2017 had everything to be "the year of Sonic". Not only did we have the launch of the great Sonic Mania, as Sonic Forces promised to be a direct sequel to Generations, a game that proved a few years ago that the Sonic Team still understood their characters and could make a fun experience.
However, Sonic Forces hit the shops showing that it is literally a game "made for fans". Far from offering the most traumatic experience of the series (Sonic 2006 is still unbeatable in this regard), the game only reveals some quick glimmers of its own brilliance that pass as fast as the protagonists navigate through their main phases.
Offering a plot that takes itself too seriously for its own good and a phase design that seems indecisive about what it intends to deliver to the player, the title is the definition of the word "mediocre": something without expression, medium, passable. Unfortunately, not even the fun way to create characters and the officialization of various fanfics can make the game escape the tragic "Sonic cycle".
A world destroyed
Sonic Forces has one of the heaviest stories in the entire Sonic franchise: with the help of a new ally known as "Infinite," Eggman finally manages to beat the hedgehog. With Sonic imprisoned (and allegedly tortured) for months, the villain can dominate the world and the stamina of characters such as Knuckles, Amy and Silver, among others, can barely stand.
with the help of a new ally known as "Infinite," Eggman finally manages to beat the hedgehog
It is in this context that you enter, the player: represented by a customizable avatar, you see the role of a "novice" that brings something special that can change the course of this battle. With the help of the classic Sonic "Tinkerbell" and the most modern version of the character, his mission is to travel the world destroying Eggman's inventions and bringing peace back to everyone.
What bothers me in the plot of Sonic Forces is the fact that it simply "does not stick" in the universe that is presented by SEGA. It is difficult to be convinced of the gravity of what is happening when the characters on screen are talking animals, especially when it seems that there are no real consequences to what is said: allegedly "tortured", Sonic gets rid of the fairly easy way of his arrest and not seems not at all affected by the time of imprisonment.
I do not know, Tails ...
Likewise, the Infinite villain loses in a matter of very little time any sense of threat he could convey. If in the opening scenes he seems invincible and unpredictable, the first battle against him reveals that Sonic lost the battle more pressure from the writers than by having less abilities at his disposal.
After a few phases, the predictable path that the plot is going to take is evident, and you can not take seriously a Sonic game that tries to simulate battles that seem inspired by series like Game of Thrones. One or another little joke until it makes a smile appear on the face, but SEGA made a mistake in trying to sell the weak plot as something great or that it would change everything we know about the character.
Character Creator that stands out
The best part of Sonic Forces is undoubtedly its creator of characters. Admittedly, I spent much more time creating combinations of clothing than exploring the phases of the title: something that is not exactly difficult, since even the most extensive scenes take no more than 3 minutes to complete.
Your character can be quite a gamer.
At an early stage, you define just what kind of creature will be - each with a particular special power - but soon a large wardrobe becomes available. With each completed phase you expand your options a bit, which are further increased by achieving the "S" rating in each scenario.
To complete, you can also expand equipment selection by completing some specific missions, which range from collecting a certain amount of red coins and finishing certain challenges within a time limit. At the end of the adventure, you will have more clothes than you can handle, and you can create very specific visuals (I, for example, finished the game using the best Dark Souls armor).
You can rent characters from other players
The amount of collectibles available encourages you to change your character's appearance constantly, which is a bit of fun. There are also several weapon types to choose from (which changes the way you explore some scenarios) and the ability to "rent" an avatar created by another player to complement their abilities or to simply see how others are using the system .
Gotta go fast!
What bothers most about Sonic Forces is the fact that the game seems indecisive about what it claims to be. The idea itself is even cool: to offer a specific gameplay style to each protagonist, allowing the player to experience what each has to offer. In practice, execution does not go so well.
The most problematic gameplay is that of modern Sonic, which prizes a lot for speed. In most of the stages, just hit the dash button to run over everything that appears along the way, resulting in an almost unchallenged experience: sometimes the game has some platform that you will not be able to see in time, resulting in some death unfair
Sonic Forces seems undecided about what he claims to be
This is somewhat minimized by the stages with Sonic "chubby", which features a somewhat more cadenced gameplay. However, although it is easier to control the character, he seems to have very "loose" controls and seems somewhat unpredictable at times because of his great acceleration - things never seem as "right" as the Sonic Mania controls.
Already the character created by the player seems the most dislocated of this universe: instead of running fast, he can use armaments like a flamethrower or an electric whip. The blows applied with these means are extremely powerful, which eliminates any potential challenge that the enemies could bring to the experience. The character also suffers from unresponsive controls, which can result in some deaths that you are sure have not been your fault.
To complete, Sonic Forces brings back the "sighting system" that appears in the series in one form or another since Sonic Adventure was created. The problem in this case is that often the button you pressed is not registered right, causing the player to lose the platform pace and fail to get any special item or die in the process.
The game outweighs these accidental deaths by not bringing any kind of meaningful punishment for its flaws. Did it fall too far into a hole or did it take too long to kill a boss? Okay, there's always a checkpoint nearby for you to try again, and your only "loss" will be to get a slightly lower score at the end of the stage.
The moments when the game shines a little are in boss battles, which require a bit more strategy than the average. Unfortunately, a specific mechanic (which involves running toward your enemy) is overused, taking away any sense of novelty or fun after a while.
It was not this time
Even with a rather entertaining soundtrack (especially if you, like me, love the "hard rock farofa" of the 90s) and acceptable graphics, Sonic Forces can not escape the fact that it is a completely forgettable game. By skipping dialogues and movies, the player manages to finish the adventure in little more than two hours - something shocking for a title with 30 phases -, having little incentive to return a second time.
Episode Shadow, DLC that shows a prelude to the plot, is equally medium: with only three phases, the content does not bring the great revelation that promised and can be finalized quite easily. The content seems to have been created with the sole purpose of being a fanservice for the fans and makes very little sense that it is presented as anything other than the main adventure.
Sonic Forces seems to be that kind of game that was created for fans of the franchise - and only for them - not striving at all to bring a memorable phase design or plot that does not offend intelligence. I'm not saying that everything here is bad and nothing works, but rather that soon after reaching the end, you are more concerned about your next game or getting something to eat than reliving what was presented by SEGA.
If you really want to have everything related to the most famous porcupine in the world, the game brings a few moments of fun, but it's nothing memorable. However, if I had to recommend that you play something involving the character in 2017, my choice for this would undoubtedly be Sonic Mania.
"In what could be the" year of Sonic, "Forces comes as another forgettable game of the character"
Full character builder
Some battles against bosses are legal
History that takes itself too seriously for its own good
Little Responsive Gameplay
Almost no challenge