The little blue hedgehog really needs absolutely no introduction does he? If you don’t know who Sonic is then google it because you really have led a sheltered gaming life. Like Mario did for Nintendo, Sonic has been an icon for Sega since 1991. Sonic has seen over 45 different adaptations over the years and appeared on console and mobile. Sonic Forces is the latest to feature the little ring muncher so how does it fare to the previous incarnations?
In usual Sonic Fashion, the start of the game gives you an insight of what to expect, the brightly coloured intro and tutorials set the scene, if you survive the first stage and tutorial without having some sort of seizure then you will be good to carry on. Simply put, it’s so fast that it is near on impossible to see exactly what is going on on screen, that for me isn’t a good thing because I like to have a look around to check out the finer details and collectibles… if there are any.
The story is the same as it always has been, the evil Dr Eggman is trying to take over the world only this time he has recruited a super hedgehog type thing called Infinite to help him on his quest. I’m not sure if I have missed something but where did the Robotnik name go, I liked that better than “Eggman” which sounds ridiculous. Anyway, it’s not important because ultimately you’re going to bounce all over this dude like a drunk adult on an inflatable castle.
There are some quite cute little cutscenes to watch before you continue on your speedy adventure, they introduce you to characters old and new including Knuckles. You play the part of the “The Rookie” who you get to design with some basic outfits. Each stage or challenge you complete rewards you with more cosmetic items to add that more of a personal flair to your creation. You also get an offensive ability that really does come in handy and these are called Wispons, they offer a long range attack that wipe out numerous enemies all at once. Wispons can be difficult to deploy at times purely because of the speed you are traveling, they are better used in slower sections and in a third person view because that way you know exactly where you’re shooting and what at.
You also get to play with the updated Sonic who has a double jump but classic Sonic also makes an appearance and his abilities hark back to the original version with a single jump and spin attack. A handy addition to the classic Sonic is the drop dash ability this can get you out of some tight spots assuming you saw them coming in the first place that is. As with most other Sonic games, you get through the game stage by stage, the levels are thankfully pretty short and offer a third person and also side-scrolling element, as to which I prefer? well, the jury is still out on that but it did offer a touch of nostalgia revisiting Green Hill with the classic Sonic. I did have some difficulty adjusting from the 3D to the 2D view when it changed halfway through a stage but I’m putting that down to age.
I got bored quite quickly with Sonic Forces purely because of its repetitive nature, I remember playing the original Sonic and challenging myself to play through each stage without losing rings and of course back then it was die and game over. Now though, Sonic Forces just isn’t engaging enough to play any further. I’m not writing it off though because I don’t think Sonic Forces was aimed at a 38-year-old man and more an 8-year-old child with lightning reflexes and sharp eyesight.
I’m not going to slate Sonic Forces for its visuals either but you simply can’t see them because things are moving that fast. Sonic Forces is basic in terms of graphical quality but when all said and done Sonic wouldn’t look right using the latest Unreal Engine or 4K HDR would it? Cool as it sounds. Sonic is a cartoon and this game portrays him as it should. Musically though I did find myself tapping my feet, there are sections where the action would pick up and all of a sudden in true anime style a rock song would start with proper lyrics, riffs and solos, I liked that lots.
Playability though, Sonic is basic and when things are moving as fast as they do, all you really need is a jump and a dash button with the odd attack thrown in if you get time. If you finish with max rings or in a good time then you can expect an excellent level rating too. Using the C,B,A and S ranking system you do find yourself replaying levels to try and beat your previous time. Along with the ranking, there are also challenges for you to complete, which offer their own reward, giving the fact that Sonic Forces has 40 or so stages (some optional) then there is plenty of challenges to keep you going.
Overall Sonic Forces offers nothing different to any other Sonic game, it’s merely a fast linear race to the finish line while being careful not to lose your rings as you go. Boss battles are just a case of working out a pattern and beating them and the rewards are simply generic offerings in a bid to make the game have you thinking you actually have options when in reality you don’t.
Sonic Forces is great for little ones and with the Nintendo Switch also getting Sonic Forces, which is the perfect platform for this type of game. As for playing on an an Xbox One, then I think there are better games to play than this. I’m trying to stay objective here and if you’re stuck for something to get the little gamers – but would like the occassional bit of nostalgia – then maybe Sonic Forces would do, with that said, wait for a sale or buy second hand because £30 or more for this is bit daft as it’s simply not worth it.