Virtual Reality (バーチャルリアリティ Bācharuriariti?) is the third stage in the Sonic Forces DLC, Episode Shadow. Set in Green Hill, the stage is a modified version of Guardian Rock and thus, features similar elements.
Virtual Reality is a virtual projection of an industrialized area in the once prosperous Green Hill area. In this stage there are block-based brown mountains in the background and a lightly clouded blue sky. Like the original Green Hill, the stage also features countless blocky hills in all manner of sizes and arrangements. Much of the stage is also covered in differently-striped grass that moves with the wind, and the soil itself is covered in brown checkerboard patterns. There are also totem poles with all manner of facial expressions. However, the signature flora in Green Hill is shown to have dried out in various places, and the soil has assumed a sandy hue in many locations. Also, the area has been facilitated with semi-industrial pipe platforms and Badniks all around.
In the background of this stage, one can see the desert that sprouts out in Green Hill as a result of Eggman's desertification. These dunes have replaced the water areas in Green Hill, forming lakes and waterfalls made up of sand. Also, in the horizon, one can spot Arsenal Pyramid.
Infinite's virtual reality cubes lurk within the area, and can be seen throughout the background at various points.
After Infinite uses the power of his Phantom Ruby copy, Shadow finds himself in some kind of facility in Green Hill. Rouge talks to Shadow over the radio, stating that Omega disappeared at this facility three months ago. Shadow is confused about what happened to Infinite, but makes his way through the area regardless. Shadow eventually reaches the point where Omega was defeated, but cannot find any sign of him, with Rouge calmly stating that this never really happened. At this point, Omega joins the call, stating that he has never been defeated before breaking down into constantly shouting "I am not weak".
Shadow soon successfully escapes the illusion and receives an applause from Infinite, who did not expect him to return alive. Regardless, Infinite says that with his power, not even Sonic can stand against him now. Before Shadow can ask Infinite about what he means by that however, the facility they are in begins to explode, and Infinite uses this opportunity to escape. Meanwhile, Rouge, who has finally managed to reconnect with Shadow's radio, instructs Shadow to get out of there before the facility collapses on top of him. Having no choice in the matter, Shadow withdraws.
For the entirety of this stage, Shadow will traverse a 2.5D sidescrolling area. In terms of layout, the stage is rather straightforward, consisting of one linear path with few alternate paths along it.
Along the paths in this stage are groups of Galaga Bees that fly around in long rows. By Homing Attacking these Badniks, the player can destroy an entire chain of them in seconds by attacking them one by one. By destroying these Galaga Bee chains, the player can also reach different sections in the stage. The stage also has balloons for the player to bounce on.
Unique obstacles encountered in Virtual Reality are Infinite's red virtual reality cubes, which are encountered at various points. If Shadow touches these cubes, the player will take damage. In some places, there are concentrations of such cubes that will lock onto Shadow's current position when he appears, before turning into streaks and launching themselves towards him. In other places, these cubes will float around platforms, thereby forming protective barriers with only a single opening in them that the player can utilize.
When the stage begins, run down the path on the right. Along it, the player will come across enemies, virtual reality cubes, and several bottomless pits that require platforming skills to cross. Eventually, the player will enter a section made up entirely of Unbreakable Containers and platforms. Here, the player has to scale platforms while dealing with enemies and dodging virtual reality cubes. Once at the top, follow the path to the right to arrive in a similar Unbreakable container section where virtual reality cubes circle around platforms that lead upward. In this place, the player must scale the platforms while avoiding the virtual reality cubes.
Once at the top, Stomp down through the Containers on the right and follow the path from there in the rightward direction. Along this stretch of path, the player once again has to deal with enemies, avoid virtual reality cubes, and cross bottomless pits. In some places, the player must even skip across Nebulas with the Homing Attack in order to cross gaps.
At the end of the path, the player will enter another Unbreakable Container section where they must scale several layers of platforms filled with enemies and virtual reality cubes. Once on the top layer, follow the path on the right until Shadow comes to another section with virtual reality cubes circling around platforms. After climbing the platforms, follow the path on the right until the goal appears. This time however, the goal is placed on a platform with three rings of virtual reality cubes circling around it. At some point though, the holes in the virtual reality cube barriers will align so the player can gain access to the goal. This only happens on the top and bottom of the barriers; the top access hole can only be reached if the player takes the upper path on the way to the goal, while the bottom hole can only be reached with a Spring on the ground.
- The background music for this stage is a remix of "Supporting Me", a piece of music from Sonic Adventure 2.
- Certain lyrics of the music, like "Everything's just like... An illusion...", coincidentally tie into the level.
- Prior to the game's release, and by extension, the release of Episode Shadow, a special trailer that depicted a playthrough of Virtual Reality was released. Unlike the game, there was absolutely no dialogue depicted in the trailer.
|"Virtual Reality [Supporting Me Remix]"||Tomoya Ohtani||3:38|