It is no secret by now that Shadow the Hedgehog will be playing an important role in the upcoming Sonic Forces. The E3 trailer revealed that the ARK-born and raised Ultimate Life Form is revealed to be joining the all-star lineup of longtime Sonic villains standing in the Resistance’s way, but fans and theorists alike are still wondering why the long-reformed Shadow would possibly side with Team Eggman.
Some suspect foul play like mind control while I initially believed Eggman sprang for a rather impressive embossed invitation, but it wouldn’t be long now until we find out the truth for ourselves.
To find out like this, though? I’d have never seen it coming.
Alongside Modern Sonic, the Custom Hero, and Classic Sonic, you can now also play as Shadow once again in Sonic Forces (not the Avatar Hero Shadow costume; I mean the real deal) and witness his descent from brave-hearted hero back to black-hearted evil in his own exclusive Add-On Episode.
Episode Shadow is a short self-contained prequel story preceding the events of Forces, featuring three stages which will focus on the backstory between Shadow and the new enemy Infinite. In the gameplay preview above (and from what I’ve seen personally behind-the-scenes at PAX West), one of these levels opens to a Team Dark mission with Shadow and Rouge investigating the arid Green Hill area. After contact has been lost with E-123 Omega, the duo manage to trace the signal back to its source and find that the region has been overrun with strange red cubes…
If you’ve played Sonic Generations with mods in the past (or at least fought Sonic’s arch-rival yourself in the game), you’ll feel right at home as Shadow’s gameplay is very much like the Boost-based Modern Sonic we know. In the video, it also looks like he has something akin to the Dreamcast-era Light Attack at his disposal, given how he disposes of whole lines of enemies by plowing right through them at light speed. And with a “Supporting Me” remix for the stage as well? Nice touch!
The experience will be short and bittersweet, unfortunately, but the good times don’t stop there. Downloading this DLC will also unlock the ability to play as Shadow himself in several Modern Sonic stages – no modding required!
This also marks the first time Shadow the Hedgehog will be playable in a mainline Sonic game again since Sonic ’06 launched eleven years ago. With the “Solo Sonica” meme finally dead, the returning trend of other playable heroes in main titles (Tails and Knuckles in Mania, now Shadow here in Forces) is something I can only encourage… dare I say future Forces DLC?
Oh, and as a special thank you to fans, SEGA will be releasing Episode Shadow for free, and it will launch concurrently with Sonic Forces on November 7. Digital preorders are rolling out today for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with PC to follow.
Once again, for free. You read that right. Whether you’re getting the game physically or digitally!
Do you plan on downloading this neat add-on for yourself? Are there other characters you hope SEGA might bring back as additional DLC for Sonic Forces? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Special thanks to SEGA of America’s Edith Yang and Aaron Webber for the privilege of meeting them privately during my time at PAX West! TSS readers can check out my own take on the Sonic Forces demo from the event, where I got to try out the Tag-Team mechanic for the first time and had an early peek at today’s reveal, later this week.