Let’s take a closer look at Sonic Frontiers.
Updated: Sep 26, 2022 10:01 am
Sega isn’t doing great at marketing Sonic Frontiers.
The initial reveal of the game showed a very rough-looking breath of the wild-esque game that simply didn’t have an identity of its own to speak of. Sega did a lousy job showing it off, with pop-in everywhere and lag a consistent factor.
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Each reveal after that has shown the game in a far better light, if only in concise bursts and without explaining what the game was trying to achieve. There was hope when Sonic Frontiers Previews began to release during Gamescom 2022.
That hope has paid off, as it turns out.
Gotta Go To The Past
Yet the game is an enjoyable time that should satisfy long-time Sonic fans while providing something new. A big issue with past 3D Sonic games is that they either play it far too safe (Sonic The Hedgehog 2006, Sonic Generations, Sonic Colors) or take absolutely wild swings with some disappointing pay-offs (Sonic Unleashed, Sonic Lost World, Sonic Forces).
Nothing past Sonic Heroes captures that feeling of progression within the series, at least until now. Sonic Frontiers aims to balance the brand new mechanics with some older elements from other games while moving forward with what could be described as the classic Sonic Adventure formula.
Indeed in the demo, the first thing I saw was Green Hill Zone. You turn around in the open world and are faced with a gate that’ll take you directly to Green Hill Zone. Green Hill Zone isn’t just a nostalgia trip, so the game can trick you into enjoying yourself like several other Sonic games have used it for.
It’s got a new music track and optional objectives, and the new running system feels incredible in actual play. While the level is only two or three minutes at most, it’s a great showcase of what Sonic Frontiers wants to be: it wants to be something you can go back to over and over again and a platform in which SEGA will create the new norm of Sonic.
There are even 2D sections throughout the game, though I sadly didn’t have a chance to see them for myself during my brief stint with the title.
Discovering The New World With Our Sonic Frontiers Preview
Once you leave Green Hill Zone, you must travel around the open world, discovering the Zelda-inspired elements and the shockingly nice-looking environments. It shouldn’t work. It shouldn’t be good. Every other attempt at making a Sonic game similar to this has ended up as a buggy mess that’s either quickly forgotten about or remembered in infamy, so why does this work so well?
In part, it’s due to how well integrated your existence in this world is. The game doesn’t just dump you into the world and expect you to swallow a world that looks like ours, and there’s a reason for this (that we won’t spoil). In addition to this new world, you have a unique combat system based on performing combos, which is mostly the one button to do different movies. Still, there’s also the ability to do a Stomp move that’ll wipe out the nearby enemies.
Sonic Frontiers has potential in spades, but there are a lot of issues that could come in. From what I saw, there were still pop-in issues, and the game itself could suffer from the classic Sonic syndrome of too much fast and too little at the same time. We’ll see what comes later and whether further reveals are much better than the initial reveal.