Sonic Forces, like the bevy of other modern Sonic games, traps itself between legacy and newness. The idea is taken to its logical extreme, patterned from Sonic Generations – new, leaner Sonic fights Dr. Eggman alongside the pudgier classic Sonic.
It’s a story of resistance, an easy narrative seedling in 2017. The frequency alone of these stories enough to elicit some curiosity, even if the reason is obvious. Not that any of this truly matters to Sonic Forces. This script never reaches beyond Saturday morning cliches, if with a handful of successful gags.
What Sonic Forces gets right is the pop sizzle of the series. Grungy rock or MIDI-like tunes accompany a dazzling color light show. All of this bleeds by. Speed is still what Sonic does right, even in the more boneheaded incarnations. When it works, Sonic Forces takes control away, just letting the wonky animal characters (one created by players) sprint or twist or flip or glide across implausible landscapes. Slowing down, Sonic Forces is just too awkward to consider. Ailing movement and imprecision pay homage to classic Sonic, now with the added irritation of 3D spaces.
Classic Sonic though, most of that works in Sonic Forces. Even the somewhat spontaneous level design still chokes, the hedgehog’s determination combined with the speed bursts elicits a specific joy. Only Sonic does this right. That’s probably nostalgia, and a little smile that gameplay like this still works. It’s almost worth dealing with the incongruities to reach those retro-spawned missions. Some of the Sonic joy remains.