Sonic’s latest speed-fuelled romp is the darkest yet
PublisheR Sega Developer Sonic team Format Xbox One ETA 2017
Before diving into a demo of what Sega social media manager Aaron Webber cryptically calls “project 2017”, he prepares us for what we’re about to see. “It takes a lot of inspiration from Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations, but also adds a new layer of darkness.”
Upon firing up the hands-off preview of the all-new adventure, we soon discover that Webber’s not kidding on the latter part. As the former Sega mascot races down a city street, he passes bombed-out buildings, fiery explosions, and a menacing, tentacle-armed robot that fills nearly a third of the screen.
While many of the franchise’s familiar elements, from shiny collectible gold rings to the heroic hedgehog’s incredible sense of speed, are accounted for, the setting is more post-apocalyptic than funloving platformer. Webber’s hesitant to share plot details, but it seems Sonic is running through a enemy-infested metropolis that’s being bombarded by city-levelling meteors.
Thankfully, Sonic has more than
“Sonic runs past bombed buildings, explosions and a tentacled robot”
lightning-quick speed on his side. Borrowing a popular element from the aforementioned Generations, he’s able to jump, boost and hurdle into enemy targets without missing a beat. Refuelled by “Wisps”, the vibrant little creatures from Colors, the power runs off a refillable meter. Unleashing this ability not only dismantles the bad guys, but leaves an impressive shower of twisted metal in Sonic’s wake.
Peppy and pretty
This eye-pleasing effect is just one Webber credits to a brand-new engine developed by Sonic Team Japan. During the brief run we spot slick water and smoke effects, enhanced reflections and plenty of dynamic destruction. We also spy, albeit in the blink of an eye, enemies that appear to be evolutions of classic franchise foes, Buzz Bombers and Moto Bugs.
On top of racing through the city at a lightning-quick clip, Sonic seamlessly uses a zipline, navigates a side-scrolling section and crashes through a gate for a nice jolt of speed-boosting juice. We don’t see it during our demo, but the game will also include what Webber calls “classic Sonic levels” – areas with a focus on platforming.
Story details are as elusive as the game’s spiky-haired hero, but Webber promises us that classic and modern levels will support and complement each other in a single cohesive narrative. We look forward to finding out why Sonic’s tearing up the blacktop in a doomed city. More than that, though, we can’t wait to grab the gamepad and satisfy our need for speed when this mysterious title screeches onto Xbox One.
Above Built with a brand-new engine, Sonic
Forces is the series’ prettiest entry to date.
Forces mixes a darker tone with fan-pleasing elements.