Sonic Frontiers

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Sonic Frontiers review
Camrin Santchi


Breath of Fresh Air

Live and Learn

Back in July when this reviewer covered Sonic Origins, it was noted that Sega typically tries its best to lean on the so called 'Classic Era' in hopes of nostalgia drumming up sales, most notified by 2D games like Sonic Mania or the inclusion of Classic Sonic's design and gameplay in Sonic Forces. In the leadup to Sonic Frontiers though, it appeared that Sega was moving forward and would be starting to do something with the 'Adventure Era', the generation of Sonic games that began with Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast that was noted for a change in gameplay from 2D to 3D and more dramatic stories.

To this fan of the franchise, this is nothing short of a good thing as it shows Sega and Sonic Team were willing to look at what went wrong with some of their more recent outings and start trying to find ways to reel back in jaded fans, learning from past mistakes in story and or gameplay that have left some mocking the franchise as a whole, or at least its 3D outings.

His World

Sonic Frontiers starts with the Blue Blur himself and his friends Amy Rose and Miles "Tails" Prower approaching a strange location called the Starfall Islands- apparently the seven mystical and powerful Chaos Emeralds had all found their way there through mysterious circumstances, but before the team could come in for a landing, a mysterious portal opens up in the sky, sucking the group into what will soon become known as CyberSpace, a mysterious digital dimension that resembles previous Sonic outings in both gameplay and appearance.

Upon exiting CyberSpace Sonic is met by a mysterious voice telling him that he is 'the Key', and that to save his friends he must defeat beings called Titans. It isn’t until a little later on that Sonic meets the first island's Titan, Gigantos, but the rough encounter leaves him realizing that he’ll need the power of Super Sonic, the golden Super Saiyan-esque form that he can take with all seven Chaos Emeralds, in order to actually defeat it and save his friends.

Reach for the Stars

There are lots of collectibles to be found in the Starfall Islands, all of which are important to progression in their own way. The classic golden rings will act as Sonic's HP, allowing him to take hits and gather them up before they fade away, and if the count is maxed will allow his Boost to turbo-charge. Memory tokens allow the viewing of cutscenes where Sonic discusses the islands and their mysterious ruins with the friend held captive (Amy on the first island, for example), or even allow him to interact with the mysterious Sage, a mysterious humanoid that wants Sonic off the Starfall Islands for her own purposes. Along with these, gamers can find Red Seeds of Power and Blue Seeds of Defense which will allow Sonic to boost his strength, Gears that open up CyberSpace levels, and Vault Keys that allow Sonic access to the sealed off Chaos Emeralds. Another collectible of sorts are the peculiar yet adorable Kocos which can be found scattered throughout the islands, returning them to an Elder will raise Sonic’s max speed or ring count, which is always handy.

Players can collect these items in nearly any way that they prefer, which adds to the openness of Sonic Frontiers. They can be found through exploring and making use of the new Cyloop ability, a fleshed out combat system new to the franchise, CyberSpace levels, or even fishing with Big the Cat! This flexibility encourages players of all kinds to be able to complete the game at their own pace, so even if you find fishing mini-games boring or the combat awkward you have ways to keep moving forward without frustration.

Open Your Heart

The story in Sonic Frontiers is told in pieces as gamers collect memory tokens for the friend that is sealed away, unveiled as time passes across the islands and more becomes clear about the Ancients, the advanced species that once called the Starfall Islands home. This slow pacing could make some gamers impatient, but this reviewer found that it perfectly fit the story that was being told and its theme of love in all shapes and forms, from the love of life itself to romantic or even familial or brotherly love.

The game isn't perfect unfortunately, and suffers from some issues. At times the camera won't cooperate, and Sonic is prone to going so fast that the game has trouble keeping up, causing some noticeable pop-in depending on just how fast you're going. These aren't game-breaking by any means, and are indicative of Sonic Team's new approach needing some ironing out before it could truly be called perfected. But the potential is certainly there for something amazing, and it shines through even with those occasional issues.

Endless Possibilities

Sonic Frontiers is a game with a lot going for it, but is somewhat held back by the technical issues of a character as fast as Sonic. It does provide a path forward into a new era of Sonic games that could revive the series and unite the fans behind it. Exploring the Starfall Islands can be as relaxing or as hectic as the player desires, and there is plenty of room for more games like this in the future of the franchise. The added mechanics of an open world and a skill tree allow for players to really feel the growth in Sonic's speed and strength as the game progresses, and the customization in the options allow for a grasp on Sonic's speed and manoeuvrability that no other Sonic game has yet attempted. This reviewer feels optimistic about the Sonic franchise to come now that it has taken some steps into a new frontier.

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fun score


Story, Character Writing, Potential for the Future


Ironically Slow Story, Camera, Pop-in