I finished doing just about everything I could in Sonic Forces earlier. It's certainly not my favourite game in the series, maybe not by quite a way, but I still like it, maybe even really like it. I should probably say now that I got the game for half price about a year ago, so that may be shaping my opinion somewhat. And as always with the Sonic series, I played in Japanese. Generally, I'd say that the game is a bit too short, but I do really like what's there. Much of it is a bit too easy for my taste, especially Modern Sonic levels, but I guess they wanted to make it an entry point for new fans. I don't really like the Classic Sonic physics at all, they just feel too slippery. It was quite a surprise that he drowns really quickly, about twice as fast as normal. But I will say that I found the drop dash more useful here than in Mania, and the spindash itself has been improved since Generations, even though the physics overall are worse. It's really weird when it feels like I should bounce off an enemy at a certain trajectory and then I just... don't. I did feel a bit weird that the game literally makes you create an OC, I wasn't sure about that. But their levels are actually some of the most fun, I find, and with the most replay value. The different wispons are a really nice way to add variety, as well. The burst is pretty straightforward, and lets you keep your momentum while you use it. With the red burst wisp, it's tricky to get the right rhythm to keep it going for any length of time, but it feels rewarding when you do. Reminds me of the Space Jump from Super Metroid. The lightning is more powerful, but it does kinda stop you dead in your tracks. The ivory lightning wisp basically gives you the light dash, but that's not to be underestimated, especially when they can often be chained together, and even target enemies. The drill is a very high risk/reward wispon; it can cover large chunks of a stage instantly, but if you get surrounded by enemies in a 3D space, it becomes very dangerous to use. The yellow drill wisp actually acts most like they all did in Lost World, helping you cover some ground quickly, with invincibility. The hover is not as good as a weapon, taking quite a long time to recharge, given the pace of the game. With the green hover wisp, though, it's easily the safest in the game, like the red burst, but much easier. The cube is a strange one, stunning/shattering enemies into rings, it seems a good choice for attempting an S rank if the drill won't work so well. with the blue cube wisp, I guess it's meant to be like the burst and hover, but I can't get it to work nearly as well. The asteroid is a nice idea, but the little... things never seem to target what you want them to. I will say the with the indigo asteroid wisp, its protection is pretty useful, especially against bosses. The void is another strange one, with an even longer reload time to compensate the rather dramatic effects of firing it. With the violet void wisp, it looks cool, but it's clearly just meant to be used in very particular places. Each level seems designed around most wisps, with different paths to take for each, while still being hypothetically beatable with no wispon at all. Spoiler For the first time since Generations, maybe even since Adventure 2, I actually felt like this was the cast of characters I know and love again. Sonic is as much of a smart aleck as ever, but a few characters show a whole new side to them. Knuckles is actually pretty gentle, and a great motivational leader (when he gets angry, it's at Eggman, not the resistance). In Tails' absence, Amy steps up and becomes mission control. The Chaotix seem pretty much the same as ever, seemingly getting along with Knuckles, especially Charmy. I haven't really seen much of Silver, but he's understandably less cheerful here than in Team Sonic Racing or even Generations. Team Dark are about the same as ever, as far as I can tell. And I have to appreciate that Sonic is basically Infinite's natural weakness. Infinite feeds on fear and despair, but he messed with the wrong hedgehog, since Sonic never loses faith in himself. Ever. I felt really, really sorry for Tails early in the game, and I don't think he was out of character. Let's consider that back on Westside Island, all the other animals used to bully him for having two tails, until he met Sonic, the first friend not to judge him for that. All of his power comes from within, and everyone else can see that, but somewhere inside, he still believes he's nothing without Sonic, those scars still haven't healed. When Infinite's illusions are beating Sonic up, Tails isn't gonna think he stands a chance if Sonic is struggling that much, and he probably wouldn't. Six months later, I really think he's fallen into depression, and blames himself for Sonic's apparent death. He doesn't even think he can repair Omega anymore, but we see later on that he clearly can. When confronted with Chaos, who he's only ever fought alongside both Sonic and Knuckles, he understandably thinks he's done for. When reunited with Classic Sonic, who just arrived after the "good" ending of the last game's Mania mode, he feels a renewed sense of purpose and hope. And after overhearing that Modern Sonic, his Sonic is still alive from Eggman, he's practically back to his old self. Let's not forget that Knuckles's "plan" was a disaster, while Tails seemingly came up with the strategy that took Eggman down in a very short time. So, back to my theory about the Phantom Ruby. In Sonic Generations, Classic Sonic is taken from his timezone (after S3K and Chaotix, I believe, but before Sonic Adventure. I say this because Classic Knuckles and Mighty seem just as friendly as Modern Knuckles and the rest of the Chaotix, implying that game was canon in both timelines) and thrown into the chaotic mess Eggman created. But here's the thing; that never happened to Modern Sonic. The next big thing to happen to him after Chaotix was Adventure, and he didn't experience that temporal disruption until sometime between Colours and Lost World. Thus, Classic Sonic is now in a different timeline, where the next big thing is Mania, not Adventure. So what if the Phantom Ruby is the embodiment of the chaos Eggman caused in Generations, what if it's there because that whole world is "wrong"? Beyond that, it seems to be sentient, so it's easy to assume it's evil. But what if it's not? What if all that teleporting everyone around was a desperate attempt to escape from Eggman? In that case, at the end of Titanic Monarch, it almost does escape, and realising the power of the chaos emeralds, uses them to escape into Modern Sonic's world. It got captured by another Eggman, who set about creating a replica, which he ultimately gave to Infinite. But compared to the craziness of Mania, all Inifnite can really do is make things appear. I guess that duplicate was destroyed along with the final boss, and if memory serves, Infinite destroys every prototype, except the one our OC uses, which later shatters as well. That leaves the real Phantom Ruby to escape back into Classic Sonic's world, taking Classic Sonic with it. When it floats there on its own at the beginning of Encore mode, I couldn't help but feel like it was trying to help Sonic. I got a sense of "this way", like Tikal in Sonic Adventure. Or after seeing Sonic defeats two versions of Eggman in two worlds, maybe it was really trying to reach out to Sonic for help. At the end of Encore mode, maybe it just "snaps", and decides to rip Eggman's base to shreds. There's probably something to disprove all that, but I think it's an interesting thought. Going back to Forces, it was quite strange that the chaos emeralds weren't even mentioned. If Eggman conquered that much of the world, he probably got most of them. But since the real Shadow makes his dramatic entrance with chaos control, that implies that he has one, maybe the last one. In which case, he was actually really important behind the scenes, keeping the last emerald out of Eggman's hands. I think Null Space and Imperial Tower are my favourite stages from the game. Null Space has several "layers" of routes, with the hardest and fastest requiring wisps to be used just right. failing to usually means "falling" onto a slower, easier layer, much like how the original trilogy was designed. Imperial Tower has an intended way to use each wisp to reach the end, but also with an alternative, harder route, in case you mess it up. Even in the other stages, I don't really understand the claims that the stages are linear. I can think of at least two or three different routes for most stages, and I'm struggling to see how it's any more linear than Generations. It's just considerably shorter. I finally conquered all of the game I can, with all S ranks (Extra 6 was a nightmare), and most of the "bonus" rings. The only exception is Final Judgement, which keeps crashing the game. I think that's a PC issue, not a game issue, though. I think I'll revisit Team Sonic Racing one more time, and then call this little experience of reliving every game I have finally done.