20 Reviews liked by FleeFleet

I'll say bluntly that this will not be an unbiased review. If this were unbiased, I'd be rating this game more around a 7 or so, but screw it.
I've read every single Sonic comic book. I've consumed most Sonic medias. I can say without a doubt this game is some of the strongest Sonic's ever been written with. From the amazing character interactions, the really cool world building, and cranking the shonen inspirations Sonic's always had into full force had me the most joyous I've been at the series in so long. There is no bad line, no bad scene, nothing at all where I am dissatisfied with the story besides clamoring for more. This is also raw, unfiltered fanservice to continuity buffs like me. Referencing Shadow the Hedgehog and Riders casually, directly addressing the issues with Tails' characterization since Unleashed, and directly canonizing characters like Tangle and Sticks who are outside continuity characters made me lose my MIND.
Helps the game's really fun too. Combat's about as ideal as I'd like a Sonic game to be: High speed, but not too complex. There's obviously broken moves like the Sonic Boom and its upgrade but these moves are fun precisely because it isn't balanced. You're Sonic the Hedgehog, the only thing stopping you are the Titans. The Titan fights are so amazing I can't even begin to start gushing about them. This is what I've been clamoring for with Sonic boss fights for ages because even the best ones in the series are just fine. These though? Awesome.
Movement is really weird to get used to at first but the ability to freely customize your controls and how they handle does a lot (except the unfortunate systems cursed to have the game crash when attempting to use the options menu). There are some weird quirks though like homing attack being only able to be on visible things which makes trying to hit some stuff awkward, Boost around Lv. 20 Speed flinging you into the air if you so much as brush against a rock which makes Cylooping a walking only ordeal, Boost no longer being invincible which makes my muscle memory scream, and most bizarrely the sheer lack of air control outside of the air boost which gets not very precise at higher levels.
The problems in this game are all really weird little quirks. The previously mentioned control quirks, the fact the game slowly becomes more 2D dominant the more you go in with the game trapping you in fixed 2D camera angle spaces if you so much as land on the wrong place, the pinball minigame being too long and feeling too heavy, the level design in Cyberspace sometimes being at odds with the control scheme, the entire 4th island basically being false advertising, and more minor inconveniences that either had me tilting my head or chuckling at how they decided that was a good idea to keep in the game. Depending on the person, they're either negligible or can really pile up so your mileage may vary. My annoyances were mostly paved with being a ginormous fan of the writing and presentation, but I am only one guy.
I'm really eager to see if they decide to keep perfecting this formula and I eagerly hope they make a Frontiers 2 to iron out all the kinks found in this game. More specifically, I am so excited to see Ian Flynn take the reigns for story and see what he does with this series in the games themselves. You could make the perfect Sonic game if you improve on the formulas lain out here with level design catered for the controls and cutting all the weird stuff out of the game. If they don't learn from this game at all, I'm going to drown everyone who worked on this game in my tears.

You know, as much as I hate Super Smash Bros now, I have to admit that it introduced me to some baller franchises. One of many being, you guessed it, Fire Emblem. I’ve spent literal years trying to get in this series but it just never worked out. I either didn’t have the hardware for the games I was interested in the most (FE7) or didn’t have the budget to afford ones for the systems I owned (Path of Radiance, Awakening, etc.). Then, when I eventually was led to the floodgates to the world of emulation, I finally gave the series a shot with Fire Emblem 7. Then I dropped it for some unknown reason. Then a year later, I was randomly enticed in trying this series again so I booted up Sacred Stones, and it all escalated from there.
And you know what? It basically lived up to my expectations. The strategic risk vs reward gameplay style, the dynamic cast of characters, and the simply AWESOME battle animations all culminated in a really fun experience for me. It’s truly a series that deserves it’s iconic place in Nintendo’s vast catalog of titles. Now I can’t compare this game to the other entries because, well, it’s the only one I’ve finished, but I had a good time with everything the game offered.
The story isn’t like peak fiction or anything, but I liked the protagonist duo Eirika and Ephriam a lot, and the villain is really cool because they act differently depending on what route you take, but it’s in a logical sense that fits together in the end. Whenever you save a little town, protect a falling kingdom, or have more heroes join your cause, you really feel that satisfaction of putting the world back together. When one of your units dies because of a miscalculation you made, you really feel bad for your mistake and want to try better next reset. The series in general seems to be great at giving the sense of camaraderie with the player and their units, so it makes me excited to try the other entries that do this even better.
I am… very bad at this genre. This is the first tactical JRPG I’ve ever finished, and it was an absolute struggle for me at some points. Sure, many of those problems are just a literal skill issue, but I mean come on, some of the later maps just CTRL+V enemies all over the place lmao. That being said, it gave me a big feeling of relief when I finally got through each chapter, slowly but surely beefing up my units and putting my brain to the test. I do think some level up methods are rather obtuse (healers in particular take absolutely forever to promote because they gain barely anything from casting spells), but I’d say the level up curve is mostly fair, especially considering how many broken units you can get in this game, Seth being the one who carried literally every chapter I was in, it was kind of ridiculous.
But anyway, that is all I really have to say about The Sacred Stones. It’s a neat game from a neat series I’ve had interest in for so long, and it was worth the wait. Very much looking forward to titles such as Path of Radiance and Shadows of Valentia. Also please block me immediately if I somehow start playing Fire Emblem Heroes.

Upon this playthrough of Sonic Adventure, I had debated with myself for a long while of what rating I wanted to give this game. I knew generally how I felt about it but I feel like I would have difficulty putting it into words or giving it a score. Let's go through each of the character's stories and break everything down from there.
Sonic - Obviously, the best story and gameplay in the game. Being Sonic's first 3D outing, I personally believe they nailed the control here. Every movement Sonic makes feels fluid and precise. It's such a blast to master Sonic's control and abilities (Spin Dash jumps change EVERYTHING). And due to the open endedness of a lot of the level design, going back to previous levels and trying out new tricks is always a treat. It also helps that Sonic has the longest story in the game, as he should.
Tails - Another good story, albeit it feels a little repetitive seeing as Tails is tagged along with Sonic a majority of the time. (Was it really necessary to fight Chaos 4 3 different times in this game?) Tails focuses on beating another character to the goal, and many air boosters are added to the level to assist the player with that.
Knuckles - Instead of traditional point A to point B gameplay, Knuckles opts for a new treasure hunting mode, which I think works well enough here. It makes sense considering the circumstances surrounding Knuckles' story.
Amy - I found it difficult to pinpoint how I feel about Amy's story, but in the end I didn't think it was anything too offputting. The goal with Amy is to get to the end of the level while avoiding Zero. I never found it to be too much of a hassle, albeit her story is on the shorter end of things, Amy only having access to 3 levels if I recall correctly.
Big - What in god's name were they thinking? Every second I spent playing Big's story I wanted to turn the game off more and more as time went on. If I wanted to play fishing I would play Sega Bass Pro Fishing which released on the same fucking console. This entire story is a waste of everyone's time. You could remove Big entirely and almost nothing would change. What a joke.
Gamma - Thankfully, coming off of Big's story I was given a story that I constantly found very intriguing. Gamma's story is an example of peak Sonic storytelling. Gamma is the first example of shooting gameplay in a Sonic game, however I feel it fits just okay here considering he's a robot built by Eggman. They managed to create a compelling story with a at the time unique concept while having a pretty fun gameplay style to boot, making Gamma's story one of my favorites.
Super Sonic - The plot all culminates into this final part in an ending that I found to be pretty heartwarming regarding Chaos and Tikal, with a spectacular final boss to end things off.
As I was playing through Sonic Adventure, there were a few things that really rubbed me the wrong way. For starters, how about those cutscenes? I know this is from 1998 and whatnot but I can think of other example of games thay released before this one that didn't have cutscenes that played out this badly. There's also a hefty amount of jank in this game, and it's unfortunately very noticeable. There were several moments in my playthrough that I felt were just plain unfair due to the game's jank. That infamous loop section near the beginning of Emerald Coast for example, that pushes you out of the walls if you don't let the script take over. Stuff like that's just not okay. Despite this, I eventually got used to some of the jank, and deaths caused by glitches ended up being few and far between. I still had a fair amount of fun with Sonic Adventure. Let me be the first to say that Sonic's transition to 3D actually wasn't that bad.



My TL;DR review: Eliza reveals raw humanity and all its multitudinous dimensions with piercing relatability and the best voice acting performances of 2019.
My TL review:
Eliza is a visual novel about an AI that does counseling and the people who've had a hand in creating and developing it. Yes, it's named after the chatbot from the 60s. It's much more advanced though. This game's Eliza can measure its clients' biometrics and process their speech, using this information to respond properly all in real-time and give recommendations at the end of a session.
What makes this therapy service unique and successful is the presence of a "proxy", the human element. A real person sits in front of a client. They wear a pair of AR glasses that shows the script Eliza provides based on its understanding of the situation, which the "proxy" has to recite verbatim to the client.
You play as Evelyn. She is a software engineer who has come back to her former employer after a self-imposed 3-year exile, not to return to her previous role as part of the team that created Eliza, but as a proxy. Throughout the 5-6 hour game, she hosts counseling sessions with a handful of clients. In between the sessions, she meets with and talks with the other people connected to Eliza, each one having particular perspectives on the service.
Every single one of these characters is written and voice-acted superbly. They actually all sound like humans! The voices are so good that they breathe life into the static portraits, and these already look great with their painterly look. From their inflections to their pauses, each voice actor brings so much personality with their performance. And because the characters they play are written like real people, there is never a point where the voice actors sound like they're "acting" when they're delivering highly emotional lines or deep, cutting dialogue.
In fact, the writing and performances are so good that I didn't mind at all how mechanically sparse the game is, even for a visual novel. It's a linear story where most of your choices don't affect where it goes, only nudging Evelyn toward expressing herself in a direction that is still within the confines of her largely defined identity. You only get to decide to alter the course of the story near the end after you've taken in all the smaller stories of each character you meet, which makes the process all the more empowering and impactful, and that, too, feels true to Evelyn's own character.
Everything about Evelyn (my favorite 90s romcom) is done so well, too! Aily Kei's understated depiction of a woman in her mid-30s that's been burned out by working in the tech industry drew me in close. Evelyn is thoughtful in every sense of the word; she's smart, she's observant, she's thoughtful, and gets into her own head a lot. It can be tiring inhabiting a mind like hers, one that's grappling with mental health issues internally and externally. Thankfully, her inner voice speaks plainly and honestly, never once veering into self-absorbed pretentiousness. It doesn't demand attention. Its vulnerable sincerity simply moved me to listen.
Everyone else has a distinct sense of self, each one motivated to act with their own purpose. There are some archetypes, but they're either given quirks to round them out or played with a natural conviction that I bought in. The supporting cast does a good job of representing the major roles you'd expect from a story told within the tech industry; from the calculating, delusional executives to the disaffected, privileged talents to the workers who are well aware of their place in the system but do their jobs to the best of their abilities in the belief that they can do something for society. They're all imbued with a little wrinkle of humanity that made me feel for each one, even if that feeling was just of strong disagreement for a couple characters.
Even the clients that Evelyn only interacts with during the brief counseling sessions reflect the multiple manifestations of modern alienation with authenticity. How they open up about (or talk around) their problems is disarming. It was easy to connect with their concerns and doubts, no matter how unfamiliar in their specificity some of those problems were.
And with the Eliza-proxy interface lies the game's central tension. Whatever the client says or the turns the session takes, a proxy should not deviate from the prepared responses Eliza gives them. Eliza is not a replacement for an actual medical diagnosis or psychiatric treatment, so says the Terms of Service. As much as Evelyn wants to reach out and directly help the clients, she has to stick to the script or the service won't work as intended. Complying draws a line of professionalism that allows the proxy to hear out their clients' issues and infer insights at a safe remove. The game explores this distance to disturbing effect.
I was immediately unsettled by the interface with the first client, but as the game went on, I fell into a rhythm just going along with what Eliza told me to say. There is comfort in following the convenience of the algorithm. Plus, it got me to recognize the simple techniques of psychotherapy, asking questions that reframe a person's view of a troubling situation, so that was neat.
And yet there was always this unease at the idea of taking myself wholly out of the equation, where a person is sitting right across me and sharing their thoughts and feelings that they dare not tell others, not even their loved ones, baring their specific and all-too-real pains, only to be given the same robotic spiel Eliza gives everyone at the end of a session. Everybody working a job that directly deals with other humans has to draw their own lines and stay out of other people's lives just so they can keep living their own without losing their sanity. Everybody's got their own shit to deal with.
Evelyn echoes my conflicted mindset.
Eliza, the game, tackles these big themes where big tech intersects with mental health. It balances philosophical quandaries brought on by technological progress encroaching human lives by touching on the deeply personal and very real, material ways today's society affects how people relate to one another. It does so with an understated boldness, avoiding the pitfalls of preachiness without excusing the negative consequences of the tech sector's blind obsession with innovation.
It's funny actually that the game crashed on me midway through. Trying to run it again loaded a crash report page that told me to restart and update my drivers to fix the problem. I did just that, but the crash report page kept showing up after multiple restarts. I even uninstalled and downloaded the whole game multiple times to no avail. I thought I had to start over, which was super frustrating because I was deep into the third chapter and was really enjoying myself.
So I followed the last resort instruction from that crash report page to email Mr. Zachtronics, Zach Barth, himself. Because of my rather peeved state of mind, the messages detailing my problems had... a bit of attitude. I didn't cuss or say insults because I'm not a total asshole, but I was "playfully" upset.
Thankfully, he responded not long after with a fix that let me continue where I left off with no problem. I apologized for my tone in the previous message and made a point to say how much I liked the game. He didn't mind and told me to have fun.
I think I'll be checking out the studio's other offerings. I'm sure they'll be just as emotionally affecting and thought-provoking as Eliza!

I enjoyed this surprisingly more than I expected to, although that's not to say it doesn't come with its faults. I could go on and on about the things that irk me in this game. The disappearing block puzzles, the slipperyness, knockback in just the most frustrating of areas. But to be honest, being the first game of a franchise, and being an 80s NES game, I expected much much worse. I enjoyed Mega Man but it's not anything I would call revolutionary or a must play.

I've completed this game twice now (once on PC and another time on Series X backwards compatibility). First and foremost, it's easy to point out of course but Jet Set Radio absolutely OOZES style and personality. The character designs, the art style and visuals, the gameplay (to an extent), and ESPECIALLY the music. Mr Funky Man himself Hideki Naganuma convinced me full stop that he cannot put out a piece of bad music if he tried, pretty much every track in this game is a bop, but you likely already knew that already.
The more I think about it, it's hard to nail down what type of game JSR is. I guess it can be considered a platformer since you do a lot of platforming throughout the game, but it isn't entirely the main objective of what you do. You run around these dense boxed in arenas looking for areas to spray paint with quick time events, avoid police as they chase after reckless juvenile delinquents with guns helicopters and...tanks sweet mercy. You do this all within a time limit and are graded at the end of a stage. This format is very odd and unique but I think it works out well, it also helps that there's a map showcasing where certain graffiti tags you still have left. The police/military forces amp up the more graffiti you place down, meaning it's possible to try and strategize what areas you need to prioritize graffiti as to not run into the tougher enemies more frequently later on.
The movement overall though has me mixed. There are points where everything flows together well enough, you get a ton of speed off rails and wall riding, and when it clicks it clicks rather well. That said, when it DOESN'T (which can be frequent), then it's beyond frustrating. You have almost zero air control, turning is a struggle, trying to gain speed without walls or rails around is like pulling teeth, falling off of higher areas is very easy to do and getting back up to higher areas can often be a chore, and to make matters worse some stages just plain suck. Grind Square in general is just badly designed, confusingly laid out, not clear on how you're able to reach certain areas and if you fall off (which is very likely to happen), back to the elevator of shame you go.
There are a couple of extra gameplay styles to partake in aside from the main stages. There are gang fights, where you need to tag each of the 3 gang members 10 times to win, and this mode is genuinely abysmal. Tagging them is so finnicky in execution, sometimes it just doesn't work, and other times you tag them like 7 times in less than a second (and it can often be disorienting since the spray trigger is also mapped to the "reorient camera" trigger), but to top it off, the gang members are the exact same speed as you, meaning you can't outpace them and basically need to follow them to a point where they'll eventually stop and hope to spray them, but even THEN if you get too close to them they can actually damage you for...whatever reason, it's just a frustrating mess. There are also races against rivals to recruit them into your squad, and while on paper this doesn't sound too bad, the course itself is not really clear on where you need to go to win, nor is there a map to tell you where you need to go, so it all ends up being trial and error until you figure out the exact path to travel to.
The story though is so incredibly bizarre that I'm not really able to describe it in full. So there's this big government agency that hates the graffiti spraying punks for spraying graffiti, and when you battle other gang members they drop a piece of this record that when played can summon demons...or something? And then there's a flashback where one friend of a couple of gang members gets kidnapped (and we never hear from him again), and when the main big bad tries to play the record it turns out it was all a hoax and he was just mad with power...I think? To be honest stuff just sort of happened and I was just there to witness it happen
I was overall less frustrated and better equipped to tackle JSR again on my second playthrough, but I also think playing through it a second time made the fun parts a little less fun as a result. It's fine, super weird, but not really my thing.

This review contains spoilers

That title screen is a fucking lie.
Let me put this straight: the ending left me speechless. I knew what would happen but that didn't stop the gut-wrenching tidal wave of emotions from striking me right on in the face when Huepow said it was time for Klonoa to go 'back to his Phantomile'. Up until this point in the game you had to clue why the subtitle was named that way but at that very moment, the subtle themes and messages carefully hidden within the story blasts their way into your mind.
It all makes sense, really. Klonoa: Door to Phantomile is a game where the protagonist goes on a whimsical, dream-esque odyssey en route to where he truly belongs: his own reality. It speaks a message of how it's okay to encounter nightmares, as long as you have friends to support you through those rough times.
Ultimately, you can't live in a dream forever, and that's one hell of a reality check. Klonoa's unwillingness to return to his reality and saying goodbye to all the memories, memories he thought were real was heartbreaking; as was Huepow's reluctance and refusal to let the friend he's grown to genuinely care for leave his side forever. Adding onto the bittersweet, yet enchanting Song of Rebirth playing in the background, and suddenly you feel like Klonoa feels, too: this isn't how you want things to end. You want that happy ending so badly, but ultimately when everything is done, we have to move on, back to the regularity of reality. Sort of like... waking up from a nice dream.
In the end, however, what matters is the happiness and fondness for those dreams you once had, and how you cherish them.
Edit: turns out you could double jump without momentum. this game is officially near perfect. 9.5/10.

Thank you to FleeFleet for introducing me to this game!
Damn, I love this game. Um Jammer Lammy pretty much fixes my major issue with Parappa the Rapper, while still being a great game in it's own right. I finished this one in about two days, and I genuinely had a good time for most of the run time. Here's my notes:
This game is completely bonkers. Alot of people have told me that this game's plot is like a trippy fever dream which I assumed was an exaggeration, but nope, this game is NUTS. I'm watching these ludicrous cutscenes wondering what the hell I'm even viewing and I love it. Somehow all the events in this game take place in like 15 minutes which makes zero sense but I think that's the point. Don't ask questions and just enjoy the madness being shown before you.
Also, I really like Lammy as a character herself. She has major social anxiety AND is left handed (just like me fr!), and is generally just a charming protagonist especially for the time. I think I slightly prefer her over Parappa, but both are undeniably great.
Going back to the presentation, this game absolutely digs into that trippy aesthetic, especially with stages 3 and 6. The series art style really feels correct for this game's insanity. The music is also pretty good too! I think I overall prefer Parappa 1's iconic track selection, but there are some BOPPIN tracks here 100%. I like that stage 1 is a spin on Master Onion's rap from the first game, and how it actually predicts all the events that will happen in the game, for example. I didn't find the lyrics as memorable this time, but I'm pretty sure it's because I'm playing a guitar rather than repeating what my "teacher" sings first. Regardless, the lyrics are still as cheesy as ever.
GUYS THE GAMEPLAY IS GOOD HERE. After Parappa 1's ball crushingly strict note timing, Lammy is MUCH more lenient on the input window here, making the game feel more balanced then last time. Believe me, I still struggled, especially on stages 4 and 6, but most of the time I felt my failures were my fault. Another change is that now you can earn cool mode without having to beat the game first. I actually pulled this off in the entire latter half of stage 7 and it was the greatest feeling in the world, I was so happy. It was such a fantastic way to wrap up this journey. This game ALSO has plenty of extra content, with a mode to face off of Lammy's doppelganger Rammy, as well as an ENTIRE campaign to play through stages 2-7 as Parappa himself, with new lyrics and note charting making it a fresh experience.
In short, I adore this game. It's definitely very hard for me still, so I won't revisit it very often presumably, but I'm glad I pulled through this charming PlayStation classic. I definitely recommend playing this one if you liked Parappa 1, or if you couldnt get behind Parappa 1's difficulty and want something more fair on the player. Now I sure hope that I actually wrote this review and that it wasnt just all in my mind.

Kick, Punch, it's all in the Mind!
Parappa the Rapper is one of those games I SO STRONGLY want to love in it's entirety, but just can't because the gameplay doesn't click with me. It's one of the most charming and influential games of the PlayStation 1 era (and for good reason too!), and it's impact on video game culture is undeniably profound. This review is just a couple things I wanted to comment on about this game.
God, this game is so charming. The paper-esque art style takes advantage of the PS1 hardware, and to this day really holds up. The UI is simple but appealing, and it gets the point across. Of course, with this being a rhythm game, the music is BOPPING. The actual lyrics are, well, pretty bad, but I'm 90% sure that was the point, it's meant to be cheesy! However, the actual instrumental tracks themselves unironically beat pretty hard, I especially love the Stage 5 instrumental.
Now for my main point of contention with this game, the gameplay itself. Now Parappa is deceivingly easy from footage you may see, but play it yourself and you'll know what I'm talking about. The timing is just EXTREMELY strict, and I swear I've tried multiple different timings and they would never consistently work. There were times where I'd do EVERY note correctly, but I'd lose points, but even WEIRDER is there are times I'd miss like half the notes and EARN points. Is it something to do with how the "freestyle" mechanic is coded...? I don't understand how the game wants me to play it.
I loved the presentation and stuff so much so I TRIED to play all the way through, but after a bunch of failed attempts on stage 5, I just had to put it down, I was so frustrated. I was SO CLOSE, but I felt my head would explode if I played any more. Maybe it's just a skill issue on my behalf, I don't know, but regardless I'm done. Hopefully someday I can finish this game in full, but I have no idea if that will ever come. In short, I love the world, music, characters, and aesthetic of Parappa the Rapper, but I cannot get behind the very punishing and janky rhythm game mechanics. Give it a shot yourself, though, maybe you'll see something I didn't.
UPDATE: I played the PSP version quickly after my completion of Um Jammer Lammy, and SOMEHOW finished the entire thing in a single sitting, and beat my ever so hated stage 5 on my fourth attempt. My feelings here are exactly the same, but I'm glad I finally pulled through. I guess all I had to do was believe.

This fucking game, huh.
I'll admit to being guilty of hating on this game purely on its story alone for being the most dogwater fucking Sonic story to ever exist, but I knew that if I wanted to have a better picture of the overall game, I would have to play it.
Well, I did. I beat the game in less than 3 hours. And it fucking sucks. Here's why:
1) The story, while being an absolute hot mess, could be massively improved with one change: all they had to do was give Tails the Avatar role. Not only does it fix the common modern interpretation of Tails as the 'weak, cowardly and whiny tech guy sidekick' (thank fuck for Sonic 2), but it can also serve as a 'reboot' of sorts to Tails' character. Look at some of Sonic's lines to the avatar in the game:
'Hey, don't be scared! This is your moment to shine!'
'Keep going. Don't let your fear own you!'
These lines could've been a really great chance for Sonic to show genuine care towards his bestie, but more importantly for Tails to regain his old confidence and believe in himself, while also serving as a way to show Sonic and Tails' brotherly bond being strengthened following their near fragmentation in Lost World (which also had a shitty story mind you). Not only that, but the emotional depth of the story would be heavier. Perhaps Infinite regards Tails as 'weak' much like himself in Episode Shadow, and constantly belittles him throughout the story, but Tails ultimately stands up for himself and through regaining his courage and heroism, lead the charge that brings about the Resistance's victory.
Sideshow - Double Boost
Double Boost is quite literally the worst gimmick in the game, both from a game design standpoint and a story standpoint. You can't tell me that Sonic can't double boost with any of his other friends, some of whom have proven to be significantly faster and more stronger than some random kid off the street, and have WORKED TOGETHER to save the world on various occasions; but CAN do it with your random character who literally only met Sonic for the first time and has no standout characteristics other than broken ass Wispon powers. It just feels so bullshit and unearned, and quite frankly as soon as you trigger a double boost you basically get a 15 second cutscene in levels that only last for 3 minutes at most to begin with. It's Sonic Team being lazy here, trying to pad out the level duration with nothing threatening. More on the level design later.
But, if it were Tails in Avatar's spot, this would make a lot more sense. Sonic and Tails have basically been inseparable over the past games, their bond and teamwork would obviously have to be stronger than anyone else with Sonic. PLUS, Tails has shown that he IS more than capable of keeping up with Sonic as well as being a threat of his own. So why not let him use Wispon tech? If you're gonna make Tails the tech guy, make him the strong, brave tech guy, Sonic's partner-in-crime. Don't make him hide behind a block when Sonic is getting yeeted into Null Space, have him try to save his best friend! Heroes Tails did it, so why can't Forces Tails? Oh wait, I know why: Pontaff.
2) If Tails grew balls like what I mentioned in the first bullet-point, then he wouldn't be cowering in fear of fucking Chaos 1 and a bunch of Egg Pawns. No longer is Classic Sonic needed to be part of the plot, with his only necessary appearance rendered irrelevant. It's not like I enjoyed his gameplay anyways, all the stages feel weak and unnecessary (cough casino cough green hill cough cough that bullshit final classic sonic level cough cough) Sonic's jump physics are wonky as fuck. Never knew Sonic could have this much drift on a forward jump. Have his stages removed in favour of retooling them into 3D stages for Sonic or Tails, heck, remove them completely and instead focus on giving the actual existing levels more depth and versatile design! Speaking of...
3) I won't beat the dead horse that is the overall level design of this game. It's just disappointing. What I will do, however, is criticize the overabudance presence of HUGE ROWS OF ONE HIT BADNIKS INTENTIONALLY DESIGNED FOR YOUR CHARACTER TO TAKE OUT FOR MASSIVE POINTS WITH THEIR BROKEN ABILITY BUTTON (Boost/Wispon/Spin Dash)! BECAUSE KIDS LOVE HIGH SCORES! You can literally get over a million points for a 3 minute level in this game, while a 9 minute level in Heroes, for example, scores you around 50~60k points at max.
4) For a 'Hard' mode, they sure made it real easy. If 2008 Unleashed kids and 2011 Generations/Colors kids could be taught how to drift, why does Sonic Team not have the confidence to allow 2017 Forces kids to learn to drift? Look at all the autoaim hooks and automatic turns in Avatar and Sonic's levels, we want to be challenged, we want to make those turns ourselves!
Sideshow - Light Speed Dash
For years since its introduction, Sonic Team had struggled to implement a consistent Light Speed Dash that functioned as intended every time its used. They couldn't do it in Adventure 2, Heroes, 06, even Unleashed... and then through the Hover Wisp in Colors, they finally pulled it off; Generations inherited the Light Speed Dash formula Colors created and we ended up getting the most consistent Light Speed Dash we've had yet!
And then Lost World happened! And now Sonic doesn't have the Light Speed Dash! Instead of having another move available to diversify the linear pathways of most Sonic levels, it's wasted on the Avatar to give kids the satisfaction of going through levels easily. That's not what the Light Speed Dash is supposed to be. It's a hard-to-catch, hard-to-execute trick that nets you a faster, more flashier route that gives the user a sense of satisfaction, while also potentially leading to a pathway that provides better rewards. They could've just given the Light Speed Dash to Sonic...
damn the level design in this game really did have lots of potential
Sideshow - The Wall Jump
This one is probably a nitpick but I really don't like the wall jump mechanics in this game. For one, they could've introduced it WAY EARLIER IN THE GAME and it could've made level design a bit more interesting but nope final 5 levels and you only need to use it a few times. I'm a fan of how Metroid handles its wall jumps, very straightforward jump onto wall, make contact, move direction to other side and jump, repeat. It's challenging, but super rewarding when done right. Unleashed Wii did something similar and frankly I'm upset this game doesn't do the same.
Sideshow - The Last Levels
They really went from uninteresting and linear to uninteresting and linear and bullshit, huh?
Then to downright easy with the Infinite boss fight and Final Judgment. How the fuck is Final Judgment this easy holy shit-
5) These final bits are problems I noted with the story: If the Avatar could just yeet through a bunch of Badniks without effort, what's stopping the crowd of generic Wispon OCs from doing the same? If Shadow can just strafe side by side to defeat a bunch of Infinite clones, why can't the Wispon OCs just whip em or burn em or something? Heck it only took Sonic 9 Homing Attacks and a few punches to kill clone Zavok, it's literally that easy. 99.9% of the world being taken over? More like '99.9% of the world being so pathetic without random blue rat boi that they cower in fear of Egg Pawns like Tails'.
6) Fuck Sonic in this game. I know he was unfunny in Colors and Lost World, but here he's downright condescending, indifferent and obnoxiously horrible at being a jokester. Even when the situation doesn't call for it (serious fights vs Infinite, contacting his friends for the first time in months), guy cracks horrible jokes that frankly shouldn't have passed the first draft.
I could go on about the weak (haha) backstory of Infinite and just the shitty writing and more things I hate about Forces in general but I think that's it. Soundtrack slaps (somewhat) though, Fist Bump is a great song that just ends up ruined by the worst gimmick in Sonic history.
3/10 game don't play it unless you're interested in beating every Sonic game like me, or you wanna see how bad is it for yourself, or you just enjoy it (somehow)

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