Sonic Forces pulls out all the stops with the enemies that Sonic and his crew must take on. From staples like Eggman and Metal Sonic to the return of fan-favorite Chaos and the newly introduced Infinite, the baddies have multiplied, while the number of playable characters has shrunk. Sonic Forces puts you in control of just three characters: Modern Sonic, Classic Sonic, and whatever custom character you come up with. However, through newly announced day one DLC that is free to anyone who buys the game, players can also play as Shadow.
The Episode Shadow add-on is available to players beginning launch day. The DLC focuses on the backstory between Shadow and the new antagonist, Infinite. Episode Shadow adds three stages for Shadow, as well as the ability to replay over 10 Sonic Forces stages as Shadow. In addition, if you get the Digital Bonus Edition (which retails for $39.99), you get a Shadow costume for your custom character. The Digital Bonus Edition also includes the Sega/Atlus Pack add-on, which gives your custom character in-game outfit items and accessories to make your character look like five other characters from Sega and Atlus games.
Earlier this year, when I spoke with head of Sonic Team, Takashi Iizuka, about the addition of custom characters, he said that the philosophy the team has had with adding new characters was that they were fine as long as they still delivered the sense of speed they've found that players typically want. "It's kind of a merging of all the fun things of Sonic with the variety of a different character without going to the extreme of not having the Sonic elements or not having the variety," he said. Shadow's inclusion seems to play into that core philosophy, as he retains the speed that has made him such a fun equal to Sonic since his introduction in Sonic Adventure 2.
I played through one level from Episode Shadow, and it was as challenging as anything I've played in any of my sessions to this point. You can see video of the level I played through below.
Sonic Forces launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC on November 7.