Yuji Naka, legendary coder and de-facto ‘Father of Sonic the Hedgehog’, has announced that he has now joined Final Fantasy publisher Square Enix. Continue reading Yuji Naka Joins Japanese Publisher Square Enix
As of today, Sonic Mania’s soundtrack is no longer a vinyl exclusive, as it has finally hit digital music platforms as Sonic Mania Selected Edition. This version of the soundtrack is more comprehensive than the vinyl, containing all forty-seven music tracks created for the game. The soundtrack can be downloaded for $15.99 on iTunes, $14.49 on Google Play, and $18.99 on Amazon. Individual tracks can be had for $1.29, $0.99 and $1.29 on each service respectively.
While the soundtrack is pretty comprehensive, there is a reason why it is called the “Selected Edition”. The album lacks the tracks that were originally composed for Sonic 1 and 2.
Solicits for the new IDW Sonic Comic are due out very soon, and to whet the appetite for them IDW has made two exciting reveals today!
During this period of vinyl resurgence, it is great to see seminal Sonic the Hedgehog soundtracks are receiving LP incarnations, and as such, following on from 2017’s Sonic Mania vinyl soundtrack released through Data-Discs, Japanese record label Brave Wave have produced both Sonic Adventure 1 and Sonic Adventure 2 soundtracks in 12″ vinyl format.
This first pressing of each soundtrack comes as either a double LP, or packaged as a limited edition box set containing all four LPs in a presentation case and the addition of a certificate of authenticity signed by the series sound director himself, Jun Senoue. As an absolute sucker for anything limited edition, I opted for the latter choice, shelling out an additional 20 euros for the full experience.
Opening the box, you are greeted by the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 box art in gloriously large dimensions, and to Brave Wave’s credit, perfectly reproduced in the original vivid colours and high resolution. The gatefold for the Sonic Adventure OST impressively opens up for a full splash (pun intended) of Perfect Chaos straddling both pages, complete with lyrics to the game’s theme song Open Your Heart. Both albums come complete with a large 20-page book, containing character artwork, lyrics to vocal tracks, and an interview with Senoue-san and series director (and now Sonic Team head) Takashi Iizuka.
On the turntable the recordings sound fantastic having been remastered for the 180g pressing, with mixes that on the whole feel balanced and close to the original. Tracks feel fully fleshed and in many cases the clarity offered by the medium really amplifies elements that many might have missed depending through what platform you’ve listened to the soundtrack previously; the Shadow side on the SA2 album sounded particularly fresh. Of course many will be buying these editions for the vocal tracks, which all sound satisfyingly grandiose in this format when played through a good sound system.
As with the Sonic Mania product, the limitation of producing a Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack on vinyl is the available space; as such both OSTs have been truncated by approximately 50% when compared to their CD equivalents, which offer the more complete experience. As such, some real belters have been omitted from the roster, with a notable attrition of Knuckles vocal tracks from Sonic Adventure 2, and the almost ‘criminal omission’ of either rendition of Choose Your Buddy! The sequence in which the tracks are presented feels a little odd as well as being inconsistent between each album, with Open Your Heart concluding side D on the Sonic Adventure soundtrack, while Live & Learn sits as the last track on side A on the SA2 album.
Given the wealth of artwork produced during the production of the Sonic Adventure games, the presentation of both products feels a little sparse, particularly given the opportunity the size of these vinyl editions present to showcase some of the series artwork by Yuji Uekawa, and really does seem like a missed opportunity to appeal to a larger audience. Those expecting E-102 gamma artwork will be disappointed at his complete exclusion from the SA1 booklet!
The production quality of the records themselves is good, although my personal experience is marred by a red blemish on the otherwise solid white LP. While this is superficial and does not affect playback, I would have been very upset had I purchased these for display, as I imagine many fans will, and I therefore hope this defect is limited to a minority of copies [EDIT: I appear to have been the only person to suffer from this defect, and Brave Wave have very kindly replaced it – AT]
The greatest disappointment I feel comes with the limited edition box set, which includes a cardboard box and little else. The cover of the box does little more than amalgamate the cover art from both games, and as such feels reminiscent of a bargain bin 2-for-1 DVD case, looking cheap and unexciting alongside other box sets in my record collection. The certificate of authenticity has a ‘street flyer handout’ feel to it, when I think something of this nature should really be produced on heavy gauge, high quality paper to embellish the premium paid. This edition comes across as an afterthought, and an opportunity to make a few extra bucks from die-hard fans; indeed they have succeeded, with this edition selling out as a pre-order. For a cover price of over £100 all said and done for British punters (about twice the price I would expect to pay for two double gatefold albums at retail, although probably not helped by our poor exchange rate), I would have expected a lot more.
Overall, it is fantastic to see the soundtracks to the Sonic Adventure make it to vinyl, albeit in a truncated form, and that these are hopefully the first of many more Sonic the hedgehog re-releases on record in the near future.
It is a real shame however that both soundtracks come at such a relatively high cost (€40 each plus postage in Europe), and that the limited edition box set has resulted in product that feels inferior to its individual constituents.
That being said, Brave Wave have shown they are exceptional at their craft with their mastery of these two selections of highlights, from the titles that set the musical standard for the series for more than a decade.
*Soundtrack reviewed on a sound system comprising a Rega Planar 2 turntable, Marantz PM6006 amplifier and Dali Zensor 3 speakers)
Continuing a bit of a tradition only this time I managed to plan it to land exactly on January 1st!
Throughout the year our site monitors and keeps tracks of various statistics and we’re able to run various reports based on that data. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at what were the top 15 news/articles of 2017 on TSS according to total views, I have discounted individual images or hub pages like the Home page.
The date period that the data is from is 1/1/17 – 1/1/18.
- Rumour: Sonic Runners Adventure Coming to Mobile Devices
- DOP: 7th April 2017
- Total Views: 9,631
Out of utterly nowhere, a random company puts up the banner for the game on it’s website, then pulls it, then accidentally puts up the entire Q&A for the game, then pulls it down, then puts it up again, then pulls it down. Then soft launches it a few days later! Whats going on!?
- Sonic Mania to include Animated Cut Scenes?
- DOP: 16th April 2017
- Total Views: 10,139
First bit of Mania news to hit the list, Detective Sonic Stadium discovered a small WIP animation of what appeared to be Sonic fighting one of the Hard Boiled Heavies. Little did we know that a few weeks later we would get the full stunning opening sequence.
- Sonic Utopia Reveal
- DOP: 23rd October 2016
- Total Views: 10,228
A fan game proof of concept made the list! That’s pretty impressive… but what’s more impressive is that this article was written outside of the date period, more impressive than that, it was also on last years list!
You guys seem to really enjoy this one!
- Sonic Forces Soundtrack Announcement
- DOP: 12th October 2017
- Total Views: 10,419
First bit of Forces news on the list. Soundtracks are always popular products, no surprise that the news of a physical and digital soundtrack for a 3D Sonic game makes it onto the list.
And it totally says ‘Ow the Edge’ when you quickly glance at it.
- Sonic Forces Day One Edition Revealed
- DOP: 31st July 2017
- Total Views: 10,764
The pre-order hype train started for Sonic Forces with the promise of unique costumes. Fans were invited to dress up Clark the Wolf as a variety of characters from other Sega and ATLUS titles so long as they bought the game the moment it came out.
- Sega Teasers A New Character for Sonic Forces
- DOP: 28th October 2016
- Total Views: 11,735
Another article from outside the date range makes it onto the list! Not that surprising, we didn’t get the full reveal for the Avatar (AKA Clark the Wolf) until many months later, probably explains why this one made the list yet again.
- The Sonic Movie To Be Released In 2019
- DOP: 21st June 2017
- Total Views: 11,936
First bit of movie news to make the list… which seems really strange since there has been so little in terms of news for the movie since it’s announcement. In fact the only other bit of news for the movie which I can think of that came to light last year was the announcement that the film was now in the hands of Paramount Pictures.
Well it’s due out in 2019 and we still know nothing about it, I don’t see a problem with that… right?
- Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Announced
- DOP: 12th September 2017
- Total Views: 12,469
Another day, another mobile game gets announced! Sonic Fores Speed Battle was released to accompany it’s bigger brother and was actually better received than the game it was designed to support.
- Sonic Forces EGX Hands On Impressions
- DOP: 24th September
- Total Views: 13,413
Well… This certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons didn’t it? Whilst the majority of people reacted in support, some claimed I was making it up and used every excuse in the book to try and explain or somehow stain what I had written.
But after the game released there was really only one explanation. Sonic Forces was just naff both as a demo and a final product.
- Sonic Forces Release Date Confirmed
- DOP: 23rd August
- Total Views: 14,114
Not much to say here, the new Sonic game gets a release date, of course the hit counter went nuts.
- First Teaser Images of Clark The Wolf
- DOP: 12th April 2017
- Total Views: 21,767
Sega teases us again! We got an outline of the character and for an entire month we were toying with possibilities as to who it could be. Who was that third man? Bubsy?Fang? Big the Cat in a disguise!?
April was a fun month, we all went detective trying to figure it out. We even made a few guesses ourselves
- Sonic Runners Adventure Gets Released in Russia!
- DOP: 10th June 2017
- Total Views: 21,767
Things started to get stranger with this title. Sonic Runners Adventure got leaked, then got accidentally announced, then got pulled, then got released in Russia and nobody from Sega wanted to confirm it was real! This prompted many fans to ask was it real!? Is it real!? Am I real!? Are you real!?
- Sonic Mania Trophy Guide
- DOP: 15th August 2017
- Total Views: 22,011
I’m… not that surprised this made it onto the list, nor am I that surprised it made it this high. Trophy and Achievement Guides are the new cheat books, considering how we were able to put this together so soon it’s not that surprising it helped out so many people.
Before You Continue…
There was only 1000 clicks between the next two articles… the article which hit the number 1 spot was published at the very start of the year, so it had an entire year of exposure and was constantly referenced to due to the fact the news was constant for over 9 months.
Which makes the number 2 spot even more amazing. Had it not been for the constant news and rumours about the number one article, odds are this would have made it to the top spot.
So without further ado… here is number 2.
- Omelette Breaks The Internet
- DOP: 1st September 2017
- Total Views: 23,828
You maniacs! What have you done!? She made it onto the list… she would have been the most viewed article of 2017 had it not been for… well you’ll find out in a moment. This is… I am at a loss for words.
A trick of the eye? A glitch in the Matrix? Call it what you like, what someone saw in Sonic Mania kickstarted a short term but very popular meme. Omelette was considered to be Eggmans secret niece who tired of watching her older relative try and fail to stop Sonic takes matters into her own hands.
Now can we please make her canon and put her into the next All Stars Racing game?
- Archie Comics Is Cancelled
- DOP: January 17th 2017
- Total Views: 24,854
Yup… it was always going to be on here…. And only just beat out Omelette by 1000 clicks!
We were the very first news outlet to break this story, we actually found out about it several days before we published this article, only there was nothing rock solid to support it. But a lot of signs were there to suggest what we had been told was indeed true.
The longest running comic based on a video game was coming to an end. With radio silence from Sega and Archie for over 9 months, the announcement of it’s cancellation finally came with a short press release.
Whilst many fans expressed anger and sadness at this, spare a thought for some subscribers who are still trying to get their subscription money back if our forums are anything to go by.
These articles just missed out on the list. But were pretty significant, if only for the mass hysteria which followed their publication.
Sonic Mania is leaked… PANIC!
How do you leak a digital game? Well it turns out that the redemption codes for it are not time locked on certain systems! Which is a big problem if retailers start shipping out Collectors Editions early!
Coming to light several days before the games released, a lot of fans entered panic mode! Some instantly logged out of their Google accounts to prevent YouTube from displaying spoilers in the ‘Recommended’ section. Others took more drastic steps and went on a full internet blackout for several days.
With videos and even streams going on for days before hand. Even Sega stepped in and tried to block the leaks!
Clark Kent the Wolf is revealed!
Confirming what many had suspected, the third character in Forces was indeed
Classic Sonic The Avatar! A customised character that you could create, he would swing on a grapple hook (during scripted segments) and be a reflection of yourself as you help Sonic defeat Eggmans army.
All-Stars Brawl & Football Discovered
2017 was a quiet year for new Sonic game discoveries… but these two came to light on the same day and became a short distraction from Mania and Forces. A football themed All-Stars game as well as a Beat-Em-Up style brawler.
See you in 2018, it’s going to be an Adventure.
A series staple since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 over twenty-five years ago right up to the recent Sonic Mania, either earning the seven Chaos Emeralds or clearing the game’s story often yielded the highly coveted reward of Super transformation. From there, simply collect fifty rings mid-stage, transform, and blast off with ring-fueled invincibility and faster speeds.
While oddly absent from the game’s initial release over a month ago, Sonic Forces is finally bringing in this long loved franchise staple at long last as free downloadable content… unfortunately, with a catch that is already drawing community backlash.
For its fourth year running, our friends at RadioSEGA are holding their annual weekend-long WinterFest event, with fans all over the SEGA community coming together to celebrate good music, raise money for Special Effect, and walk away with some sweet prizes!
Just like last year, RadioSEGA hosts and guests from across the community will be hosting the festivities over the next three days, including yours truly. Read on after the jump for the complete schedule and on how to win a coveted limited edition pressing of the Sonic Mania soundtrack!
In what could be argued as being the first big reveal for 2018. Tomy has updated their re-seller catalogue for 2018 which includes a lot of brand new Sonic toys covering action figures and plushies.
With regards to action figures we have a new a classic Amy pack which comes with a metal art plate and a Classic and Modern Eggman pack which also comes with an art plate.
But more interestingly, Zavok is finally getting a figure and Infinite is also getting the action figure treatment along with some Chao accessories.
More modern based figures, but the most interesting thing on show here is the comic book packs, you see… that doesn’t appear to be an Archie or IDW comic book, but something completely new!
Terror, excitement, confusion… all in one page. On the one hand with have the awesome looking classic Sonic figure, and the utterly stunning looking Super Sonic plush…. Only to find Amy and Vector who appears to be hitch hiking.
More plush toys planned, this time we see a new Classic Eggman and an Evil Chao figure join the line! Also is it just me or is Knuckles giving Shadow a bit of a look there?
More on these as and when we get the details in.
After months of waiting, Sonic Runners Adventure is finally coming to Apple and Google’s official mobile storefronts. While Android users have been able to buy the game for the past several months through Gameloft and some other websites, the game’s arrival on the App Store will mark the first time iOS users will be able to play the game.
While the announcement trailer doesn’t have a firm date, the game will likely arrive on both storefronts within the next few days.
Can you feel life moving through your mind?
With word from Xbox’s very own Larry Hryb, “Major Nelson” himself has revealed today that the Xbox Live Arcade version of Sonic Adventure 2 is at last Xbox One Backward Compatible. Those who previously owned the remastered HD edition of this classic on Xbox 360 can recover the digital download at no extra cost; those interested in picking it up can do so for $9.99/£6.75/9,49€.
Happy Sonic 2sDay, everyone!
— SEGA Forever (@SEGAForever) November 19, 2017
Following the tease two days ago, a new classic SEGA title is joining the company’s SEGA Forever initiative on the 25th anniversary of its genesis.
It can be hard to produce a companion app for a high-profile console game. If you get it wrong, it can largely be seen as a cynical micro-transaction-heavy cash grab, or at the very least, a poor afterthought. Which is why it’s good news that SEGA Networks’ Hardlight Studio was tasked with building a new mobile experience to coincide with the launch of Sonic Forces. Continue reading TSS REVIEW: Sonic Forces Speed Battle (iOS)
Note: This review qualifies as mostly ‘spoiler free’, but it does contain information on stages, gameplay elements.
It’s odd to think it’s been so long since the last major Sonic the Hedgehog release from Sonic Team. In fact, it’s just over six years since the release of Sonic Generations for the 20th anniversary. I’m sure there were raised eyebrows as the 25th anniversary came and went without an A-list title, but perhaps the majority let this pass as the fandom became gripped amidst ‘Sonic Mania’. Continue reading TSS Review: Sonic Forces
The North American version of the Sonic Forces launch trailer was officially released by SEGA today. Unfortunately, unlike the Italian version we reported on a few weeks ago, this trailer contains some serious spoilers. Not just unannounced levels like the Sonic Mania, but actual footage of the game’s final boss and ending cutscenes.
So if you’ve been trying to dodge spoilers since the game was leaked last week, you might want to avoid the trailer. If not, you can check the trailer out below:
Sonic music aficionados, get excited! Record label Brave Wave have announced that they will be collaborating with SEGA in order to produce both the SONIC ADVENTURE and SONIC ADVENTURE 2 soundtracks in vinyl format.
The albums will each contain a selection of songs from both games, each coming complete with two 180 gram records (in either a special edition blue / white or blue / red for SA1 and SA2 respectively, or a standard black edition), and will include a booklet containing “a reflective interview with Jun Senoue and head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka” in addition to song lyrics and artwork (track listing below).
While no pricing or release date has been announced, Brave Wave expect the albums to see a release this winter.
Stay tuned to TSS for more information on these releases as they come!
SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING
A1. Introduction …featuring “Open Your Heart”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Welcome to Station Square
A4. Azure Blue World …for Emerald Coast
A5. Run Through The Speed Highway …for Speed Highway
A6. Pleasure Castle …for Twinkle Park
B1. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B2. Be Cool, Be Wild and Be Groovy …for Ice Cap
B3. Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
B4. Mt. Red: a Symbol of Thrill …for Red Mountain
B5. Blue Star …for Casinopolis
B6. Lazy Days ~Livin’ in Paradise~ …Theme of “BIG”
C1. My Sweet Passion …Theme of “AMY”
C2. Mystic Ruin
C3. Theme of “TIKAL”
C4. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
C5. Theme of “CHAO”
D1. Bad Taste Aquarium …for Hot Shelter
D2. Egg Carrier – A Song That Keeps Us On The Move
D3. Skydeck A Go! Go! …for Sky Deck
D4. Theme of “E-102γ”
D5. Open Your Heart …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE”
SONIC ADVENTURE VINYL SOUNDTRACK LISTING:
A1. SA2 …Main Riff for “Sonic Adventure 2”
A2. It Doesn’t Matter …Theme of “SONIC”
A3. Event: Let’s Make It!
A4. Escape From The City …for City Escape
A5. That’s The Way I Like It …for Metal Harbor
A6. Won’t Stop, Just Go! …for Green Forest
A7. Live & Learn …Main Theme of “SONIC ADVENTURE 2”
B1. Unknown from M.E. …Theme of “KNUCKLES”
B2. A Ghost’s Pumpkin Soup …for Pumpkin Hill
B3. Dive Into The Mellow …for Aquatic Mine
B4. Believe In Myself …Theme of “MILES”
B5. This Way Out …for Prison Lane
C1. Throw It All Away …Theme of “SHADOW”
C2. Vengeance Is Mine …for Radical Highway
C3. Rhythm And Balance …for White Jungle
C4. The Supernatural …for Final Chase
C5. For True Story …for Sonic vs. Shadow
C6. Supporting Me …for Biolizard
D1. Fly In The Freedom …Theme of “ROUGE”
D2. Lovely Gate 3 …for Egg Quarters
D3. I’m A Spy …for Security Hall
D4. E.G.G.M.A.N. …Theme of “Dr. EGGMAN”
D5. Soarin’ Over The Space …for Cosmic Wall
2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the seminal Sonic game, Sonic Adventure – and what better way to celebrate the event than through the music of the series!
Omega’s in big trouble, Rouge is worried and Shadow’s coming to help and…do I see pictures of Sally Acorn? Nah. Couldn’t be. The third Sonic Forces comic is here! It’s written by Ian Flynn with art by Adam Bryce Thomas. Check it out in the gallery below and check out the first issue here and the second one here.
Did you enjoy all that spoiler-dodging in the wake of the Sonic Mania leaks? Well, we’ve got good news for you: you get to do it again with Sonic Forces!
Hello r/sonic the hedgehog pic.twitter.com/80Low6JwXV
— Spooky Daniel (@MrCrazyFace98) October 27, 2017
At least several copies of the Switch version of the game have been sold early by as-yet unknown retailers. Unfortunately, while the person who posted the images in the above tweet has refused to leak anything, others haven’t been so restrained. Sonic Forces streams are reportedly already popping up, though SEGA is taking them down.
Just like with Sonic Mania, we won’t be reporting on the impending wave of spoilers from these streams. If you want to avoid them, you may want to stay off social media and message boards until you’ve played the game yourself.
Sonic Forces will release be released for the Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC on November 7.
If you’re a Switch owner who’s been wanting to try out the upcoming Sonic Forces game, today is your lucky day: SEGA has released a demo on the system’s Japanese eShop.
The second part of SEGA’s Sonic Forces digital comic mini series debuted today, and this week it’s catering to Knuckles fans (and Silver fans I guess). Written by Ian Flynn with art by Adam Bryce Thomas, this comic’s story is a direct prequel to the game, showing how some of the game’s characters get involved. It also…well, you’ll see on the final page, I guess.
This week’s comic pages are embedded below. If you missed last week’s comic, you can check it out here.
Today, months after the closure of SonicMerchandise.com, SEGA has launched its successor: the SEGA Shop. As the name implies this shop is for more than just Sonic, featuring merchandise from both Golden Axe and Shinobi franchises as well as the SEGA Genesis console. So if you’ve ever wanted a or a bar of soap shaped like a SEGA Genesis controller, you can buy it. The store is also launching with some exclusive Sonic merchandise, including a Sonic Forces shirt, pictured below:
The store is currently only open in the Americas, New Zealand and Australia.
With Sonic Force’s release now just three weeks away, SEGA is now finally showing off new parts of the game. Today’s trio of videos center around the game’s Avatar character, a boss battle and a somewhat new stage: Space Port.
I say somewhat because Space Port is technically the frozen-over Chemical Plant level we got our first screenshots of last week. It would appear the plant has been converted into launch base of some sort, with the chemicals now frozen solid in their tubes and vats. The “Rental Hero” feature allows you to rent other player’s heroes, and switch to them mid-level. SEGA also showed off a boss battle between the Avatar character and Force’s new antagonist, Infinite.
You can check out all three videos below:
Hardlight Studios have released episode one of their developer diary for Sonic Forces: Speed Battle. The behind the screens feature gives insight into the games’ development process…and even teases what to expect in the future!
Sonic Channel, the Japanese source for all things Sonic, has announced that Sonic Forces will see the release of its soundtrack in both physical and digital formats.
With less than a month to go until the official release date of Sonic Forces, PSN Profiles has listed all 46 trophies that can be achieved in the PS4 version of the game.
Be warned: some spoilers ahead!
It has been revealed at IDW’s Sonic Comic Town Hall panel (live-streamed by TSSZ), that Ian Flynn will be the lead writer. Fans of the later Archie Sonic comics will be pleased to see Flynn return to his role as creator of Sonic comic story lines.
While details on the comic from the panel has been sparse so far, it has been announced that the new Sonic comic will be in its own continuity and will start with a new number one with “brand new stories.” The comic will launch April 4th, 2018 with the first four issues released on a weekly basis, continuing on monthly.
While Flynn’s involvement as lead writer has been confirmed, no other names have been mentioned at the time of this writing.
UPDATE: IDW has released a high quality version of the Tysone Hesse teaser image alongside their press release.
News hot off the floor at this year’s New York Comic Con has revealed images of a flyer advertising IDW’s highly anticipated Sonic the Hedgehog comic, the successor to the long-running Archie series, featuring artwork by the multi-talented artist and animator Tyson Hesse (see below!).
The flyer contains the following message on it’s reverse:
Thank you for joining us for the first ever IDW/Sonic Town Hall!
IDW and SEGA are proud to bring you an all-new chapter of Sonic the Hedgehog comics! After more than 25 years, Sonic’s adventures have captured the imaginations of countless fans, and have inspired one of the most passionate fan bases in the world. We look forward to bringing you brand-new stories, featuring characters old and new, that continue this proud legacy of the fastest comics around!
SPEEDING YOUR WAY APRIL 2018!
Undoubtedly fans will be excited to see Hesse return to Sonic following the success of his involvement in the Archie comics and Sonic Mania, and will likely lead to speculation as to which names from the old guard of Sonic comics might be making a return via the IDW publication. More information is likely to come to light over the course of the comic con and the panel on the 8th of October, and as always TSS will keep you up to date with information as it is revealed!
Many thanks to Kevin Sanchez and Linkabel via Twitter for the images!
With New York Comic Con set to begin very soon, we have our first piece of news regarding the highly anticipated Sonic Comic that they will be putting out. According to the signage on their booth, the comic will be starting in April 2018.
This means that while it will be a six-month wait for the comic to come out, we should get the official solicit out in January, as per the usual comic cycle. That’s assuming they don’t give some details on the first comic sooner than that, which can happen for new series.
This is only a glimpse at what IDW have to announce for the Sonic Comic at NYCC though. They’re set to have a panel on October 8th that will reveal much more, so there’s that to look forward to. We will report any news that comes out of there, and any other Sonic comic news in the meantime.
Source: IDW Publishing (Twitter)
Sega revealed today that another old stage would be returning for Sonic Forces. This time the Chemical Plant is making an icy return.
Hinted at previously through in-game dialogue this is the first time we’ve seen the Chemical Plant Zone in Sonic Forces. However, unlike it’s incarnation in Generations and Mania, the Chemical Plant is a little chilly, it’s been frozen over with ice.
So far only screenshots showing the Avatar have been made available. But given the track history with Forces so far, odds are Classic and Modern Sonic will also see action in this stage.
Source: Sonic the Hedgehog twitter.
After several months of silence, it has been announced that the long-anticipated Hollywood Sonic the Hedgehog movie will be produced by Paramount Pictures, moving from previous producer Sony Pictures.
Despite the move, many of the staff at Sony who were with the project are sticking with it still. Neal M. Moritz, Tim Miller and Toby Ascher are executive producing, Jeff Fowler is in the director’s seat (making this his directorial debut) and Dmitri Johnson and Dan Jevons are acting as co-producers. It’s still set to be a blend of live action and CG animation.
As of writing, it is unknown whether the movie will still make its current 2019 release date or be pushed back to a later date. We will update you on more movie news as it comes to light.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
The list of Xbox One backwards compatible games continues to grow and Sonic Adventure just joined the list.
Originally released on the Dreamcast, Sonic Adventure has found it’s way in recent years to the GameCube, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
Source: Major Nelson
A new zone for the upcoming Sonic Forces has been revealed today by the official Sonic the Hedgehog YouTube channel.
Casino Forest seems to boast a mish mash of Casino Night Zone and Silent Forest Zone as main inspirations, as Classic Sonic ricochets off bumpers and pinball flippers to reach the end goal. You can catch the footage below:
Interestingly, in extended gameplay released by IGN, Tails provides mission commentary, insinuating that Classic Sonic is searching for Modern Sonic in this stage. You can see that footage here.
Casino Park is the first new zone revealed for the game since April this year, where a remixed Green Hill Zone was shown for Classic Sonic. The playable Avatar character was shown shortly after, sporting their own versions of Park Avenue and Green Hill, including a tag team stage with Modern Sonic in the latter.
This week was the Eurogamer Expo (EGX), I attended the convention over two days and I was able to play Sonic Forces several times across all platforms (PC was not available).
I tried and tested every Avatar weapon and power up, each stage was played multiple times and I ended up discovering all the pathways on each stage.
This will be a long read because if I were in your position, I would want a very detailed impression on this game so I have a very clear idea as to what I can currently expect.
[This applies only to the tracks in the demo, not tracks released on YouTube]
Every time I listen to Forces’ soundtrack on YouTube, I really don’t like it. So why did I really enjoy the music when actually listening to it in the game? Even the Green Hill Boss fight was quite catchy.
Even after I finished the Avatar stage I found myself humming the tune and singing the lyrics for a few hours after it, it’s that addictive.
It’s down to the simple reason that the music compliments the action quite well, even the silly sounding synths during the Green Hill fight work as Eggman slowly advances towards you.
I’m as shocked as anyone, I actually like the music in Forces.
Performance & Visuals
[This does not apply to the Switch version; I will talk about that separately at the end of the article.]
Aside from the fact the colour scheme is dark and moody, graphically it’s ok. Textures are high quality; the frame rate appears to be a constant 60fps. I didn’t notice any slowdowns or issues on the PS4/Xbox One versions of the game; it’s a nice game to look at in motion.
Tiny details are scattered around, like a blurry reflection of Sonic and the surrounding scene in a puddle, grass blades blowing in the wind during Green Hill and there’s a huge level of detail on the ending models when you beat a stage.
Sadly though, if you stop in Sunset Heights and try to look at some of the ruined buildings, their textures are lower than they probably should be, shop names appear to be blurred and some details outside the boundary of the path are also low quality. Which is a shame since this is detail you can see from the playable area.
Loading times were also very fast on the PS4 and Xbox One versions; don’t have a time, but they were fast, 2 or 3 seconds at most.
Sonic Forces was running off the systems HDD, unsure if the consoles were pro or standard systems.
Controlling Modern Sonic
Modern Sonic still cannot perform a spin attack, he cannot roll and he still has the same control problems which have plagued the boost era since Unleashed.
At times the gravity in Sonic Forces seems to switch from low to high depending on the situation. For example, quite often I ended up leaving a ramp, went flying through the air only to find the falling arc is not what you expect, as if gravity is much lower or Sonic is somehow floating away, this also happened when attempting to jump across platforms too.
Other times it feels like gravity is higher than it should be. For example; in Sunset Heights after the rail grinding section if you turn back the other way, there are 3 platforms to reach a red ring. The jumps here do not feel natural, Sonic feels heavy at this section and failing what appears to be a set of simple platforms is quite common occurrence.
It does not feel natural to land jumps at all, most of the time you cheer when you make a difficult landing not because you estimated the jumps naturally, but because you finally figured out what kind of auto motion was being put on your character or natural circumstances have been put into place to create an artificial sense of difficulty instead of designing a naturally challenging level in which the physics remain constant throughout.
Sonic’s acceleration also has a problem… the following diagram illustrates Sonic’s acceleration speed if you just hold the ‘left/right button’ in Sonic Mania.
See how there is a constant acceleration until top speed is reached? Unless you go down a hill or get a power up, it’s a constant rate.
Here is how it works in Forces.
For some reason, and this is very noticeable at the start of Sunset Heights since you cannot boost at the start of that stage, Sonic begins to gain speed at a rate you expect, but the moment his animation changes there is a sudden and dramatic increased in speed, not a natural acceleration speed, this happens on two different occasions until max speed is reached.
It doesn’t feel right, it makes Sonic harder to control and it feels as if Sonic is on ice as he lurches to the left or right from the sudden acceleration. The moment you hit the higher speed bands, you suddenly lose control of Sonic and he weirs off to the left or right.
The issue of scripting and automated segments come into play here too, there is a lot of automated and scripted segments which force Sonic along a specific part of the route, otherwise when these are not enabled, Sonic hugs the left or right wall even when boosting no matter how hard you try to make him move towards the centre.
The only time this doesn’t happen and Sonic remains in the centre is during scripted or automated segments where the game itself is keeping you in the centre (The start of the Tag-Team stage does this), or if the game has a cut scene or something which puts you in the centre and you remain there unless you move (the Double Boost sequence).
Modern Level Design
Sunset Heights level design is as basic as you can possibly get. The stage is incredibly linear with absolutely no real alternative pathways and very little in terms of exploration.
You may have seen that moment where Sonic grabs a zip-line and swings through a building and grabs a red ring, below him is the section you take if you if you don’t take that zip-line? That’s about it for alternative pathways.
The only other instance of an alternative pathway comes during the camera switch to the 2D perspective section, this depends if you boost or not after you leave a ramp, do so and Sonic reaches a higher path, meaning you skip out a few badniks and a spring, it’s only a few seconds difference before the paths merge again, not a big change nor does it make for creative or inspiring level design.
Otherwise exploration in this stage is literally ‘there is a platform above me, I’ll jump on it, now the platform above that… oh there’s a red ring here.’ It’s so basic and the rewards are just red rings, no power ups, no extra lives, no rings, no destroyed statue of Fang, it’s just for red rings.
In many ways, the game feels like it was designed for an absolute basic player, someone new to games, or a child who has just got their first gaming system. There is nothing challenging or insightful here, the game forces you to go forward at all times, be it through boost pads, automated segments or being practically forced to use the boost in order to progress.
The level design also employs automated and scripted sections to guarantee a player ends up where the developers want you to go, over where you want to go or where your ability should take you.
For instance, use the boost as you approach a ramp, even for a split second and you’ll definitely make it to a higher platform. Don’t use it and you’ll fail each time regardless as to if you were at top non boost speed or not. They key to making it is if you were at ‘boost speed’ or not.
On other occasions, control is completely taken out of your hands to ensure you go in the right direction or to complete difficult jumps for those cinematic like moments where you fly over a huge chasm. Other times it’s just bizarre choices; during both the modern and avatar stages, control is completely taken away to ensure you actually finish a stage. Yes the game will actually finish the levels for you.
Level design is also poor when you factor in enemies; they are simply not a threat or an obstacle. You know how in Mania you sometimes have to time your attacks or attack an enemy in a specific way to defeat it? Here you just press the boost button; you’ll just go through them.
There is no challenge, no difficulty, no tactics and no options. It’s just ‘see the enemy, boost at the enemy’ it feels like a Fisher Price my first video game at times.
You constantly feel like you are being made to go forward, no exploration and no thought into how you do it, just hold down the boost and away you go, congratulations you just won the game.
The Homing Attack May Have Changed…
Something about the homing attack in this game feels off and I cannot place my finger on exactly what it is.
In Sonic Forces, say you have this enemy set up.
You approach enemy A and homing attack it, you then lock onto enemy C, the game will not allow you to attack enemy B. Even if you can still see it and aim for it, the moment you pass it you have to go forward.
Same if you attack B first, you must go onto C.
Now can you do A, B, C? Possibly… but I couldn’t get this to work, I tried several times in different areas of Sunset Heights and Tag Team, chaining homing attacks in Forces seems to have a problem.
Previously, if you just pushed the attack button, Sonic would auto move to the closest enemy and defeat them, or if you held the analogue stick, you could ‘aim’ Sonic at the target.
In Forces, when you jump, you must aim at an enemy using the analogue stick, or else you cannot lock onto it and perform a homing attack.
But something is off about it. It’s as if, not only do you have to be in range, but the target icon has such a high margin of failure that you must be so precise with your aim or it won’t lock onto your target. For quick chaining attacks in succession this presents a problem unless the target is almost directly in front of you so the game can auto lock, hence why I’ve never been able to perform a homing attack behind me, even if I can see the target.
In Sunset Heights, the initial enemies leading up-to the Zip-Line like segment don’t have this problem, but when you reach that wider area after the boost hill going down into the park square, it’s very noticeable and very easy to miss a target.
If this was the case in Generations, feel free to discard this section since I genially cannot remember it being there, certainly not this bad, but the homing attack definitely felt off, it felt much harder to aim and chain attacks, I can see enemies I want to target, sometimes being right next to them but I’m unable to do so. Something is wrong with it.
Controlling Classic Sonic
It’s very hard to judge this, it’s the Green Hill Zone boss fight again with a twist. There is very little to do here, but for the most part, Classic Sonic pretty much controls as he did in Generations with one key difference.
You how have to hold ‘down’ and mash the jump button to perform a super spin attack.
That’s about it, Classic Sonic has all the benefits and problems from Generations otherwise, he still feels a bit floaty at times when you jump at speed. But otherwise, it’s very hard to judge since this is a highly restricted boss fight.
He controls as you should expect him to, but it’s way too hard to judge in a level with a flat surface in which you cannot move for long periods of time and are fighting a boss which barely requires you to actually jump at him.
Classic Level Design
Again just judging the boss here… there’s nothing that can be said, it’s a flat plane for the majority of the fight. There are issues though when the level design meets the interface.
Aside from constantly being yelled at by Sonic’s friends, the radio obstructs both the boss and the player in the GHZ fight, meaning you have to guess where you are if you perform an attack at that moment.
Enter the Avatar
Sega had a number of randomly generated Avatars for you to play as, all had exactly the same abilities despite being different species, all moved the same and played the same.
The only difference in gameplay is based on the weapon you pick.
So, armed with a gun and a grapple hook, what’s the avatar like?
Controlling the Avatar
It’s pretty bad.
Considering how much has gone into marketing the Avatar as being the big thing of this game, controlling him is horrendous. He suffers from feeling sluggish, his jump distance at times feels random as does his jump height, he is not a fun character to play as and just begs the question as to why this was implemented?
There are moments where you have to jump on a platform or over a series of platforms over a bottomless pit, above you is the Giant Spider foot waiting to stomp on you, meaning you have to use precision platforming and speed to navigate this section.
The problem is the same as modern Sonic, at times the gravity feels either too strong or too weak, it’s almost dynamic depending on the section of the level, what worked in an earlier part of the stage will not work later on, even if the platform is exactly the same and the distance to it is exactly the same.
Often the Avatar will either float too far or seemingly drop like a brick despite what you do, often your momentum comes crashing to a halt as you have no choice but to stop at an edge and before basic jumps just to ensure you make it, you constantly feel like you’re fighting the physics instead of using them.
I feel that I have been very much mislead when it comes to the gameplay for the Avatar character, this character is nowhere near as cool or interesting as the trailers make him out to be. The main issue here is with the weapon you use and the Wisp power ability the accompanies it, your fun mileage varies greatly depending on the weapon you pick since it feels that stages have been designed with specific weapons in mind over others.
The options available to you in terms of how you progress through a level are also dictated by the weapon you use. There is a standard non power pathway, but there is also a specific one to each weapon type.
However, for the Cube Hammer power, I could not find a single use for this one. Even it’s standard attack special is completely useless, yes it takes out enemies faster than the homing attack and it gives you rings for doing so. But there’s no point to them, the levels are flooded with rings so it’s very unlikely that you will ever be pressed for finding rings.
You can only attack enemies by using weapons, you cannot jump onto them, you cannot roll/spin to attack enemies, despite the fact the avatar can roll down S-Tubes. You must use weapons or the grapple/homing attack.
Grapple Hook Gameplay
This is a contender for most pointless grapple hook in any game of all time. This is how you use it.
- Scripted sequences which you have no control aside from QTE events.
- Very rare occasions when there is a specific point that you can use to access a higher path or in some cases, continue with the stage, you push one button when the target indicator blinks.
- Homing attack enemies.
That’s it. There is no free use of the grapple hook, you cannot use it to swing over pits, you cannot use it to reach higher platforms, climb vertical surfaces, or do anything interesting or fun.
Do you want to swing over those enemies? You can’t.
Do you want to climb up that wall? You can’t.
Do you want to swing through the stage? You can’t.
Do you want to use the hook to pull items towards you? You can’t.
Do you want to do anything remotely fun with it like you can do in any game that has a grapple hook? You can’t.
Early on in the stage I was running down a hill, hit a ramp and right at the peak of the jump I pressed the button to use the hook, it felt like exactly the right moment to do that and feel amazing except…! Nothing… I just fell to where the game wanted me to be.
I then find a section with a platform above a pit… can I use the grapple hook to swing over this? No… Nothing.
I can only think of one grapple hook in gaming which is even less fun to use is the grapple gun from Resident Evil 0 because it takes two inventory slots and usually requires a player to backtrack through the entire mansion to pick it up because most people discarded it after the train!
You can use the grapple hook to attack enemies, but this is completely pointless and boring. The Avatar can only destroy one enemy at a time doing, yes it can chain attack like Sonic’s homing attack, but this move is far slower and you will not want to do this as it ruins the pace of the game.
This is how Sonic’s homing attack works.
- Jump into the air.
- Lock onto enemy.
- Attack enemy (zoom into it).
- Recover/Lock onto 2nd enemy, repeat.
This process is less than a half a second long. Here is how it works for the Avatar.
- Jump into the air
- Lock onto enemy
- Fire grapple hook at enemy.
- Zoom toward enemy.
- Kick enemy/defeat it.
- Recover/Lock onto 2nd enemy, repeat.
This is at least half a second long, whilst that may not seem like much, when you take into account there are normally 4-5 enemies in a row, this is a slower attack by a few seconds vs just 1 which would be what happens if Sonic were in the same situation.
Whilst you press the same buttons for the Avatar as Sonic, the process to defeat just one enemy is so slow, you will eventually resort to using the guns since the pace of the game collapses and the gameplay becomes amazingly boring by using the grapple hook to attack since it’s so slow and there is no ammo/cool down for the weapons.
When the grapple hook does lock onto an enemy, the distance on it is also broken. I was able to lock onto enemies not even on the screen yet and zoom to them, even if I didn’t know they were there, it felt at times like I wasn’t playing the game but just watching stuff happen.
How to make this grapple attack more fun: Do it like Sonic 06 where if you grapple attack an enemy and kick it, it could fly into another enemy and blow it up.
The game practically forces you to use weapons and there is absolutely no consequence for doing so which basically turns the game into boost 2.0 or turns on a pseudo invincibility mode.
The lightning whip attack launches the avatar forward and whips the enemies, it’s range is huge, it can easily take out 10+ enemies together on a 2D plane, in a 3D setting it’s arc is well near 180 degrees if you wiggle the analogue stick at the right time.
It’s also very broken, in 2D view mode, you can clip through enemies using this attack, but the whip won’t have impacted them as you pass through, yet they will still blow up with the others. This also happens in 3D view mode.
The flame thrower is also broken. You can hold down the attack for the entire level, there is no consequence to doing so, the range on this thing is somewhere between 1 quarter to half the screen and every enemies dies the moment they get struck by it.
There is no fuel for this gun or cool down time, so holding it down you effectively turn on an endless boost mode that only turns off if you jump and you can then activate it again.
This weapon isn’t broken… just boring. There is absolutely no reason at all to use this unless you are going for a 100% stage completion.
This was the last weapon I used when testing the characters, so after beating this stage with the fire and lightning weapon I was very familiar with the stage.
I was forced to take the standard path in the pyramid section; the attack from the hammer was so boring and repetitive that I quit the stage because it was that dull. It’s by far the most dull weapon, in the Avatar stage I could not find it’s accompanying wisp power nor a unique use for it. In the Tag Team section, there was one Wisp power up for it, but I couldn’t find where I was to use it.
Each Avatar can be equipped with a weapon, a Lightning Whip, a Flame Thrower, a Cube Hammer (turns enemies into an Ice Cube).
Each weapon can be super charged with a specific Wisp.
But here is the catch; if you have the Lightning Whip and you pick up a Red Wisp… it does nothing. You need to find a Yellow Wisp. Same goes for the other weapons.
How much fun you have on a stage radically differs to the weapon type you use. Here is what they do.
Flame/Burst: Launches your character up into the air, in 3D mode you can move in all directions.
Lightning: It becomes the Light Speed Dash or Light Speed Attack, only you must hold down the activation button to maintain it.
Cube: Creates blocks that you can climb on.
Personally, I found the burst the most fun, the reason being is that you at least feel like you are playing the game and making some progress. You choose when to activate it, you choose the direction you want to go in, you need to time the bursts in order to reach your target.
The light dash is cool to look at, until you realise it’s another automated attack which can go on for several seconds in some stages. In the Tag Team stage, you can clear the entire pyramid by doing only this attack and one homing attack section.
The Cube, if the demo had any moments that you could actually use this I’d be more than willing to comment on it. Right now it’s completely useless.
Artificial Replay Value
So you might now be thinking… why not just use the one you find the most fun? Well… there’s a catch to that.
If you want to get 100% of the collectables, you must replay the Avatar & Tag Team stages using different weapons! Even if you master a stage with one weapon, the game forces you to replay using another weapon.
Take the Avatar Green Hill Zone. Using the burst enables you to get to the very top of the stage and you can find a red ring, but from what I can see, it’s impossible to do this as the Lightning or Cube, they cannot make that distance and the level design doesn’t allow you to get there through any normal means.
Later in the stage a bridge collapses over a bottomless pit. There is a number of rings here and a red ring. I was only able to get this ring if I used the Lightning Wisp power. It might be possible with the burst if you save it and the cube… if they add cube wisps to this stage!
The Tag Team level has the same problem, the lightning special allows you to collect one red ring, but you have to go through the slower/normal route to get at least an additional two.
The above video is of myself playing through the Tag-Team section, it includes an analysis which helps compliment the issues I raise in this section.
Changing things up from tradition, Sonic and the Avatar team up to take on a level, that’s the idea, here is how it works.
You start off as Sonic locked into a scripted/automated section in which your options are to either use the boost button or the slower homing attack to defeat a few enemies… you hit a ramp, the Avatar then has the option to grapple swing to a higher platform.
That is the extent of the complexity of tag-team.
- There is no switch in/switch out.
- There is no choice to make a character active or primary.
- The game auto decides which character is the primary character.
For example, outside the pyramid, the player is practically forced to use, long straight corridors, boost wisps and speed ramps practically force you to use his abilities. Only once does the Avatar have the option to use his grapple attack, this move is tied to the jump button, meaning Sonic could have and has done a similar move using his homing attack and has done this exact ranged jump before (Generations/Chemical Plant Zone).
Inside the pyramid, it’s another story, you are practically forced to use the Avatars powers, grapple hook jumps to move to the next cog, to then instantly become surrounded by enemies, use the weapon (it’s faster than the homing attack by a long way) to defeat enemies or else you cannot progress through the stage.
Given how you cannot set a character as being active or primary results in some strange behaviour. Despite being on very restrictive circular platforms, Sonic can still use the boost meaning you can fly off the stage even though you’re under the impression that you are using the Avatar as a primary character.
There is nothing that suggests a symbiotic relationship in the tag team mode, not even a partial one, it’s literally “Here is the Sonic part, here is the Avatar part, here is the Sonic part.”
What’s the difference? One is boost to win; the other is use the weapon and wiggle the analogue stick to aim.
The following video is of myself playing through the tag team section of the game, I used the lightning wisp to show you the fastest way through, you can see in the video most of the issues I wrote about here.
When you watch it, it looks cool. But to play; it’s amazingly simplistic and dull.
Edit: Just as I was going to press, according to the Tokyo Game Show livestream, you can switch in and switch out Sonic/Avatar as the ‘leader’ but based on the stage I played there is no point in doing so, the stages seem to be clearly designed for ‘this is the Sonic part, this is the Avatar part.
Tag-Team Level Design
As I said before… it’s literally ‘This is the Sonic Segment, this is the Avatar Segment’ there is nothing clever here which means you’ll use both their abilities in harmony, it’s essentially two levels stuck together with tape.
The design is so basic it’s hardly worth reporting on, the initial Sonic section has a few higher paths, but they’re simple to get to, your options are literally ‘use the boost, or the slower homing attack’.
If you have seen official playthroughs of the interior of the pyramid, the impression you get is that there are loads of pathways, that you can jump on different cogs to progress… You cannot.
If you take the basic non wisp power pathway, you follow a strict route, each instance is the same dull gameplay.
- Jump on a cog.
- Defeat enemies
- Jump on next cog
The Lightning Wisp power allows you to bypass this, but again, you are effectively holding down one button to do so, it looks cool, but it’s boring to play.
The Burst Wisp power allows you to bypass the cogs, it’s much more enjoyable than the lightning, but only because you actually feel like you’re finally doing something and having control over your game in a non scripted or automated segment.
The Pyramid section is full of automated sections through the use of the grapple hook, you do not decide where it takes you, the second ends with a boost pad sequence and loads of rings, so even if you did badly you’ll still get a ring bonus.
Another really odd design choice was the very end, when you fall into the bomb room, I took my hands off the controller because I wanted to see what was behind me when I landed, but Sonic and the Avatar automatically ran forward and finished the level without my input.
Double Boost Is Pointless
This Double Boost move… You hammer the button to do a fist bump within a time limit and off you go!
Ever wonder what happens if you don’t do that? Do you get less boost power? Do you fail the segment?
What happens? …Virtually nothing.
My partner tried this before me and she mashed the button, succeeded and the double boost section began.
When it was my turn I said “I’m going to deliberately fail this, I want to see what happens!”
What happened made us both laugh, Sonic and the avatar fist bumped, Sonic yelled ‘Double Boost’ they stumbled a little, but that was it. I got the exact same double boost power and the segment played out exactly as it did for someone who bothers to do it.
You do not even need to move the characters or touch the controller in order to complete the stage, predating this section is a scripted section which lasts for 5 seconds, you then enter the double boost section which lasts for another 25 seconds before you regain control in the pyramid free fall.
So for 30 seconds you are not playing the stage, it’s virtually completely automated.
The only difference I could see was that you don’t get a point bonus if you fail the fist bump, but it’s still possible to get an S rank even if you fail this section!
During the double boost even though you have the ability to move left and right during it, there is no point in doing so since the game immediately centres you on the pathway, you might as well stay there since you’ll still hit all but maybe 3 enemies only this time you’ll collect all the rings at the end of the segment.
You are literally rewarded for doing nothing!
Overall Gameplay Thoughts
This is one of the most scripted and automated Sonic games I’ve seen. I want to actually be able to play a Sonic game, not watch an automated or scripted section. I want a Sonic game where I’m not just sat there waiting to turn off the boost button or push jump at the right time and that’s the extent of my decisions.
Modern Sonic still has all the problems he previously did; it’s still boost to win, only now the homing attack seems to be a little broken.
Classic Sonic controls exactly like he did and you’d expect, nothing else to really report until we can finally get a level to play instead of an easy boss fight.
The biggest disappointment comes from the Avatar. Aside from being sluggish to control, his one unique selling point is barely used, all the weapons are fantastically over powered, the Wisp special attacks are either boring or appear to do nothing.
Other universal issues are just baffling, there seems to be a lack of shadows under the characters at times, which means that it’s very hard to see if you are directly over a platform or not during platforming segments, this is basic game design for 3D games which has been around since the days of the N64, why is it not here in Forces?
Characters jumps can either be floaty or their arcs cut shorter than you feel they should be.
Overall Level Design Thoughts
The level design is poor, it feels like it’s just recycled parts from previous games masquerading as something new.
It’s like running through a movie back lot and seeing all the old scenes that we’ve seen before in movies past, here is that platforming segment, here is that free fall segment, here is that boost segment, here is the chase segment. Done it all before, it’s boring now.
How does this happen? Especially with the debut of a ‘new’ character with ‘new’ gameplay. Here we go playing the Avatar stage, a new idea with a new gameplay mechanic; instead it’s just pound shop Modern Sonic. The first boss for this character is literally a QTE chase sequence which involves the quick step.
You know, I think we’ve played this boss before… wasn’t this done in Unleashed, Generations, 06 and Rise of Lyric?
Hang on, we have a character here with a grapple hook fighting a giant spider, why is this boss not an open area in which you have to use the hook to grapple onto the Spider Boss, swing between its legs as it tries to grab at you, climb onto the top of it and use your weapon to try and break parts off it or open it’s head to rip out its circuits. The boss battle ends with the robot crashing down, you leap off it as it explodes and pull a victory pose.
That would be fun!
That would be giving me something to do! Instead I’m watching a chase sequence which is feels lifted and recycled from Sonic Unleashed that ends with a QTE. And at the time I forgot to check if failing that sequence results in a death or if it’s just a point bonus since you still win if you fail the double boost so why not here too?
Here is our Modern Sonic stage, it’s another linear corridor/path like level, here are our enemies which do not present a challenge, your options are boost through them or use the slower homing attack. You don’t need to think, you don’t need to react, just hold the boost button and you’ll do it, maybe press jump on occasion.
If you are wondering about the length of the stages? Based on the fact the demo levels let you find all the red star rings, they really are between 60 and 90 seconds long, with up-to 30 seconds of automated segments in some stages.
You want to explore the stage? You want to go back, tough, there’s boosters everywhere to force you in one direction, only now we don’t even allow you to go back to attack enemies with a homing attack.
There is something wrong with a level when you can hold down 1 button and either boost or fly over the entire thing and still come out with an S Rank. It’s catastrophically wrong when on my estimation when you can beat the Tag-Team stage in under 1:30 get away with only 10 presses of the controller buttons, collect nearly 700 rings and still get an S rank after only two playthrough’s of the stage!
There are also some perspective problems with some objects, take a look at this part of the Avatar Green Hill.
At this section of the stage, below you is a bottomless pit, you have to use these platforms to get past it (unless you have a yellow wisp power). Due to the positioning of this platform, it lines up perfectly with that checkered wall. It looks like it’s a wall preventing you from progressing… but it’s not!
I saw other players get very confused here, even I made an error the first time I encountered this part of the stage. Some players tried to use the weapon to break through the wall, I saw others trying to jump left (blue arrow) to what looks like a ledge, others just stopped and were killed by the spiders foot because they had no idea that you can just walk right off the block, because it looks like a solid barrier when you actually sit down and play it.
The Nintendo Switch Version…
…Is absolutely atrocious in it’s current state.
The Switch version was so poor when critiqued both as a stand alone product and directly to the PS4 and Xbox One version I question why it has been let out into the public demo space in it’s current state.
It was not just the worst of performing Sonic title, out of all the Switch games I played at the entire convention, it was the worst performing game of the lot.
The loading times on the Switch version are long, much longer than all other counterparts, which is to be expected since it’s running off a cart and not a hard drive but still, the difference in time is not just the odd one or two seconds, we’re talking around 5-10 seconds of extra time waiting at loading screens in some cases.
Technically, the Switch version is ugly, both graphically and in terms of performance. Graphically, the low res textures are poor, the comments from E3 and Gamescom are not an exaggeration, it really does look like an early PS2 era game, it’s an ugly horse. Blurry low quality textures in a ruined city blur together in a brown bury mess add onto of that a blur filter when boosting, it’s hideous to look at.
Even when not using the boost, it’s hideous.
Frame rate is also a problem, whilst there is no way I can accurately measure it in a demo pod, it’s certainly no better than 30fps, I was also sure that I saw some drops during Sunset Heights.
This might explain one of the worst offenders in the Switch version, the controls are much poorer across all characters compared to their rival system counterparts.
Platforming becomes much harder, precision jumping is much harder and frustrating, even basic things like the homing attack become a problem. Remember how I mentioned that the homing attack seems to have altered slightly? Combine that with the lower performance of the Switch and homing attacks become an utter mess.
There was also some noticeable input lag during certain levels which becomes a nightmare for avoiding hazards and bottomless pits and chaining the homing attack.
Based on what I have played, there is absolutely nothing positive to say about the Switch version of Forces at all, it’s not fit for purpose in any respect.
There was no portable version available to play anywhere in the convention, Nintendo had a booth but I did not see Forces anywhere in it. They did however have Mania.
The Switch version also lacked the Tag Team stages, which adds more questions as to the Switch versions current quality and performance.
It’s extremely concerning to be nearly 2 months away from release and seeing the Switch version at a public demo in the state its currently in missing an entire level/gameplay mode and yet it’s currently at a much higher price point worldwide.
Based on the demo I played…
If you have already played any Sonic game since Sonic 06, you have already played this game, there is nothing new or interesting here, it’s the same old level design which if you can believe it feels even more tired than it previously did.
If this is your first Sonic game, it’s going to feel amazing and new because to you it is new.
It’s a highly automated game which results in dull automated and scripted gameplay, the player is limited in what they can do and is forced to proceed in one direction through automated moments and deliberate design choices.
I’ve been waiting since 2011 to play a new 3D Sonic game on a system that I own, I think I’m still waiting.
+ Music is pretty good.
+ PS4/Xbox One versions are technically fine.
+ Sonic’s animations when you S Rank a stage are really good.
+ Very accessible experience, no high difficulty/experience level required.
+ Low price point.
– Level Design is poor, feels recycled from previous games, stages are painfully short.
– Avatar gameplay lacks ambition & potential.
– Modern Sonic still suffers from decade old problems.
– Switch version is currently abysmal.
– The most automated/scripted Sonic game in years, makes the gameplay feel boring.
Fun Fact I Learnt: The Green Wolf Avatar is actually female. You can tell by the noise it makes when you perform the stomp move.
The team behind the ambitious Sonic 2 HD project have revealed a new trailer, sporting two new zones and a demo release.
The fan game, which was revived back in 2014, has seen sporadic updates via the development journal run by the team over the years – but there has been no playable version of the project since the alpha release in 2012.
The new trailer shows off the previously playable Emerald Hill Zone in action once more, alongside new additions Chemical Plant Zone and Hill Top Zone. The trailer ends promising fans a new playable build will be available September 30th for download. You can check it out in action below:
Will you be revisiting Sonic 2 in high definition later this month? Let us know your impressions below.
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.
Hope you’ve readied your wallets, folks. Sonic Forces is less than two months away from launch now, and there’s a lot about the game to get psyched about. The ability to live out your dream of having your own original character star in an official Sonic game, a notably much more ambitious and serious story compared to recent entries, a cool new villain, and now Shadow the Hedgehog returning as a playable character for the first time in over a decade, longtime fans of the series might have little reason to sit this game out.
That said, if you’re the type of gamer who prefers the convenience of owning a game digitally and playing it the moment it’s officially released, we bring good news! Preorders for the digital versions of Sonic Forces on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are going live today, with the PC version going live on Thursday, September 21.
(Unfortunately this does not apply to the Nintendo Switch iteration, as the console’s eShop is not currently enabling early purchases and preloads.)
Those who purchase the game early digitally will automatically receive the previously announced SEGA/Atlus costume pack Add-on, and the Shadow Costume, for the Custom Hero character. All owners of the game regardless of medium will also be receiving the newly revealed Episode Shadow Add-on as well.
Sonic Forces launches on November 7 for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.