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Sonic Forces Is Currently Running At 30fps On Switch

Official Game Title (include all trademarks): Sonic Forces™
Publisher Name: ©SEGA
Developer Name: Sonic Team
Genre: Action (Platformer)
Nintendo Platform(s): Switch
ESRB with Descriptors:
RP (Anticipated rating E10+)
Number of Players: 1
All Supported Play Modes
(Please indicate the number of players per play mode)
• TV mode: 1
• Tabletop mode: 1
• Handheld mode: 1
• Local play: n/a
• Online play: n/a
Release Date/Window: Holiday 2017
Release Regions:
Japan: (Planned, Not planned, Undecided) Planned
EU: (Planned, Not planned, Undecided) Planned
Marketing Tagline (if applicable):
Join the Uprising
Game Description (2-3 sentences):
From the team that brought you Sonic Colors and Generations, comes the next exciting title in the Sonic
franchise, Sonic Forces. Experience fast-paced action as Modern Sonic, thrilling platforming as Classic
Sonic, and utilize powerful new gadgets as your own custom Hero Character. Help Sonic fight back to
reclaim the world from Dr. Eggman and a powerful, mysterious new villain.
Features (2-3 bullets):
• Three types of gameplay: Fast paced action as Modern Sonic, thrilling platforming as Classic
Sonic, and utilize powerful gadgets as your own custom Hero Character
• Fight against a brand new mysterious, powerful enemy
• Featuring an all-star cast of well-known Sonic franchise heroes and villains

Sonic fan site Sonic Stadium managed to get some hands-on time with Sonic Forces at this year’s E3 event and have presented their reasonably alarming impressions. The game, which is coming to the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, only runs at 30fps on Nintendo’s latest console. There’s other compromises to be had which you can read below. However, it is still early days as Sonic Forces isn’t out till the fall.

The most notable difference is that the game runs at 30 frames per second – half the rate of the competing systems. Texture and models are of lower quality, with certain effects either trimmed down or removed entirely. The lush, wavy grass from the PS4 version of Green Hill is less lush and wavy on the Switch, and far more jagged, with even shadows being effected. The shadows cast by Eggman’s Eggmobile were distinctly lower resolution, appearing jagged with inconsistent levels of darkness. Most of these issues, outside of the frame rate, are borderline unnoticeable in portable mode. But in console mode, the flaws are very apparent.

A few months back when the Switch version was announced, I’d guessed that the game would be at about half the frame rate of the HD versions and would probably suffer a little in the visual department as well – and I see this is the case.

That said, it’s not as bad as it sounds. There are still some nice effects in here that give it a next gen feel. The puddles of water are still reflective. There’s no real pop-in and you can see far out in the distance. The grass still waves around. The main difference is the lack of detail in some of the textures and the jaggy, 720P or possibly sub 720P resolution which may be due to no anti-aliasing. At least, it appears that way. 

All of this is almost invisible in portable mode outside of the locked 30 fps. I’m still considering this version and the PC version as the ports I have preference over, with the Switch offering portability and the PC for it’s eventual modding. If the Switch is your only option, it’s still a solid port – just think of it as a PC game in medium to low settings vs. ultra-high settings for the PS4 version.

E3 demos are of course usually technically inferior to the final product – something we have seen in previous years with Generations and Colors, which both contained performance issues rectified for the final game. The Switch version was never going to be the version of choice for the graphically obsessed. But for those of you who’ve always wanted to take a 3D Sonic game on the go, this looks like it’ll be a great option when it launches alongside the console and PC versions later this year.

We took a bunch of off-screen images with an actual, high quality digital camera for this article. We’re including the ones that best captured the game, with minimal motion blur, in a gallery below. While off-screen still-images are never as accurate at representing a game’s visuals as direct capture footage, these should at least give you a firm idea of the level of graphical quality in this version of the game.

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