Why Mario Odyssey is better than Sonic Forces

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2017 has been a pretty stacked year when it comes to video games. At the same time, many figured that Mario Odyssey would win the title of Game of the Year, or perhaps Sonic Forces would get to claim it. I wrote an editorial a while back about how Sonic Forces would certainly claim victory. Here’s a link to that original article if you’re curious.

https://dreager1.com/2017/08/20/why-sonic-forces-is-going-to-be-better-than-mario-odyssey/

Unfortunately, I hadn’t expected the game to get skimmed down all the way to 3 hours. It’s just too short to really compete with Odyssey but let’s break this down.

When it comes to the story, Sonic still destroys Mario. We have an end of the world plot going with a hype new villain called Infinite. In comparison, Mario has the same ole Bowser kidnaps Peach plot which is neither fresh nor imaginative. It’s a plot that we have all seen many times before to the point where it is fairly stale. It’s just not the kind of story that excites you anymore and the game even pulls a cop out for the ending to keep the status quo. In this area at least, Sonic Forces stil claims the win.

Now let’s look at the graphics. Well, this one is a pretty close one. Both games look pretty solid. Mario is top of the line for Nintendo and they spared no expense for him. On the other hand, Sonic Forces doesn’t look quite as good as it should considering that it’s on the PS4 but it does have a nice advantage of being on the stronger console from the start. It also has more explosions and better level designs to really use the graphics. Odyssey does look a little better on the whole, Sonic Forces is just more striking to look at. This is purely for graphics though so Odyssey wins here.
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When it comes to gameplay, Sonic has 3 different styles while Mario has just one. Mario’s does beat retro Sonic’s gameplay style but loses to the Avatar and Modern Sonic. You just can’t beat Boost 2 Win and It would have been cool for Mario to have been able to do that when running around the worlds. It’s pretty close though and the difference is relative since both games have really solid gameplay.

Now at this point it probably seems like Sonic is demolishing Mario so what’s the problem right? Well, one of the big areas that hurts Sonic is the length/replay value. The main story will only take you 3 hours in Forces. After that you need to get all of the S Ranks and obtain all of the rings. This will buy you some time, but not a whole lot. Moreover, thanks to the daily login bonus, getting S Ranks is really easy in this game. You can definitely 100% this game in a week if you don’t mind some grinding for the enemies and coins. On the other hand, Mario’s main campaign is at least double of not triple as long. Grabbing all of the moons in the post game and completing the new worlds will take quite a few more hours as well. You’re likely looking at a 20-30+ hour game right there. It’s a world of difference and this is crucial for a game. You don’t want to drop 40-60 dollars on a game that you will play and then immediately throw back in the drawer. You want a game with a lot of replay value and that’s exactly what Odyssey is. It’s the game that keeps on giving. The sheer amount of content and minigames in Odyssey puts Forces to shame.
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You can’t really stress this enough. I’ve put in over 35 hours in Mario Odyssey and there are still a bunch of moons to get. I’ve already gotten all of the S ranks in Sonic Forces and around half of the Red Rings in a third of the time or potentially even less than that. It’s just not an equal ball game when you’re looking at the content. It’s not as if being long makes you an automatically better game, but when you’re a solid game that also happens to be long, then it’s a winning combo. It’s even more lethal to the short game when it’s only around 3 hours long.

Mario Odyssey will likely last close to 50 hours by the time all of the Moons have been obtained which is definitely very impressive. It’s also less repetitive than getting everything in Forces since in that game you have to keep replaying the same levels over and over again. It doesn’t really get old since the levels are so well done and the soundtrack is so awesome, but it still feels like a shortcut by the devs. In Mario, you have a lot of variety among the worlds for finding Moons so it never becomes a big issue of repetition. I can only hit this point for so long though so this editorial is coming to a close.

So when it all boils down to the center of the game, Odyssey is simply better. Sonic Forces may sound better than Odyssey but that’s not the issue. It may be more fun to play as Avatar and Modern Sonic as their gameplay modes both destroy Odyssey’s but that’s also not the point. Odyssey has the slightly better graphics. You have to forget about the plot and the technical aspects and just look at the replay value. Mario’s the longer game and you really feel like you’ve spent your money’s worth there. I don’t regret buying Sonic Forces since it was still an incredible game, but I certainly can’t reward the developers with the same stamp of approval that I can give Odyssey since they really didn’t give it enough effort. So, Sonic Forces is the more enjoyable game, but Mario Odyssey is the better game and actually managed to defeat Sonic this time around. It may seem like Mario only won in one area (length) while Forces had the advantage just about everywhere else, but it’s a very important advantage and one that you can’t overlook. It’s shocking for Sonic to lose and and I have to keep asking myself if this is really the answer since this basically never happens and I’m a little worried, but 3D Sonic shall return. You can tell how confident his fans are because even if you google things like “Mario beating Sonic” you get more pictures of the reverse happening which made the images for this article a little difficult. It is quite fitting though that the time Mario finally manages to beat Sonic, it’s because they quickly went through their old Adventure 2 Battle memories and thought to do a Mario version. Food for thought!
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Sonic Forces Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 27/49
Red Rings 55/120
32 Missions left to complete. (New missions are added when old ones are completed though, but the number is limited)
Avatar Levels:
Hedgehog Level: Max
Bird Level: 22
Every other animal: 0

Stage Stats Rank and Red Rings

Stage 1 S Rank 2/5
Stage 2 S Rank 3/5
Stage 3 S Rank 1/5
Stage 4 S Rank 4/5
Stage 5 S Rank
Stage 6 S Rank 1/5
Stage 7 S Rank 2/5
Stage 8 S Rank 1/5
Stage 9 S Rank
Stage 10 S Rank 2/5
Stage 11 S Rank
Stage 12 S Rank 0/5
Stage 13 S Rank 2/5
Stage 14 S Rank 1/5
Stage 15 S Rank 3/5
Stage 16 S Rank 5/5
Stage 17 S Rank
Stage 18 S Rank 2/5
Stage 19 S Rank 3/5
Stage 20 S Rank 3/5
Stage 21 S Rank 4/5
Stage 22 S Rank 0/5
Stage 23 S Rank 3/5
Stage 24 S Rank 2/5
Stage 25 S Rank 1/5
Stage 26 S Rank 3/5
Stage 27 S Rank
Stage 28 S Rank 2/5
Stage 29 S Rank 5/5
Stage 30 S Rank
Secret 1 S Rank
Secret 2 S Rank
Secret 3 S Rank
Secret 4 S Rank
Secret 5 S Rank
Secret 6 S Rank
Ex 1 S Rank
Ex 2 S Rank
Ex 3 S Rank

Shadow DLC
Stage 1 S Rank All Collectibles Found
Stage 2 A Rank All Collectibles Found
Stage 3 B Rank All Collectibles Found

Sonic Forces Review

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There has been a lot of hype and negativity surrounding this game ever since the first trailer. Some thought the idea of a dark Sonic game would mark the return of Sonic 06 (Great game btw) while others thought it could finally be the next big Sonic Adventure title. For me, this was a good sign because the plot heavy Sonic games of the GameCube era were amazing. While Sonic Forces is a great game, it’s not quite as downright amazing as I had expected. A few areas hold it back from that.

The story starts off with a bang as Sonic heads to the city to help the others take down Eggman as per usual. Instead, he is greeted by all of his old foes and a new one known as Infinite. They defeat and presumably destroy him. A level or two later you find out that Sonic is alive and has been kept prisoner for the last few months. Classic Sonic also shows up from a portal to help out. Meanwhile, Terry (The name of my avatar) has decided to realize his potential as the ultimate life form. He frees Sonic and basically leads the charge against Infinite. Can the heroes defeat this opponent who effectively seems unbeatable?

Aside from the main story we also have a 3 level Shadow The Hedgehog prologue. It’s pretty fun as we see Shadow head off to help Omega fight Infinite. We also learn Infinite’s origin story. It’s very short since there are only 3 levels and they are pretty fun since playing as Shadow is always great. That being said, after playing the main game it can seem a little lazy. They reuse at least one of the levels from the main story as well as the final cutscene. There also aren’t any boss battles to be found here. It’s extra content and context for the story so I can’t complain about it too much but the story aspect also doesn’t make sense.

Many spoilers on the story will follow from here so skip the next 7 paragraphs if you haven’t played the game yet. Shadow is talking to Rouge towards the end of hiss prologue and she tells him not to bother going to help Sonic since he has the situation under control. That’s fine. Then she tells him to forget that because the situation has changed and Sonic is up against a squadron of lethal foes. The cutscene ends here and presumably Shadow dashed off to help. Despite this, in the main story he doesn’t show up until months after this event as he helps Sonic against a fake Shadow. Why did he not make it in time with his speed? At the very least he should have been informing the team about Infinite and had a more active role in the story. I feel like with his prologue they created it after the story so they were stuck by that point.

The main story is also a little…strange. It’s not like there are a bunch of plot holes or anything but the random time skips have you feel like the game is on fast forward. For example, Sonic loses and suddenly 3 months past. Why does everyone immediately assume he is dead? Why did it take 3 months for anyone to do something about it? The characters act like Tails has gone crazy or cracked since Sonic left but he seems perfectly okay to me. Classic Sonic popping up was also one of the most random moments in the game. He doesn’t have any real reason to be here and while I don’t mind crossovers for the sake of crossovers, I feel like he doesn’t even look that good. He clearly has no idea what is even happening and just goes after Eggman like it’s the good ole days. If they could have squeezed in a fight with Infinite that would have been awesome. Otherwise it’s really just a waste.

A cool part of the story was when Silver fought Infinite. Now that was a really cool battle and it’s a fight that was always fun to think about. Silver got wrecked of course but it was a cool visual. Of course for every positive, there is another limitation that pops up. The fights in the game are all made up of a singe homing attack of a bump. At the end of the game we get to see everyone taking on the army of Sonic villains and Shadow is just swerving from side to side and somehow he is knocking his opponents out with his hips or something. Keep in mind that these clones are supposed to be as strong as the real ones and yet, Shadow beat his clone in a single hit. I think the writers just added that line to add some drama and suspense but it didn’t make sense.

I think the first moment I knew something was wrong was when Chaos got one shotted by classic Sonic. Not only is this disgraceful to Sonic DX fans, but it was a perfect chance for a boss fight. The fact that they didn’t do so was rather alarming. Then the same thing happened with Shadow as mentioned above. It gets to the heart of the issue which is that Sonic Forces’ story feels like clickbait at times. You’re waiting for something really awesome to happen and then it never does. The only clone who really got a good role was Zavok since at least he got some hype lines and talked a good game. I would have been pretty upset if he had actually defeated Sonic though. I just wouldn’t be able to wrap my head around that. Another example of this is at the end when you beat Infinite. He starts yelling about how he can’t be defeated and flies off….never to be seen again. Yes, there could be a post game mission to solve that, but I wanted him to show up in the main story. Why did we not get Super Sonic? He should be a staple in the series and yet he hasn’t made the cut lately. I thought for sure that he would show up here since Infinite was so powerful.

Another very odd moment was when they said that Eggman had been torturing Sonic for months. That came out of nowhere and was there purely for edge. Sonic still makes one liners and walks out of his cell like it was nothing. It’s cool that Sonic never lets things get to him, but the torturing reference should have been cut out, especially since the game barely acknowledges that it even happened. Another weird moment is when Eggman has Infinite hit Sonic with a new Null weapon which will trap him inside of an indestructible void. Sonic…then breaks out so fast that it’s not even a level. It’s practically back to back cutscenes where he’s out instantly. It hints even further that a big chunk of the game was simply cut out. I feel fairly confident that this isn’t the original Sonic Forces that we were supposed to be getting.

Lets talk about the Avatar. Terry is legitimately amazing. I gave him a really cool design so he looks like an evil Sonic. He takes charge of the situation and even holds his own against Infinite. The cutscene where he stands his ground is handled excellently as well as his quick save towards the end of the game. He’s a great character and while it may be a little cheesy with how he is the chosen one and all…I could get behind it. Pro tip, don’t switch away from his flamethrower. You can beat levels really quickly with that one although the whip isn’t bad.

Infinite is also really cool, but admittedly not as great as he could have been. I felt like his origin story was actually made after people started making fun of him. He basically gets wrecked by Shadow and starts trembling. He tries to psych himself up by yelling about the whole thing, but it doesn’t work and Eggman kidnaps him later on to give him the new power. With it Infinite talks a good game and has a great voice so I can get behind that. All of his lines are quite awesome as well. The origin story could just have been better, but I’m glad we got to see a glimpse of his old self. Surprisingly we didn’t see that in the main story, but budget cuts and all that. I hope he appears again someday because the character has a lot of potential. We just should have seen a fight between him and the Super Hedgehogs. Maybe the Shadow vs Infinite battle since they teased it in the prologue and the two have a history. It makes no sense why Infinite wouldn’t fight him. Of course, it makes no sense why he would let Sonic live every time aside from plot convenience as well.

There are 3 gameplay styles in the game. Lets start with the best one, Modern Sonic. The levels are really awesome and you’re always moving at a high speed. I actually really like the boost mechanic since it feels good to actually enjoy using the speed that Sonic is famous for. The levels are unfortunately a little on the short side as a result and you can finish basically all of them in under 2 minutes. There are some annoying traps where a hole will suddenly pop up thanks to spotty level design but it’s not enough to really hurt the style. That’s why we need another fast Sonic game without a gimmick. No Werehog, No Wisps, No Classic Sonic. I just want a 3D Sonic game where you can zoom from start to finish the whole time and enjoy yourself along the way.

Then there is the Avatar levels. They’re actually quite good and are basically what people would have wanted Sonic Boom’s gameplay to be like. He still feels like you’re playing as Modern Sonic half the time, but you also get a weapon now. The controls are pretty smooth unless you’re using the thunder wisp in which case you’re doomed. Using your grappling hook is always very satisfying and it’s just handled great all around. It’s another reason why I am ultimately glad the character made it into the game. If his inclusion is the reason why the rest of the game suffered then I’ll take that back, but otherwise I am all for it.

Unfortunately there was one gameplay style which did not work. That would be Classic Sonic and he is the only character where I would actually get disappointed if I saw his level coming up. Whoever added on his gameplay style did so at the last second as it isn’t polished at all. The controls are slippery and the levels aren’t all that fun. You can’t go fast because you’ll just fall and you’re left wondering for the 100th time why he is in this game. He just should not have been here and you can tell that the developers didn’t care by this point.

To point out some more laziness on the game’s part…they reuse boss battles. Yes, you heard that right. One big example that is impossible not to notice is Metal Sonic and Infinite. Both of them are the same boss fight and they simply recolored Metal Sonic to make him look like Infinite. It’s why Infinite also looks huge during the whole boss fight for no real reason. The game also reuses level designs throughout under the guise of Classic and Modern as well as the Avatar. Honestly this just doesn’t feel like a AAA game would would be double at the most. It explains the reduced price, but I fully expected and wanted my Sonic game to be as high budget as it can get.

As expected the graphics are really solid. The colors may not be as striking as Adventure 2 Battle but it has some pretty solid moments. Any scene with Infinite usually has a pretty good color palette. I don’t think the game looks as good as it could have, but I still can’t really complain about it either. It’s at a high enough level where I am definitely still satisfied.

The soundtrack is also really solid as we get a bunch of remixes and lyrical songs. Not all of the lyrical songs are a hit, but most of them are. There are definitely a lot of up beat ones in there and the intense Infinite theme also shows up. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of the sound didn’t really do a great job as the effects will often drown out the actual music. This can be pretty unfortunate when you want to hear the tune but can’t focus on it with all the background noise.

Well, the main area that does hurt the game somewhat is it’s lack of replay value. The main story isn’t very long as it is so not having a multiplayer mode doesn’t do it any favors either. You can get all of the S ranks and clothes for your avatar but if you actually try that shouldn’t take very long either. That’s because there is a new system involving daily missions. Essentially you clear the mission and unlock a score boost which makes it easier to get S ranks. I don’t even know what you get for obtaining them all but hopefully it’s something epic. Grab your Platinum Trophy on the way back of course.

I could go on for quite a while, but lets get this into perspective. Sonic Forces is still a great game of course. The gameplay is tight and the technical aspects are on point. The story is awesome and epic even if it feels like someone cut out 80% of the game to speed things up. There are a number of weaknesses, but many of them are only so large because I’m a big Sonic fan. It also couldn’t have had many of these negatives if it had chosen to go with a retro plot of Sonic simply stopping Eggman with no real cutscenes throughout and then we wouldn’t have expected so much out of it. The main menu interfaces are really clean and sleek. They’re some of the best out there and Sonic always sets a high bar for this. The game feels modern in many ways like that. You just won’t be playing it for a long time compared to the average game.

Overall, Sonic Forces is better in concept than in the execution. It’s just a little too short and you can’t help but think that it got rushed out of the gate or was given low priority for some reason. There were so many reasons why this game should have been just about perfect which is why it is disappointing that the game didn’t live up to its potential. It’s still a great game so at least it’s not like Star Fox Zero or anything. It’s a small consolation at least. Infinite and the Avatar were good additions to the cast. Maybe Sega will take another shot at this game in the future and get it perfect this time around. I’ll still hold out a lot of hope for the next Sonic game and I eagerly await seeing what Sega will do from here with the 3D titles.

Overall 8/10

Why Sonic Forces is going to be better than Mario Odyssey

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Right now the vast majority of gamers seem to think Mario Odyssey will not only defeat Sonic Forces, but that it could be the best game of the year. I’m a pretty big fan of the Super Mario series as well and think Odyssey looks great, but I think we’re counting out Sonic Forces a little too soon. In fact, I think it’s going to beat Mario Odyssey rather easily and by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll think so as well. I’m going to tackle every aspect of both games and show you point by point why Sonic wins. For some background for those who are unaware, both games are coming out later this year and supposedly it may be within a week of each other. Odyssey is getting a lot of hype because it’s quite possibly the most ambitious Mario game since 64. It’s going to have a bunch of new features and Mario will finally be in a cool city setting. Sonic Forces is getting a lot of hype because we are finally in the pre Sonic Colors days with the epic plots and old characters returning. With the background out of the way, lets dive into this breakdown.

STORY
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This one’s pretty obvious. Sonic Forces destroys Odyssey here as we have a new villain called Infinite who has assembled all of the greatest Sonic villains from the previous games. Chaos, Metal Sonic, Shadow, etc. They’re back to rain some terror on the heroes. Sonic’s going to have to team up with Silver, Classic Sonic, and many more to hope to combat him. I’ve seen the trailer over 20 times by now and it just never gets old. This has the potential to be one of the greatest Sonic stories of all time and it feels like the big climax of the Adventure series. Odyssey is busy with the classic Peach getting kidnapped scenario. I honestly don’t see much else happening in the game. Maybe DK will show up or something but my hopes are honestly very low. I dare Nintendo to raise the bar and prove me wrong. Imagine a Mario game where a new villain brings in Bowser, King Boo, Geno, Shadow Mario, and other big Mario opponents. That would be pretty awesome.

SOUNDTRACK
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This one is probably going to be the most controversial. Granted, Mario games always have killer soundtracks and I’m sure this one will be really solid as well. When the main theme for the game came out, it really took over the internet. Then Sonic Forces brought out the Infinite theme and completely blasted any trace of Odyssey off the map. The difference in sound level is just uncanny. This is just the tip of the iceberg as well and considering all of the intense levels in Sonic Forces, the overall soundtrack is going to be miles apart. Odyssey’s themes are soothing, Forces themes are epic.

GRAPHICS
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This one is also pretty close. Mario Odyssey is clearly going to look good. The level environments are really solid and the trailer looks sharp. It’s the Mario game that we’ve been waiting for and they spared no expense. What hurts the game a little is that it can’t make use of its graphics because there are no cool villains or powerful energy effects to show off. Forces already has some really cool levels and designs. The animation really gets to shine here and it also helps that its on the PS4. This is another area where Forces wins and sure, graphics don’t matter too much when you’re already at this level but every bit certainly helps.

LENGTH
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All right, here’s an area where Mario actually wins. While the actual campaign lengths will likely be similar, Mario has always exceled in its replay value. It’s almost undeniable that Odyssey will give you more bang for your buck. Collecting everything and unlocking all of the bonuses in Odyssey will take time. You’ll also probably just have fun exploring the vast hub world and I can see this being a game that you play for weeks and weeks. That’s not to say that Sonic Forces is short. Grabbing all of the trophies will likely be difficult and time consuming as well. That being said, unless there is a local multiplayer that is on par with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, I don’t see it beating Odyssey. It’ll have to hold a loss here.

GAMEPLAY
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Okay, the Mario picture isn’t from the actual game, but if it was real then this whole paragraph would probably be wrong. After all riding a motorcycle would be amazing.
We’ve come to the biggest and most important part of the game now. The gameplay. So, Odyssey’s gameplay is tried and true. It’s going to be incredibly smooth with so many playtesters that I expect there will be very few glitches if any. The jumping on the hat gimmick does look like it’ll slow the game down somewhat, but I have a feeling that it’ll be more fun than it looks. Sonic Forces meanwhile is back to the super fast Sonic gameplay that I’ve missed with the slower classic levels to give you a change of pace. There are also the custom levels which will work like Sonic Boom. While the latter may not help the game, the modern Sonic levels are sure to be some of the most fun ones yet. I’m afraid that there really isn’t much Mario can do to combat it. I love moving at a quick speed and it’s like how I prefer rushdown tactics in Super Smash. Just keep the action coming and I’ll let my reaction times handle the rest. I’ve said this a few times, but the point still stands. Mario will be peaceful and calming which is awesome in its own right, but Sonic Forces will be exhilarating and action packed throughout. The gameplay will really get your adrenaline pumping.

GIMMICKS
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Both games have some gimmicks. Mario’s will be the constant transforming and throwing the hat around. For Forces, it’s the Deviant art character you’ll be creating as you swing around. In this case, I think Odyssey probably has the edge. From what I’ve seen of the original character, his levels look all right, but I just don’t think they add anything to the game. The transformations in Odyssey actually look really fun though. While everyone is looking forward to turning into a dinosaur, I personally can’t wait for the Bullet Bill. Being able to fly and being almost indestructible? Count me in! I’m sure they’ll do something to balance the game or else you could cheese a bunch of levels, but the game will likely do it in a balanced/organic way where you can still have a blast. Just please give me a flying transformation in the hub world, flying through New Donk City will be a blast!

VERDICT Sonic Forces wins. I never like ties so you can certainly bet that I wasn’t going to be half hearted here to close out the editorial. As the title clearly states, I think Sonic Forces is going to be the better game than Odyssey. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s going to be all that close. At the same time, I do think both games will be a lot of fun. Honestly I may even give both games a 9/10. The main difference is that I’m going to be super invested in Sonic Forces. A good plot really does go a long way and since Forces should also have the edge in gameplay, that’s just Game Set and Match. I’ll be picking up Sonic Forces Day 1 while I can’t guarantee the same for Odyssey. After all, I still don’t even own a Switch. Sonic Forces is the game that I’ve been looking forward to for years. Adventure 2 Battle is still the best with Sonic 2006 being second, but I could definitely see this game being 3rd. Even if it loses to Shadow and only gets 4th, that will still be really impressive. I’m hoping it sells well so we can get more games like this one. It’s definitely Game of the Year material. The fact that Mario Odyssey could beat it in some areas is impressive though and the game should take solace in that fact. It just can’t help overcome one big thing. At the end of the day…Sonic is just cooler than Mario.
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