopped by the combined might of Sonic, Classic Sonic, and the Avatar.
  • Memetic Loser: While Infinite was already a small-scale target for the trope due to his "edgy" design, the jokes increased when the Episode Shadow DLC revealed that his motivation for being evil is essentially because he was beaten up by Shadow after trying to avenge his squad's failure, and then threw a childish temper tantrum after being called weak, making the character come off as much more unintentionally comical than intended. It doesn't help that Infinite constantly stupidly sabotages Eggman's plans just to sate his own sadism (to the point that even he's calling Infinite out on his terrible judgment), giving fans even more ammo to mock him. And then Super Smash Bros. Ultimate made him a less powerful Spirit than Warm-Up Boss extraordinaire Whispy Woods, making him even more of a Memetic Loser than he is in his own series.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Many fans jokingly call the game Sonic: Days of Future Past because of the similar atmosphere related to gigantic killing machines (Egg-robots and the Sentinels).
    • The reveal of the title Sonic Forces instantly sparked numerous jokes and snowclones. References to Star vs. the Forces of Evil as well as The Force Awakens are also becoming common, the latter especially with Sonic Forces' "Join the Resistance" tagline. Relatedly, "Sonic Forces X character to do Y action" (or "Sonic Forces me to (action)", mainly used as a joke by YouTubers).
    • Mashups of the (instrumental) Sonic Forces main theme with other Sonic intros, such as Sonic CD, Colours, and Heroes.
    • When the new trailer from the April 12th Nintendo Direct stream showed off a silhouette of the new hero, its cat-like form made fans immediately declare that the new hero was Bubsy. It was later revealed that the new hero is able to be customized, so in a sense, the Bubsy prediction can be correct; albeit not exactly the same species as Bubsy himself.
    • After the Custom Hero trailer was shown, fans instantly made jokes about the many Sonic OCs that can now be created and used in an actual Sonic game. This includes fandom jokes like Sonichu, Coldsteel the Hedgeheg, and Hank the Chog.
      • The Avatar customization feature eventually became a meme in and of itself due to players being creative (and silly) with it, leading to many weird, silly, or downright creepy Avatars.
    • Plenty of people joke that new villain Infinite is actually Eggman's very own Sonic OC. Except he wasn't really his OC to begin with...
    • Sonic or another character such as Rouge calling Shadow out note  for (re-)joining the villains. But he's actually not the real Shadow. It was merely an illusion.
    • The theme song "Fist Bump" has caused many fans to declare Forces as "Anime Sonic the Hedgehog" due to how it sounds like an anime theme.
    • "But is X faster than Infinite?" Explanation 
    • "(Do X action) as Shadow!" Explanation 
    • Hooters. Explanation 
    • "Where is Blaze?" Explanation 
    • "Donkey Kong is the best Sonic character!" Explanation 
    • "That's why it's called war." Explanation 
    • I AM NOT WEAK Explanation 
    • the SUCC Wispon Explanation 
    • VOID! Explanation 
    • $1.99 Explanation 
    • "I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist." Explanation 
    • "Sonic Forces Me to Be Disappointed", as a word-play on the game's title.
  • Misaimed Marketing:
    • SEGA of Japan partnered up with Hooters, a restaurant chain notable for their infamous waitress uniforms, to promote Sonic Forces.
    • The description for the Sanic T-shirt DLC references the Game Grumps, who are well-known for riffing on Sonic games.
  • Mondegreen: There's one line in "Infinite" that goes "only scars remain of who I was." Occasionally you'll see people mishear it as "only stars remain through it all."
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Infinite does an insane amount of evil acts often, but his big one is torturing Sonic for 6 months and then trying to throw Sonic out of the Death Egg so Sonic can see how much he failed before dying. Let's not even get started with how he kills people on a daily basis and wants to destroy the planet out of spite because Shadow beat him and called him weak.
    • The fact that Eggman spent months on end torturing Sonic, which Knuckles comments is pretty low, even for him. Then again, the fact that this "torture" bit was thrown in by the dub without a shred of evidence in the story itself calls into question what would qualify as "torture" under the circumstances...
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The lead up to the chorus of the game's theme in Tag Team stages, because it comes right before Sonic and the Avatar get a Theme Music Power-Up in the form of a Double Boost. The chorus itself counts during a Double Boost, because of the sheer epicness.
    • The faint chime in of "All Hail Shadow" followed by the vocals when the real Shadow appears and wipes out his copy.
  • Narm: The series has its own page.
  • Narm Charm:
    • In Sonic tradition, the main theme's lyrics are corny, yet catchy:
      Before I say goodbye to you, one more last fist buuuuuuump!
      • By the same token, the instrumental version sounds really good as Classic Sonic's invincibility theme, even if the (absent) lyrics pertain to teamwork (an element absent from Classic Sonic's levels).
    • Infinite's theme song practically screams "OW THE EDGE" in both style and lyrics, but that doesn't stop it from being a legitimately cool song.
      • On that note, the music for his first two boss battles has been noted to sound very much like edgy K-pop; they specifically sound like they come straight out of PSY's catalog (which, of course, has been seized upon by SiIvaGunner). In spite of, or even because of this, the two songs are some of the most popular to come from the game.
    • Infinite himself has gotten love from some fans precisely because he looks like a Darker and Edgier OC, taken to the point of Parody Sue.
    • The story itself has received either this or just Narm reactions from fans. Like the Adventure games, it takes itself more or less completely seriously, which can be charming in a way.
    • The entire concept of the Avatar. For many, it's an opportunity to live out their cheesy early-2000's Sonic OC dreams in a canon Sonic game. It helps that the actual gameplay behind the Avatar is generally considered to be the best-developed of the three styles seen in the game.
  • Nausea Fuel: The Sonic 2017 VR demo that people were able to play in March of 2017 behind closed doors was described as being decent until the player decides to jump... the camera would spin with them, making many people have to stop and suddenly want to vomit due to how dizzy it made players.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • The scene where Tails cowers in fear at Chaos 0 has come to form the fandom's perception of post-Unleashed modern Tails, ignoring how games like Sonic Lost World had displayed him as capable.
    • Infinite angsts about being called weak in only one scene, but with the way fans talk about him, you would think that his entire character is built around constant Wangst over being called weak.
  • Pandering to the Base:
    • Some fans have accused Classic Sonic's inclusion as being this, feeling that he is rather tacked on and doesn't add much to the game aside from having some classic series presence for classic fans.
    • The Custom Hero feature has been accused of specifically pandering to Sonic Fan Character creators. While people have come to begrudgingly admit that from a marketing standpoint, it makes sense, since fan character creators make up a large part of the fanbase, those who aren't fans of Sonic fan characters, or Original Characters in general, are still none too happy about it.
    • With Sonic Mania being marketed heavily towards fans of the Classic series, fans of the modern titles were overjoyed to see the E3 2017 Trailer cap off with many of the modern antagonists (Chaos, Shadow, and Zavok) taking center stage. Too bad none of them really do anything and technically aren't even there to begin with.
  • Polished Port: While the graphics were downgraded due to the system not being as powerful as its competitors, as well as the framerate being halved, the Nintendo Switch version is otherwise identical to the other versions, but also allows portable play. There are also some (relatively minor) bugfixes that the other versions don't have. Even more impressive is that the developers managed to cut down the filesize by more than half, from around 18GB to just 7GB, while leaving everything intact.
  • Popular with Furries: Sonic has always been very popular with furries; however, this game is even more so than usual. People can add their own fursonas or Sonic OCs into the game and play as them.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: When the Avatar was first revealed, a lot of fans didn't like the idea and preview footage that much. When the game released, however, some of these fans changed their mind on the Avatar, with the Avatar having some of the better stages in the game, the music of such stages being well-received vocal tracks, and the customization being surprisingly addicting.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Seemingly, Forces got flack for having Shadow destroy the Jackal Squad and then telling Infinite he is worthless, and to never show his face before him again. People have called Shadow a "murderer" or "bully", for... seemingly killing some mercenaries off-screen, who the text makes clear were up to no good, and not finishing the job with Infinite, merely telling him he is Not Worth Killing.
  • Scapegoat Creator: A lot of fans have given longtime producer Takashi Iizuka flack for all of Forces' shortcomings. However, he's actually only the executive producer for this game. Footage from around the time Forces was being developed shows that he was actually more involved with Mania than he was with Forces.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The sixty second time limit for the demo was not well-liked at all.
    • The Double Boost mechanic in Tag Team stages has taken some heat, not because it's an inherently bad mechanic, and people generally agree it looks damn cool and memorable, but rather, in the sense that it's rather poorly implemented. It essentially does nothing besides move the player characters from point A to point B in the stage while looking extremely badass, and while related mechanics like a Double Boost Gauge and Action Commands are implemented, they don't actually do anything; failing the QTE has no effect besides removing the lyrics to "Fist Bump" and causing a brief stumble, and were the Double Boost Gauge to run out note , the game simply doesn't show the Boost visual effect and makes Sonic and the Avatar invincible while simply being unable to destroy enemies, meaning that there isn't any point to either the QTE or the Gauge existing at all.
    • Speaking of which, the QTEs in general. While nowhere near as bad as they were in Sonic Unleashed, they're still mostly there for score purposes and disrupt the flow of gameplay. Also, it's a complete crapshoot as to what failed QTEs will kill you, and which ones won't.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The game is much easier than Sonic Lost World thanks to shorter levels and the absence of Video-Game Lives.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Double Boost in the middle of Stage 7, being an example of how to do a linear corridor segment in a way that's awesome.
    • The part of the Central City stage where Infinite starts screwing with gravity and reality is considered one of the most memorable parts of the game.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The story. General consensus is that it's damn near impossible to take anything that happens in the story seriously, between Sonic's cartoonish beatdown at the beginning, the total glossing over of 99% of Eggman's takeover with a few sentences of text on a black screen, a main villain who gives Shadow a run for his money in terms of comical edginess, and an inconsistent story tone exacerbated by the localization team throwing in needlessly edgy exposition that is blatantly and hilariously contradicted by what we're actually shown, resulting in things like Sonic being tortured for 6 months offscreen and showing no signs of it at all. The resulting story is so absurdly inconsistent, campy, and ridiculous that it's utterly hysterical.
  • So Okay, It's Average: General consensus for the game has been mixed, especially coming off the heels of Sonic Mania. Positives note the Avatar levels and customization, excellent vocal music, and some good boss fights. Negatives, however, include certain stilted script readings, a disjointed story that doesn't explain enough, linear and at times on-rails gameplay, not enough original bosses, boring Classic stage music, Classic Sonic himself having almost no impact on the plot, the sloppy handling of the returning villains, and short stage lengths. Overall, many feel it could've been better and doesn't quite reach the heights of Colors or Generations in terms of 3D Sonic games, but at the same time it’s nowhere near as bad as Sonic 06 or Rise of Lyric, so it’s still worth checking out and pretty fun at the end of the day.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Ironically, despite all the mocking it received, the Avatar gameplay and character creation have been hailed as some of the best content in the game.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: What with it being a Darker and Edgier entry with Sonic fighting with La Résistance against Eggman after The Bad Guy Wins, it's the closest we've ever gotten to a video game adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM), Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), or Sonic the Comic.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • The footage of Classic Sonic shown in the April 2017 Nintendo Direct hampered the excitement for a good number of fans and sparked anger among them, due to a number of things, including Green Hill Zone returning yet again (especially since the same zone has already been featured in Sonic Generations and Sonic Mania), the featured level design looking automated and uninspiring, and the zone managing to look less detailed than it did in Sonic Generations.
    • The Custom Hero trailer was almost a nuclear bomb for the fandom and sparked a lot of anger from many fans due to the fact that players could now essentially make their own original character and make them canon. A lot of this anger is due to the fact that many die-hard fans absolutely loathe Sonic OCs due to the countless amounts that have been made, many of which are godawful messes. However, it should be pointed out that this is part of a Vocal Minority; the number of people who create Sonic OCs and such greatly outnumbers the number of people who despise the former group.
    • Eggman finally winning was mitigated somewhat by him only doing so with a new power and his villain team, which some felt made no sense for the other characters and diluted his victory. An interview about the game's development saying Eggman winning by himself wouldn't be convincing didn't exactly help.
    • On October 25, 2017, Sega released a downloadable demo of the game for Nintendo Switch in Japan. And while it played fine, ran smoothly, and had one playable level for each character, it also had a pretty major problem: you only had 60 seconds to play through the level and you couldn't even finish any of the levels due to the short time limit. note  Needless to say, this did not sit well with a lot of fans.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: For those who aren't fond of Zavok, the Deadly Six, or Sonic Lost World in general, watching Sonic lay an epic beatdown on him at the end of the boss fight is so cathartic.
  • That One Achievement:
    • In addition to the platform-specific ones, this game has its own set, named Missions. The ones asking to complete stages within a certain amount of time are a step up from the others as they require intimate knowledge of the stage and its shortcuts. Two of them, however, are frequent stumbling blocks:
      • Ghost Town's time requirement is within 60 seconds. This is the shortest of any non-bonus stage. Also, not only does it demand you fully understand how to control Classic Sonic (no easy feat, as this game's physics are constantly shifting for Classic Sonic), but, unlike the infamous linearity most of the rest of the game has, the paths in Ghost Town are constantly splitting up and merging, and the uppermost path is not always the fastest one. This one gets people, despite it being one of the first stages in the game, because some of the paths are just barely too long to finish within 60 seconds, convincing people they just have to play a bit better rather than finding some other path.
      • The time requirement for the last fight against Infinite is 135 seconds (2 minutes 15 seconds). Should you pounce on Infinite every time he opens himself to a Homing Attack, you will finish the boss fight just beyond the time requirement. In order to finish this quickly, you need to use the Drill Wispon (ignoring the Red Herring of Indigo Wisps available in this stage, also considering the Avatar's one-on-one fight against Infinite has him weak to the Indigo Asteroid Wispon). When Infinite charges at Sonic and the Avatar, counter back with a Drill attack to damage him. Time it right and it's worth a full Homing Attack chain all at once, allowing you to skip one phase of the battle and save a lot of time.
    • Completing 30 SOS missions can be this due to instantly failing them once you die. If it's a stage you're good at, that's great! Problem solved. But if you either suck at a stage, or can't find where the capsule decided to randomly spawn, well... Suffice it to say, you'll likely be down one controller.
  • That One Boss: Infinite's 2nd fight for some has been considered the most challenging boss in the game. What makes him difficult is that he flies throughout the foreground and background for much of the fight while the player is restricted to a 2D plane. And when he is vulnerable to attack, he is usually either throwing projectiles or charging at the player. Not to mention that depending on the Wispon you use, he can be very hard to hit even when he is vulnerable.
  • That One Level:
    • Iron Fortress, Classic Sonic's final stage. Not only does it have a rather annoying enemy with semi-homing rockets that only shows up in this level, it also has the only autoscrolling 2D section in the entire game. Not advancing carefully can have the rockets fired at you from almost off-screen, pits are abound in the second half of the stage, and a final "run or die" segment right before the goal is so unstable and inconsistent that unless you Spin Dash or get lucky with the speed booster and/or Sonic's running working correctly, you'll die every single time.
    • Aqua Road, the Avatar's stage in the Mystic Jungle. Most of it consists of a high-speed waterslide with so many twists and turns that it stops being a matter of skill to not fall off. Making it worse is that an endless horde of Motobugs accompany the Avatar tumbling down the slides, causing the Avatar to bump around all over the place. It is the stage with by far the least amount of control over your character. Three of the five Red Star Rings are also traveling down these slides, and the Motobugs seem determined not to let you grab them. And should you get any ideas about removing the Motobugs with the Void Wispon or charge on ahead with the Drill Wispon, the Wispons are disabled whenever you're sliding.
      • Even worse: Aqua Road is also one of Shadow's levels, and it is almost identical to the Avatar's version. So anyone who plays the DLC gets to do it twice.
    • The Death Egg stage for Classic Sonic is also considered a pain by some. It takes a lot of the annoying elements from its Sonic 3 & Knuckles counterpart, only now with the weightier and wonkier physics of Forces thrown in.
    • Guardian Rock, if only for the middle section where you have to do precision platforming while a giant robot's legs are slamming into the platforms. Platforms which, by the way, are exactly as big as the legs themselves. If you hit one of them while platforming, it's an instant fall. Oh, and actually getting squished by the legs counts as a One-Hit Kill, so not even Mercy Invincibility can save you.
  • That One Sidequest: One type of SOS mission requires you to find an animal capsule hidden somewhere in the stage. There is no way to tell you how close you are to the capsule, which is especially problematic if you get too far to backtrack. Additionally, you still have to complete the stage on top of that.
    • SOS missions in general can be considered this since, if you die even once, you can't redo it and have to wait for a new one.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • General consensus is that the controls and physics for both Sonics are inferior to Sonic Generations. A particular complaint is about Modern Sonic lacking the drift, resulting in more linear level design.
    • Storyline wise, many fans weren't happy to hear Classic Sonic was now from another dimension rather than just be from the past. Largely because the story just causally mentions it with no explanation why this is now the status quo despite the fact this now raises a ton of questions of how Modern Sonic's timeline works. Some speculating it was likely a last minute decision during development and Sega shifting things after having confidence in Sonic Mania and using that as a excuse in case they want to make more games with Classic Sonic.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • The advertising made a big deal about Metal Sonic, Zavok, Shadow, and Chaos as part of the Big Bad Ensemble, but in the end, they're woefully underplayed; Zavok is the first real boss of the game four stages in, Metal Sonic doesn't factor into anything beyond his own obligatory boss fight, and Shadow and Chaos get taken out in cutscenes in an extreme case of Wolverine Publicity. It's even worse for Chaos, considering he has absolutely no presence in the actual gameplay note , whereas at least Shadow is playable via downloadable content. The fact that they're all illusory fakes in the first place, even Metal Sonic, does little to soften the blow.
    • While they actually get some speaking roles, unlike in Sonic Generations, the supporting cast don't really get much to do here besides give out exposition before and during a level. The exception to this is mostly Knuckles (the leader of the Resistance) and Silver (who at least gets a fight with Infinite and sets up the Avatar's ability to save the world in the end).
    • The real Shadow, in addition to not being a boss fight as mentioned above, also has no role in the main campaign after he shows up. This is in spite of the fact that he is the main reason for Infinite's Start of Darkness. The story never addresses this or explores his thoughts or feelings on the matter and he just falls in with the rest of the supporting cast as the focus shifts back to the Sonics and the Avatar.
    • Considering Zavok is among the enemy troops, the game could have offered the player (especially those fond of Team Dark) an opportunity to have E-123 Omega as a boss fight. Zavok has control over machines, meaning that Omega is in his range. However, Infinite takes Omega out as his first casuality before the game starts, and Omega only returns during the final battle.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A major complaint of the game is that the story has interesting ideas, but half-hearted execution and minimal effort put into it to really flesh out what was promised. To wit:
    • Despite the marketing focus on Eggman finally taking over the world, that plot thread gets surprisingly little amount of focus through the game. For starters, Eggman's takeover happens entirely off-screen and is told through text before we jump ahead six months to the Resistance. And we very rarely see what the world is like under his rule. It basically plays out like any other plot in the series.
    • Classic Sonic's inclusion largely goes wasted. True, his relationship with Tails is very endearing and one of the story's more touching aspects, but here's the thing: Classic Sonic came after the Phantom Ruby. It's an Artifact of Doom from his world; he knows what's up with it and didn't get the chance to finish the job. This seemingly critical plot point goes largely ignored — he never even gets a scene where he confronts Infinite or its powers on his own, being the only of the three protagonists to get shorthanded in this way.
    • Null Space. A scene is set up where Sonic and the custom character are sent into some sort of pocket dimension brought on by the Phantom Ruby. As cool and otherworldly as it looks, Sonic and the custom character just Double Boost back outside. The stage is still called Null Space, but the rest of the stage is just a trek through the metropolis again. The stage could have been really cool, either in gameplay mechanics or at least visually, but it lasts for all of fifteen seconds.
    • The uses of the Phantom Ruby in general. Infinite relies on it heavily and there are showcases of how much of a threat he can be with it, such as the third Shadow DLC stage where he utterly messes with Shadow's mind by trapping him in an illusion. One stage in the main game proper has him making nightmarish huge versions of himself that forces the resistance to retreat from an attack on Eggman's base. A following boss fight likewise shows he can make some wicked weaponry with it. So you think there would be more effort into him going more ham with the power. But following encounters never showcase this; rather, he just sends lasers and cubes at you and his following boss fight is similar to his first, only without the circular level design, where Sonic and the avatar take him out with little effort.
    • In addition, Sonic Mania set up a dichotomy between the Chaos Emeralds and the Phantom Ruby, with the Phantom Ruby as something of an Evil Counterpart to the Chaos Emeralds (or the Master Emerald). That dichotomy is never explored in Sonic Forces due to the Chaos Emeralds not being part of the plot at all.
    • The lack of variety in locations note  and enemy types note  make Eggman's world domination smaller than it should be. The latter problem is even stranger, considering the whole "Phantom Ruby can make several copies of the major villains" thing. And despite Shadow, Rouge, and Omega appearing, G.U.N. doesn't make an appearance, and the whole human side of the world is ignored entirely. In fact, at one point, Espio mentions that he and a few troops are having trouble in Seaside Hill. It would've been cool to see how it and other locations from previous games were affected by Eggman's takeover.
    • Very little, if any of the backstory information Infinite is given in Episode Shadow is brought up in the main story. This is unfortunate because there was a lot to build off of. Infinite is revealed to be one of the few Sonic villains who started out as a regular person who became powerful later on instead of being born as a super-powerful god or monster, but this is not explored. Similarly, the Jackal Squad goes completely unmentioned, despite their existence carrying the implication that Infinite once valued teamwork despite viewing the concept with contempt in the present. No character study here. Perhaps most notably, Infinite and Shadow never talk with each other when they meet again during the war sequence, despite Shadow being the cause for Infinite's actions.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The stages where Sonic and the Avatar team up are considered the best-playing in the game, combining Sonic's boost power with the Avatar's gadgets for a lot of variety in level design and playstyle. They're also the least frequent type of level at a final count of four (one of them is almost a Boss-Only Level and another is a brief interlude before the final boss), so you don't get to mess with it much.
  • Too Cool to Live: Arguably, Infinite. Infinite has the potential to be one of Sonic deadliest foes, as he managed to take control of the world in a matter of days thanks to the Phantom Ruby. His power is excentially rewriting reality and creating clones with the same powers as the originals. He could force his generals to become their strongest selves if he pleased but his potential is stopped by plot convenience (see the main entry on Forgot About His Powers). Due to being too powerful, is possible the character wil remain a One-Shot Character.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • Takashi Iizuka claims the third playable character is this in an interview. It's you. Or at least, your Avatar.
    • Both Zavok and Chaos return as part of the evil ensemble with Dr. Eggman. Except they don't.
    • Not many were expecting Silver to come back, at least not in a more important role after '06. But here, he's one of the resistance commanders and, unlike last time, now knows the threat he's up against from the get-go. In fact, it's due to his fight with Infinite that he managed to knock a piece of the Phantom Ruby prototype away from him, which the resistance would later find and use to foil Eggman's virtual sun plan. Silver actually (albeit indirectly) saves the world this time!
    • One of the pre-order DLC costumes is based on Joker, the protagonist of Persona 5. What truly makes this a shock is that the Persona and Sonic series have little to no connection apart from Sega Sammy being the parent company of both Sega and Atlus, the company behind the Persona games.
    • Another is Amitie's Hat. Considering that Sega practically tried to pretend Puyo Puyo doesn't exist for over a decade in the West, thanks partially to the almost hostile reaction to the Puyo Puyo Fever dub, to see Sega acknowledge the franchise in such a major way in the present day is heartwarming in the extreme.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The Scenery Gorn is as gorgeous as you'd expect.
    • On a technical level, the game runs on a new engine called the Hedgehog Engine 2, resulting in much better graphics than previous games ranging from high-resolution real-time shadows, lighting effects, and some very pretty scenery upgrades like individual blades of grass in Green Hill Zone, all running at a flawless 60 frames per second on the PS4 and Xbox One.
    • As this is the first Sonic game since Sonic Unleashed to see a multi-platform release on Nintendo's current console, many fans were expecting a significant visual downgrade/simpler reworking of the game, similar to the Wii and PS2 versions of Unleashed. Instead, the Switch version of Forces is the same game as the PS4/Xbox One/PC version, with minimal visual downgrades — a significant relief for many Switch players. (This parity comes at the cost of the frame rate, as the Switch version runs at 30 frames per second with occasional drops, but it is still a highly impressive effort.)
    • For a more specific example, this is the first time we've seen Chaos 0 in an HD game even if he's a copy, and he looks awesome as a living blob of more realistic water.
  • Wangst: Infinite lost a lot of badass points with many fans when it was revealed in Episode Shadow that his backstory was that he was just a small-fry, self-proclaimed "Ultimate Mercenary" who lost badly after picking a fight with Shadow, and was apparently so thin-skinned that a throwaway comment about being worthless drove him completely out of his mind and made him obsessed with garnering more power and proving he wasn't weak, even at the cost of his soul.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • The promise of a new Sonic game with a darker tone that reunites Classic and Modern Sonic set the internet ablaze with excitement once it was announced. It even helped redeem the infamously terrible livestream somewhat.
    • In a strange way, it managed to do this to the 25th anniversary all in the same day, as some were a bit deflated that Sonic Mania appeared to be all Sega wanted to invest into the Milestone Celebration, seemingly only willing to play it safe with nostalgia-pandering instead of something more grandiose, original, and epic. Then what was then Project Sonic 2017 was revealed at the end and whipped everyone back up again for a major console release.
    • History repeated itself with the 2017 SXSW panel — after what was generally considered to be a mediocre showing up to that point, the revelation of actual gameplay footage (that hearkened back to the beloved Colors/Generations style) generally got people excited once again.
    • The Japanese story trailer has kept the hype train going, with many praising it for showing more members of the resistance (such as Rouge the Bat) and giving Knuckles some much-needed Character Rerailment.
    • Episode Shadow. When it was leaked that Shadow would be Promoted to Playable in his own personal DLC story, the fanbase exploded with absolute joy at the return of a fan favorite. The DLC being free doesn't hurt either.

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