My friends kind of know me as being one of the more optimistic fans of the franchise, given my past purchases of both parts of the episodic Sonic 4 and finding some enjoyment with those, my love of Unleashed as one of my favorites in the Modern lineup, and my forgiving attitude towards what Lost World was hoping to do. So, when Forces was initially teased, I was pretty much on-board, as we hadn't really had a major Sonic title in a little while. Not to mention, with the Anniversary pretty much around the corner at the time, I felt like we could easily have ourselves another Generations to look forward to. I mean, it made sense after all - not counting all the times Iizuka claimed they weren't doing Generations 2, because, honestly, that's pretty much what it was looking like from the outset.
At some point, we started getting some actual gameplay bits - and at first, things were shaping up to be what I was hoping for - the return of Modern Sonic, with the promise of a new engine to go along with it, and what little teaser footage we had gotten, it was looking pretty okay to me! I was admittedly a little concerned since it certainly seemed a lot more linear than I would have expected, but, 'it's fine', I thought, 'this is probably the opening level, so, of course it's going to look pretty basic. That's how it goes, right?' Well...
Moving onward, then we got news about the OC creation feature, and, I'll be honest, I was definitely on-board with that concept. I liked the idea of giving the players some power over what their character got to look like, even giving the younger fans a chance to put their character in the game alongside their speedy hero, and if it was implemented properly, it could've had a big hook to get people interested. I was optimistic.
And then we got some more footage for the game, showcasing the three main modes - Classic, Modern and Avatar. I think, around this time, I was starting to peer a bit closer with a bit of concern. The issues I had with what was apparent streamlining of the overall gameplay weren't exactly alleviated, and Classic didn't really look like it was handling particularly well. The avatar was concerning me due to how overpowered those weapons were, and seeing that there was no limit implemented at the time, they could just use their powers 24/7 with no punishment for doing so. And... again, I felt, well, it's still early, and also, these stages all look like beginning segments. Most of what we had seen were all from Green Hill, anyway, a stage mostly used as a fresh/beginner type of level. So... I gave it an "I'm Watching You" kind of sentiment, and let it go for the time being.
Then, they basically showcased this same set of demo content for the next two major events they were showing off their game, at which point I was getting very concerned, because now, it kind of felt like they were afraid to show us much more than they already had at this point. Not to mention, I noticed by this time that the game was very, very generous with certain things, such as rewarding you a major, invincible boost in Tag-Team even if you purposefully fail the QTE involved, suggesting you could very well just let the game play itself at various points.
And then we got the demo. Except, it wasn't available anywhere else - it was Japan-only. Which was kind of weird. Weirder still, a time limit that seemed wholly unnecessary, since Modern and Classic could easily be finished with a little over a minute total in particular. This was concerning me more due to the lack of willingness to show off much of anything for longer than they felt comfortable. And, of course, with the demo came a good display of most of my issues coming to the forefront - a lot of automation, a lot of simplistic more-linear-than-usual level design, dash pads littering all over the place, leaving little for the player to do. Even enemies in some of the levels shown wouldn't bother looking to attack you if you were within proximity - even enemies in the original Modern era of games would attempt to do something to you if you got close. The fact that you would just blast past them anyway doesn't really seem like an excuse to not code your AI, and in fact, may actually suggest some issues that need addressing with the Boost-style of gameplay.
I think it was the leaks that basically sealed the deal for me. After seeing what the game had to offer in both game and story, I was not happy with the result.
And now that we have launch day, based on what I've seen, what I've heard, and what compared with my overall, hopeful expectations, this is pretty much going to be the first major Sonic title that I do not pick up. I feel for the artists who put their lives into the assets, the backgrounds, and all of the above, but like... At the end of it? I simply cannot feel comfortable spending the money on this. I don't want to encourage this kind of 'well, it's Sonic, so it'll sell no matter how little we care about the end product' attitude at SonicTeam by throwing my money at them, to which SEGA will only look at as 'Ooh, more money!', and not as some kind of 'future incentive' for a hopefully better future Sonic game. I'm kinda tired of being afraid 'Sonic will fail unless I support him!', because in the end, all that's really going to do is send the wrong message and hurt the IP, regardless.
That got wordy for being literally my second post on this board. My apologies! But, thoughts were asked for, and thus they were given.