Sonic Frontiers

released on Nov 08, 2022

Worlds will collide in Sonic the Hedgehog’s newest adventure.

An experience like never before, accelerate to new heights and experience the thrill of high velocity open-zone freedom. Battle powerful enemies as you speed through the Starfall Islands - landscapes brimming with dense forests, overflowing waterfalls, sizzling deserts and more!

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I hope they re-iterate on this, however the fucking UI is one of the worst, sluggish, unresponsive things I've ever used.

This little blue critter's franchise sure has had a rough journey. While the new Mario movie likely won't be a masterpiece, the trailers suggest an air of polish and prestige, to match a fairly solid run of games. All the while the Sonic movie might best be remembered for a botched first draft of the character ("uuum.. meow?") rushed back into post production. As someone who grew up with Sonic and not Mario, it's quite devastating to see the hedgehog undergo such an identity crisis. In fairness, the last game I completed was Sonic Heroes, but I've seen enough of the werewolf Sonic and gun-tootin' Shadow games to know things got rough early on.
Frontiers feels like Sega and Team Sonic setting out to reclaim some relevance and insist to be taken seriously once again. The game demonstrates this firstly through reinvention of past "classics" - you'll see the familiar Chemical Plant and Green Hill zones plus gameplay of Sonic 3D, Spinball and even fishing with Big the Cat.
The rest of the game borrows from elsewhere, literally any actual classic game is up for grabs: Zelda BOTW, Shadow of the Colossus (mixed with a bit of Neon Genesis Evangeleon) and even Death Stranding. Unsurprisingly, this creates a mixed atmosphere and, more often than not, clashes with the goofy-ass characters. The Sonic 'content' itself feels rather stale against its mish-mash of a backdrop: the voice acting now feels tired and without much conviction; the random platforms that render delayed into the map are repetitive and barely rewarding; the puzzle segments are just as mundane.
The main strength I reckon would be the boss battles, as the gigantic mecha demons each have specific ways of being taken down, whether its grinding along 'tail-trails' in the air or in a sort-of wrestling ring scenario. It's rather telling though when the game's other main strenth is its mini levels that throwback to those 2D halcyon days.
It's a mess but undoubtedly an ambitious one. Frontiers may even be considered a step in the right direction, or at least a better one than before. But fast though little guy can run, Sonic will still need to work to keep up with his Nintendo contemporaries.

What a bizarre game. If I could give it a 7.5/10 I would, but I ultimately enjoyed my time with it so I'm going to round up.
I should probably be clear from the start that I'm a Sonic fan, and I've been a Sonic fan since I was a kid. I think the series has had an incredibly bumpy trajectory and I really wasn't sure what to make of this game based on pre-release footage. The funny thing is that I've put 20 hours into it and I'm still not sure what to make of it.
I could write a whole laundry list of the game's notable issues: The texture pop in is atrocious. There's a lot of repetitive collecting to pad out the game time and encourage you to explore the whole open world. The cyberspace levels, while fine, are mostly just slightly-reworked versions of stages from previous Sonic games.
And yet, despite all that, I kept wanting to play more of it. And I think it really comes down to one thing - Sonic as a character is perfect for an open world setting. I never got bored of zipping and zooming around the (surprisingly big) open world maps, and enjoyed the frequent bite-sized platforming challenges. I think traversal is really the key to my enjoyment of an open world game, and Frontiers absolutely nails it.
While the actual story of the game was pretty forgettable in my opinion, I'm glad they got IDW comics writer Ian Flynn to work on this game because the character moments between Sonic and his friends are incredibly charming and have definitely been missing from the games for a long time now. I love seeing Sonic and Knuckles as friends who constantly try to one-up each other for fun, or Sonic acting as an older brother to Tails and telling him that he's never seen him as a burden.
The combat is...fine, I didn't love it but I didn't hate it. The boss fights deliver on the kind of over-the-top spectacle you want from a Super Sonic boss fight and I'm glad they didn't skimp on them.
If you're not already a Sonic fan, I doubt this game is going to make you a convert. But hey, if going really really fast in an open world sounds cool to you, I'd recommend getting this on sale. The game absolutely has issues but the core gameplay loop totally works and I'm genuinely excited to see what a sequel to Frontiers will look like.

This would be the easiest Sonic game to recommend if the music weren't so bland and if the writing weren't so awful. While the individual levels are just "fun," whatever that means, the overworld parts are genuinely experimental and fascinating. Certainly more inspired than a Sonic game has been since SA2, even if it cannot aspire to the heights of that title.

It feels like an AI made this game. The way the world is laid out feels almost random. The environments look like they were free assets from a unity engine game. Frontiers is not a bad game. It just feels like more of an experiment than a fleshed out idea.

Sonic Frontiers is a GOOD game, that much I can say for the very least, especially given the absolute train ride Sonic fans have gone through in the decade of game releases that came before Frontiers. The game's hype moments in the boss fights are no doubt going down as some of the most epic and fun moments the franchise has ever seen, with some musical surprises for those who don't know what's ahead for them. The game continues SEGA's track record of including junk nobody asked for unfortunately. The Cyberspace levels have a pretty awkward sense of control if you're familiar with 2D Sonic and most of the levels are rather unremarkable, if not plain bad, but there are definitely a handful of great highlights that I found myself replaying. They ended up being fairly easy in order to 100% complete with all 4 objectives. (Completion, Time Rank, Red Rings, and X ring total). The overworld is pretty fun to traverse. Sonic controls very well in a large open space, but I found the islands themselves to be pretty underwhelming for the most part. The game on large feels like Sonic just dropped into an Unreal Engine 5 demo world, since the only SONIC universe additions are the enemies, most - if not all of which are in a new style of...gray and geometric with red shapes? They're all a little abstract looking mechs compared to what we've fought before. The game's objectives and length really dragged for me by the end but the in-game fishing mechanic lets you get a ton of collectibles as a reward for exploring for the Purple Coins. On the flipside, I found the character writing to be the best the franchise has ever seen. Ian Flynn knows these characters inside and out, and he just KNOWS how to get the likes of me engaged with what they're saying. I would always take the time to stop my adventure and watch the cutscenes or listen to characters talk. I really can't think of another time where these characters would just sit around and shoot the shit about what's going on with their lives. How do they feel about their relationship to Sonic? What do they want out of their lives? It's a healthy balance of not too dramatic and serious and fun, engaging delivery. The new character, Sage, is a big new favorite of mine and I think she's earned a place in the hearts of many other Sonic fans. I will keep the events involving her unspoiled for you to find out. The story itself however I thought was just ok. The main plot of going island to island dealing with what's going on there gets pretty tedious by the endgame, but the 4th Island shakes things up and has an absolutely stunning track to go with the story events there. Despite my negativity about the gameplay, Frontiers was a game I truly did enjoy my time with and I would recommend the game as both a Sonic fan and someone who loves a good story. I just hope SEGA will take the stuff that worked here - music, writing, and combat, and cut out the nonsense like the bad 2D levels and extra puzzles nobody asked for. Here's to hoping Sonic makes a comeback. Only the next game will tell us if they learned.