Sonic Frontiers is the latest installment in the turbulent Sega Franchise. The trailer promised an open world, high speed adventures, and a fresh take on the gameplay. Whilst this game is a step in the right direction for the Sonic franchise, the execution of new mechanics and performance of the game leaves much to be desired.
Usually with a Sonic game, the most reliable parts are visuals. Sonic and his supporting cast have always had excellent designs and clearly defined personalities e.g. Tails is smart, Eggman is dastardly, and Amy is an eight year-old boy’s idea of what a girl is.
Along with the visuals, you can always count on the soundtracks, despite being corny, to deliver a very personalized tone and stay stuck in your head for most of your childhood. And, whilst some of the songs on this soundtrack do exactly that, others make the frustrating parts of the boss battles even more frustrating.
From this point on, there will be nothing positive because overall, this game is utterly miserable. It’s baffling as to why every game nowadays wants to be either a Dark Souls or Zelda: Breath of the Wild-like ripoff. Let’s start with the absolutely abysmal user interface. In this game, Sonic can level up his attack, defence, speed and ring capacity.
However, most of these upgrades are absolutely meaningless as, at the end of the day, it is still a Sonic game and they have never needed a level system. What’s worse is that the way you upgrade these stats is absolutely broken, it works in dark souls because you can level up a lot in one go and then return to the game.
However, in Sonic Frontiers it will take you over 30 minutes to reach maximum levels in speed and ring capacity, and no, that’s not because levelling up is easy (which it is but that will be covered later) it’s because it takes 20 seconds (which is unskippable) each time you want to get a new level. There are 198 possible levels and an annoying three second wait time to simply select which attribute you want to level up.
It’s such basic game design to make the level system the least time-consuming portion of the game so that players can just get on with having fun, it’s baffling that the Sonic team can even piece together a somewhat coherent game at all.
Now we move onto the gameplay and story. Sonic Frontiers has the same gameplay as any other game in the franchise. Only now the style is cut and pasted into an open world with no personality. There is nothing to do whatsoever other than go do a cool loop-the-loop on a glitchy rail and collect some annoying little McGuffins in order to push through the game like swimming through molasses.
You randomly shoot into the air while running fast if the terrain decides Sonic’s feet have spent too much time doing what they’re supposed to. This means Sonic flies off into death at points you have no control over nor can you prevent it by avoiding certain things because you don’t know what part of slightly jagged terrain causes it.
There are parts on each island where Sonic can go fishing with Big the Cat. This is where the game is fundamentally broken as it basically acts as a shortcut to gaining levels by doing a repetitive minigame in a pond filled with fish and lighting glitches. You acquire purple tokens to access this minigame, and whilst they should be rare, you can rack up thousands by doing a stupid slot machine by collecting fallen stars during a meteor shower.
In the shop within this minigame you can buy important story items to get through things quicker. So this game works by giving you a choice between playing the game or pressing a single button over and over until the credits roll.
In terms of story, there isn’t one really, it’s a super dull ‘Sonic must save his friends while Eggman messes with him until sonic inevitably wins’ plot. But thrown into the mix are weird water people that kind of look like chaos, the villain from Sonic Adventure, and Titans which are just very poor rip-offs of Neon Genesis Evangelion angels.
These Titans are the bosses Sonic must face with the aid of the chaos emeralds, however all of these boss battles are so stupidly easy but horrifically broken that one part will you give serious trouble and then you figure it out and then sonic wins immediately. The ending of the game was supposed to have a heart wrenching moment of sadness but all it did was make me laugh out loud because of how unearned it was.
There is absolutely nothing satisfying in this game, it’s a waste of time and made me regret ever buying it. There are many things you should do instead of playing this game. For example: work on your dissertation, go to work, tell someone important to you that you love them. Life is too short to spend even 10 minutes playing this game.
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