Sonic Forces is coming! We knew that 2017 was supposed to be a return to form for Sonic the Hedgehog. We have the return to the Genesis days in Sonic Mania, and I personally cannot wait for this game! No matter what Sonic has been since the Genesis days or what he can become (hopefully all for the best) he’ll always mean the most to me in a 2D sense. That is the game series that caused me to first fall in love with video games and make them much more than a simple hobby. Sonic the Hedgehog started up my home console loves with Sonic 2 on the Genesis and Sonic 2 on the Game Gear, with the Game Gear being my first foray in portable gaming. So I’m biased towards Mania in a huge way; but I do also love the 3D Sonic games, not all of them but a lot of them. Sonic Forces For example, I love: Sonic Adventure 1 and 2, Sonic Generations, Sonic Colors, Sonic Lost World, and Sonic Heroes. I do enjoy Sonic and the Black Knight too. We’ve seen some bad 3D Sonic games, such as Sonic 06 and Sonic Boom, Shadow the Hedgehog, etc. Those are well documented as far as being bad Sonic games that all but derailed the Hedgehog out of the gaming spotlight. But there has been some good with Sonic in the 3D world. Unlike his one time rival Mario he has had a lot more issues in that area, 3D that is, but he’s getting better I think. Or at least has the potential to get better with what’s coming in the near future for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch: Sonic Forces! It’s a game that very much lives in the spirit of Sonic Colors and Generations and those are incredible games so this is something to be excited about for sure. For as much as Sega has goofed things up in the 3D games with their mascot the Generations, Colors and Unleashed (daytime levels) games they’ve given us certainly are very enjoyable and are a good “norm” for Sonic in 3D. Sure, you want things to be different, such as new attacks, new gameplay modes, new gimmicks in general to make the game stand out and be different from the past. At the same time, however, you want the game to give you a sense of familiarity. Sure, you want the story and other things to change up, but isn’t it nice to grab the controller and feel like you’re at home, and that it’s instantly familiar? Sega is going for that feel with Mania; although it has new gimmicks and new abilities it’ll feel just like stepping back into the 90s and picking up a Genesis controller. Mario almost always feels the same in all his games, no matter how different they may be, they feel similar. Sega is doing the same thing with Sonic in Forces, which I think is a great thing. And it has that link to some of the best Sonic 3D games of all time, that’s certainly not going to hurt this game by any stretch of the imagination. I think this is a necessary step for Sega. Just look at Sonic Lost World (Wii U) for a good example as to why familiarity is a good thing for Sonic. Sonic Mania That game gave you differences in how Sonic played. He didn’t run with simply a push of the analog stick in the direction you wanted to go in. You had to hold an additional button if you wanted to have Sonic running constantly. Plus another button too to perform a spin dash, and the mechanics for wall runs and such took a lot of getting used to. The game is a lot of fun, has some beautiful levels, a great ost, and more but a lot of people didn’t like that the feel of the game was really off. They didn’t like that they had played Sonic for years and years and yet were thrown off by the controls. It really did hurt the game. Sega seems to have learned their lesson: what’s familiar will sell, period. Mania is familiar to the past of the Hedgehog, the good old days, and the Forces gameplay takes us back to the gems of Colors and Generations (and Unleashed daytime levels) and that’s a great thing. Apparently this is a game, too, that has Dr. Robotnick (I don’t care, that’s who he is to me) having already won for once. He has taken over the planet and Sonic and Sonic and the others have to team up to get things back. That alone is cool, rarely do we get to see Robotnick actually be successful in his plans, and I love the idea that story wise this takes a totally different step from the Sonic games this one is trying to be like. See? We get the familiar feel and yet something entirely new all at the same time. THIS is what we needed in a 3D Sonic, Sega! Now the question must be answered: will it be good? Well, we won’t know until we get to play it later in the year, but Sega seems to be serious about getting things back to a good level like the past, so let’s be optimistic folks!