There should be a big fat disclaimer at the beginning of this Sonic Forces preview article — I haven’t played a true Sonic title in over a decade. The last Sonic title I’ve played was Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing on my PC. However, it’s not really your traditional Sonic platformer. It’s a racing game. I think the last Sonic platformer I’ve played was on the SEGA Dreamcast and I’m pretty certain that it was Sonic Adventure one or two. This confession is probably blasphemous to most people out there. I feel a little ashamed myself. It’s not that I don’t like Sonic, I just have had so many other games to play since that time.
When I was invited to get a hands on demo of the new Sonic Forces game, I was a bit nervous. Would 10 plus years away from the legendary franchise make it hard to pick up again? To my relief, that question was immediately answered once I sat down and started to play.
I got about 30 minutes of playtime during the demo. I was shown an assortment of levels, ranging from the classic 2D style of Sonic I was familiar with, and then the behind-the-back 3D angle that is new for me but familiar to Sonic fans. The two different modes almost felt like two completely different games. Controls were a bit different and the pacing between the two took some time getting used to. Perhaps it’s my geriatric age, but Sonic Forces is fast. Faster than the Sonic games I remember as a child.
There is a subset of playable characters in Sonic Forces. Classic Sonic (2D), Modern Sonic (3D), and the Avatar. Avatars can be customized both aesthetically and physically. My entire time playing the demo I was a Wolf Avatar. Wolves have the passive ability to collect coins while in proximity to them, making it more efficient to clear levels without going out of your way to collect difficult to reach coins. Other animal avatars include a bear, bird, cat, dog, hedgehog (how innovative), and a rabbit. Each possessing a unique passive ability.
There was some nostalgia during my time playing the classic levels. Boss battles with Eggman and the pinball style “casino” level was a real treat. Conversely, the “modern” 3D levels were beautiful renditions of the Sonicverse. It was quite difficult to keep rhythm and perform combinations throughout all gametypes. However, when success did occur, it was a gratifying experience. Breezing through platforms while annihilating enemies felt just like Sonic did over a decade ago.
For those like myself who haven’t played the traditional Sonic series in some time, the learning curve felt steep. With some committed hours and a penchant for nostalgia, Sonic Forces will surely not disappoint newcomers, veterans, or returning fans.
Sonic Forces will be available on November 7 for PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One.