Sonic Frontiers has no right being as enjoyable, smart, or outright humorous as it occasionally is. As you progress through the game, you’ll discover a whole smorgasbord of both new and classic Sonic mechanics, as well as, alas, some glaring technical flaws. The creators seem to have tried pretty much every idea under the sun in an attempt to push Sonic in a much-needed fresh direction. There are surprisingly more hits than misses. Despite being the epitome of a mixed bag, Sonic Frontiers does suggest a promising future for the series.
Many of the problems you anticipated will be present in Sonic Frontiers if you paid attention to any of the pre-release content. That unexpected visual? It’s some of the worst gameplay I’ve ever encountered. The visuals remind you of a tech-demo Sonic game remake? Once you start playing, they don’t feel much better.
The sheer amount of fun Sonic Frontiers is to play, though, is tough to express through trailers and demos. Sonic Frontiers is really difficult, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find a surprisingly good 3D Sonic game. The best one since Sonic Generations, without a doubt. The remainder of our Sonic Frontiers review is below.
Sonic Frontiers’ playability is flawless. Sonic’s trademark speed has always been an important aspect of his games, but Sonic Frontiers stands out as being particularly distinctive. It’s difficult to express how liberating it is to finally have control of Sonic in an open environment. As expected, he moves really quickly. However, Sonic Frontiers infuses this pace into every aspect of the game, including exploration and battle, and that is what really makes it sing.
The game Sonic Frontiers has five islands. Each features a unique collection of adversaries and collectibles in addition to a somewhat different graphic style. Typically, the gameplay loop is the same on every island. Initially, you move quickly in search of platforming possibilities, which are typically indicated by fine steel spaghetti that hang in the air. You whiz around on these grind rails collecting collectibles that you need to advance the plot. You will occasionally have to go into Cyberspace, which are more conventional Sonic levels with a unique atmosphere and mission layout.
Whatever you’re doing, Sonic Frontiers excels at blending exploration with fast-paced platforming. With a genuinely vast array of powers, mobility techniques, and combat options, Sonic has never felt better to manage. You pull off impressive combos and parries while running rings around your opponents in combat, which is played out like a hack-and-slash game. You can paint a line on the ground while running with the Cyloop ability, then close it as a circle to do damage and position adversaries for combos. At first, it’s a lot to process, and perhaps Sonic Frontiers could have benefited from more efficient exploration and fighting. However, for the most part, what is already in place functions flawlessly.
I’m here to encourage you to give Sonic Frontiers’ story a try even if you’re not sure why you should care about it. Sonic and his friends are often uninteresting to me in other video games, but Sonic Frontiers may be the most in-depth and passionate examination of them in more than a decade.
Every island is distinct because a separate member of the Sonic team is imprisoned there. Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are all in need of salvation and follow Sonic as he conducts business in each of their zones. As you play, side quests and cutscenes reveal each character’s objectives, resulting in some pretty fascinating character growth for Tails and company. By the time the credits start to roll, the evil Eggman is funnier than ever and even transcends the typical mustache-twirling cliché.
Visual and performance
Sonic Frontiers, sadly, has some of the most shoddy aesthetics of any high-budget game this year. Not merely the artistic direction—which resembles Death Stranding more than anything vaguely Sonic—but also the performance is lacking. Graphical fidelity is dreadfully bad even on the PS5, with fuzzy objects and oddly shaky surroundings.
Sonic Frontiers has other visual issues than poor graphics. The stages in Cyberspace don’t resemble the open world at all, and the art direction is all over the place overall. The realistic settings contrast sharply with the cartoonish Sonic, giving the impression that he has been transplanted from a completely different game. It’s unfortunate because the haphazard graphics make admission really difficult. Sonic Frontiers might not get a second look from many players.
Sonic Frontiers is ultimately new ground for the franchise. Sonic has previously been given freedom to wander enormous spaces, but never nearly to this extent. Sonic Frontiers is a collectathon that evokes a PlayStation 2/Dreamcast experience rather than a game from the year 2022. It’s a daring new direction that emphasizes both the advantages and disadvantages of the design strategy. A loop that mostly pays off involves moving from place to place while gathering keys, medals, cogs, and emeralds. This loop encourages player exploration and experimentation.
Despite Sonic Frontiers being a clear example of a studio overstretching itself despite the main formula being largely successful. There are plenty novel concepts that don’t quite take off. Over the course of Sonic Frontiers’ over 20-hour length, you’ll come across everything from tower defense to pinball. There is one new aspect that supports it for every one that undermines it. More time spent on game development would have been beneficial, especially to trim some of the fat.
Sonic Frontiers is a 2022 platform game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega. As Sonic the Hedgehog, the player explores the mysterious Starfall Islands to collect the Chaos Emeralds after Sonic and his friends are separated when falling through a wormhole.
How long is Sonic Frontiers?
Sonic Frontiers will take around 20 to 30 hours to finish, but double that at 40-55 if you want to see everything the game has to offer.
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