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Sonic Forces gets our hopes up with first ‘classic Sonic’ gameplay

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Repeat after me: Remember “the Sonic Cycle”

Sonic the Hedgehog fans go through the same motions every time a new game in the series is announced. With this exciting first look at the “classic-style” gameplay from the upcoming Sonic Forces, we have to remember not to let our expectations get the best of us.

First, we get excited — usually because Sega promises that the game will be a throwback to all the Sonic games we know and love. We don’t quite have that issue here, as Sega promised that Sonic Forces is decidedly a modern-era Sonic game. But unlike complete 3D adventures, like Sonic Colors or, god forbid, Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Forces lets players run around as both 2D and 3D versions of the character.

Our first time seeing Sonic Forces’ 2D-style Sonic in action gives us confidence. That goes double when the level Sonic is running through is the all-time classic Green Hill Zone. It’s a glossy take on the stage, and it looks instantly familiar to anyone who’s played the original Sonic the Hedgehog games on Genesis — or even Sonic Generations, Sega’s 2011 love letter to the franchise’s history.

This is so far, so good on the Sonic Forces front. Even its 3D gameplay, which Sega debuted last month, didn’t totally discourage fans who have been burned by slowed-down gimmicks and too many side characters.

But there are still many months to go until the console and PC game launches this holiday. Let’s hope that Sega doesn’t give us reason to balk at Sonic Forces before launch.