Let me start by saying I like some 3D Sonic titles a lot, played way too much Generations with the Unleashed mod (the day levels modded into the game) and Colors and heck Adventure 1, 2 and Sonic Heroes got tons of play time. I prefer the 2D Sonic titles but I have gotten tons of mileage out of the 3D titles.

Sonic Forces I knew was going to have an awful story because, they always try the grim dark story and it fails. Every, time. Sonic Adventure 2’s story was riddled full of plot holes and angst, Shadow The Hedgehog also was terrible with it’s comically bad story that tried to be dark but couldn’t be taken seriously because, you know..Cartoon hedgehog with gun. Then the big one, Sonic 06 with the world being doomed to be destroyed, time travel and a dark God that is going to destroy the planet if the princess cries. I don’t know why they keep doing this. It does’t bloody work.

With Sonic Forces I was hoping the gameplay would be good enough to ignore the story and whatever. My cousin popped over and we had it on for a few hours before I pulled the plug. Levels are short, way, way too short. 3 and half minutes was the LONGEST we spent in a level and that was us screwing up. Some of the classic Sonic levels were just ..mediocre at best. Some parts of the level felt so phoned in and empty that it stood out big time. Then there’s the create-a-character, called Rookie. My god…hold flamethrower button and walk forward for enemies, decent platforming otherwise.

I wouldn’t hate the story so bad if it wasn’t trying to take itself so seriously and it wasn’t so AWFUL. It tries so hard to be dark and serious. Sonic is captured and tortured for six months (yes), the badguy who helps Robotnik/Eggman talks about death, despair and no hope. Cities are literally burning in the background of levels the main cast are held in a dingy room as the last hope……and your character, Rookie is beating levels and accessorizing with Gamer hats and Croc shoes.

Only made worse with some of the dialog…It’s straight out of a generic first person shooter. “This is delta team, we’re pinned down by enemy fire and need reinforcements!” can you guess the next line? “Can the rookie handle it?” To top this ALL off, this is crap you see in cutscenes and during RADIO chatter in game! (this is something you can thankfully disable) See what I mean by in your face? It’s all so cringey.

Okay, so the gameplay is mediocre and levels aren’t long enough, story sucks. But even Sonic 06 has some good music. So does Forces. But some of the music, specifically the Classic Sonic levels …it’s how I’d expect someone not familiar with the series would make a song when told by a director “make it sound retro” because they sound and feel generic and bland. They were likely done last minute since half the good music belongs to the Rookie’s levels where he gets freaking voice tracks with rocking music. So even this is a mixed bag.

SEGA seems so desperate to drop the characters that so many love that they gave up and tried to let you make your own. Amy, Knuckles, Vector, Espio and Charmy are all just in the single room, dingy home base around a table (just like a generic first person shooter with a revolution theme) and chat there or over the radio. Tails? Tails literally curls up and cowers at the sight of an enemy when we just got done playing Mania where he’s doing all sorts of stunts. Oh, also. Knuckles? The gullible idiot? He’s the commander leading this army.

I’m not saying these games can’t be a little dark. But this game is the equivlaent to Reaper from Overwatch. Trying WAY too hard and becoming a joke. Except here? It’s not self aware. It’s serious and it’s not even funny in a bad way.

I recall when Sonic Colors was announced SEGA said old fans of the series wouldn’t like it as it’s made for kids and now online I’ve read people suggesting this game was made for the older Sonic fans. Neither is accurate. Sonic Colors was great for all ages, Sonic Forces I’m not sure I could recommend to anyone. It so mediocre it’s painful. The game looks great, it’s so close to being good with gameplay if they just made the levels longer and more paths ….like Generations!

The cherry on top, the game is buggy as hell on PC. Game crashed at least twice, controller direction bugged out and got stuck left. Framerate drops randomly that weren’t repeatable (my PC runs DOOM on near highest at 120fps). This may be fixed, but the gameplay? Doubt that’ll be sorted.

Buy Generations, Colors, Mania, anything besides this.