Sonic Frontiers Review – Into The Wild Blue Yonder – Game Informer

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In Sonic Frontiers, Sega finds the intersection of the series’ linear past and its “open-zone” future, paying capable service to both eras of the franchise. Open Starfall Islands offer engaging exploration, while linear cyberspace stages offer the familiar motion-based sonic experience. While there are flaws on each side of the coin, Frontiers is an overall positive experience that serves as a boost in the right direction for the franchise.

Running in open areas is often a pleasurable experience. Sonic controls remarkably well as he moves through lush fields, sandy straits, and other biomes during his 30-hour playthrough. The islands provide terrifying playgrounds through which Sonic grinds, pounds and bounces; Hitting a dash panel that sends you down a rail, a spring, and into a row of rings never quite satisfies. Thanks to the tight 3D gameplay, the satisfaction of how well it feels to chain these segments together is reinforced.

The most notable new ability in Sonic’s arsenal is the Cyloop, a blue trail you activate with the push of a button. The cyloop has a combat utility – building a circle around enemies deals damage, stuns them, or breaks armor – but its primary use is in exploration; If ever I didn’t know what to do, the answer was usually to draw a siloop around the object in question. You can also run in circles to create infinite rings, a method I often used in boss fights. I love this mechanic overall, but the reasons in the world of using it are sometimes a shoestring feel.

On top of this, many areas of open areas are not optimized for exploration. In-world obstacle courses are among the worst offenders. No matter how many times I tried to go in one direction, I lost track, only to hit a dash panel that sent me flying hundreds of feet in the opposite direction before I knew what had happened. This dilemma has been brought to mind by brutal pop-ins, which primarily affect rail and platforming elements in open areas, making it difficult to figure out the best way to navigate. Other sections force you into 2D perspective and lock you into a set path until you complete a sequence or backtrack through that area. When realized combined with various dead-ends and areas, the world design of Sonic Frontiers does not quite reach the standard of modern open-world games.

Although the open-zone design sometimes lacks cohesion, the islands do a great job of fleshing out the core gameplay loop. Exploration rewards you with memory tokens for advancing side-character stories, but outside of lore and revealing maps, scouring every corner of an island is hardly as fruitful as I would have liked.

When you’re not sprinting between destinations, Sonic Frontiers gives players the most comprehensive combat mechanics in the history of the series. What starts out as button mashing for melee combos as you face new enemies that can counter and block your attacks. As you level up the skill tree, you unlock more fast-paced combos to inflict devastating damage on your enemies. While combat is far from the highlight, I enjoyed engaging with enemies when they popped up, and the collectibles and skill points made the encounters worthwhile.

However, perhaps the greatest reward comes from defeating enemies and mini-boss guardians in the open field. These guardians offer novel battles against a wide range of monsters, offering unique encounters that require you to use a variety of tactics to win. From creatures that take you through the world to a tank that creates a closed area and turns the encounter into a bullet-hell experience, I was always excited to see what bosses lay in the island next. Huh.

Defeat Guardians offers Cyberspace Gears, which lets you access linear, more traditional 3D Sonic levels. These steps concentrate the action into bite-sized pieces, which often last less than a few minutes. Each stage has four objectives that provide key collectible Chaos Emerald Vault keys to progress the main story.

I loved playing the levels over and over to complete all these goals; Efficiently speeding up the steps of these branches is satisfying beyond belief. However, the S-Rank timing is poorly balanced, meaning that sometimes I end up timing my first attempt, while others are unrealistic until you nail a full run.

The culmination of each island is a massive boss battle against the Titan of that area. Each Titan battle is quite different, but as Super Sonic they all have you facing off against an impossibly large enemy. Since Sonic’s golden form is invincible but slowly lowers the rings, fighting is more about beating the clock than worrying about damage. This dynamic often leads to frustration as their attacks and projectile spam tend to delay you as you watch your ring count drop. But with music that seems to be ripped straight from an anime credits sequence and multi-stage battles that get more climax with each transition, the epic, over-the-top nature of these battles won me over and some of the most memorable moments. Games provided.

Against the bulk of these bombastic boss battles, Sonic’s adventure is a largely solitary experience. Save for the occasional interaction with his friends and a mischievous AI character, our hero goes it alone. This, along with the minimalistic musical score, sets a contemplative tone that I enjoyed despite the series’ seeming opposition to the theme of tempo.

This tone fits the more scandalous narrative. The eponymous blue elephant is still the same fun-loving speedster. But with a story centered around a mysterious species that seemingly caused tragedy long ago, this story is the most mature Sonic ever, and it pretty much works. The story includes some of the best character moments and episodic callbacks in the history of the series; From Sonic 3 to Sonic Forces, hardcore fans will love the references passed by the characters to their past adventures. I won’t spoil the conversation, but a chat from Sonic with a friend about personal development is as heartfelt as the franchise has ever been.

Although it’s rough around the edges, Sonic Frontiers is the best 3D Sonic game in years. This first attempt at the open-zone concept is a commendable attempt, and I can’t wait to see how the Sonic team iterates on this formula in future entries, but it’s clear that this is not the final form of the formula. . For now, Sonic Frontiers stands out as a solid first attempt at a brave new world for Sega’s quick mascot.

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