Sonic Forces preview: hands-on at Gamescom 2017
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Announced as Project Sonic 2017 at San Diego Comic Con back in 2016, Sonic Forces is headed to PC and console later this year. It offers something a little different to previous titles in the Sonic series with the introduction of custom heroes and a new tag-team game mode that allows you to control two heroes at the same time.
But is Sonic Forces one of the best upcoming games, or is it a flop? We spent some time playing Sonic Forces at Gamescom 2017, and here’s what we saw.
Sonic Forces UK release date and pre-orders
Sonic Forces is due to be released on in Q4 2017, and will be released on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Those looking to pre-order the game can do so from the likes of GAME for £44.99 and Amazon for the cheaper price of £30 at the time of writing.
Sonic Forces preview
Sonic Forces is the latest in the Sonic series, following the release of Sonic Mania earlier this year. But while Sonic Mania was focused on old-school Sonic gameplay, the upcoming Sonic Forces offers a blend of new and old to present something never seen before.
During our preview at Gamescom 2017, we were presented with four different game modes in Sonic Forces; Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, Hero Character and a new mode revealed at Gamescom 2017 called Tag Team. We’ll break them down below, and discuss a little more about what makes each type of game enjoyable.
Modern Sonic is what you’ll have seen in many of the Sonic Forces gameplay videos released up until now. It’s Sonic in 3D, blending action with classic fast-paced Sonic gameplay.
It’s great because it’s easy to see what’s coming up, and how you can avoid/attack/get past the obstacle while still providing face paced, chaotic and thoroughly enjoyable gameplay. It’s a welcome feature for those of us that struggle when playing classic side-scrolling Sonic games.
It also means that the levels themselves are much more detailed, from gorgeous sunsets to mountain vistas, it brings something a little different to the Sonic experience.
It’s not just 3D though – you’ll find that for certain parts of the level, the view will switch to the classic side-scroller, paying homage to Classic Sonic.
Classic Sonic is exactly what it says on the tin – it’s the side-scroller version of Sonic that’s popular with many fans of the series.
However it’s not the same as it was in the 90s – it has had quite the face-lift, and features 3D elements. While the layout of the levels are similar to the original Sonic games, there has been a visual overhaul that makes the levels look a little more life-like.
It’s not one specific thing that makes Classic Sonic levels look great, it’s more of a combination of small things: blades of grass blowing in the wind, more detailed backdrops, etc.
And, like with the classic game, there are a bunch of boss fights that take place.
It’s when your custom hero comes into play that things get a little more interesting. First up, you’ll have a choice of seven animals to choose from (Hedgehog, Dog, Wolf, Bird, Rabbit, Bear or Cat). From there, you can customise the look of your character, and give it a ‘wispon’.
Wispons are essentially weapons that your custom character can use in Sonic Forces. There are different wispons available, from flame throwers to hammers and so on.
But while you can use your default attack indefinitely throughout each level, you’ll have to find specific ‘wisps’ that correspond to the colour of your wispon to power up a your special move.
It brings a new dynamic to the game, as you now have different ways to take out enemies and traverse each level.
As mentioned above, Tag Team is a new game mode featured in Sonic Forces that was announced at Gamescom 2017. Tag Team is essentially what it says on the tin – Sonic and your hero character join up to take on particularly challenging levels together.
The interesting part? You control both characters at the same time, swapping between each character based on the skills necessary (don’t worry, the swap is automatic!).
As with the Hero Character mode, controlling two heroes at the same time brings something new to the game, and comes with its own challenges like the difference in jump distances between characters – we were stuck at one part of the game when our hero character couldn’t quite make the jump that Sonic could without a sufficient pace.
It can be a little frustrating at times, but it may be something that’s tweaked before the game comes out later this year.
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