Hand in hand: you know what? Sonic Frontiers might actually be okay

Hand in hand: you know what?  Sonic Frontiers might actually be okay
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Sonic Frontiers PS5 PS4 1

We played Sonic Frontiers at EGX not once, but twice. Normally we wouldn’t undergo more than one Sonic demo than necessary, and as you’d expect, the queue was consistently long. The problem is that after playing the 15 minute portion of the Open Zone experience for the first time, we realized something pretty shocking. Did we really just enjoy a 3D Sonic game? Is something like this even possible? Are we just sleepless and dehydrated? For science and our own sanity, we had to look.

We’re obviously joking a little here, but it’s basically the truth. To be honest, our expectations of Sonic Team’s latest attempt were pretty low before we sat down to play it. The game’s earliest footage was hardly encouraging, and that’s without considering the Hedgehog’s patchy history of 3D platformers. Opinions on Frontiers have been everywhere since its reveal earlier this year, but hands-on reports (including our own from Gamescom) have been relatively positive. After finally playing it for ourselves, we more or less understand where this feeling comes from.

Sonic Frontiers PS5 PS4 2

A brief cutscene tells us that Sonic has escaped cyberspace and arrived on the first of a series of islands. The Starfall Islands will make up the bulk of the game, and the hedgehog’s main objective is to scour these environments for the Chaos Emeralds so he can save his colorful friends and return home. To be honest, we don’t mind all that much; We want to feel Sonic controlling, because that’s been our main blue blur issue since he discovered the Z axis.

We’re a bit surprised that we have more control over Sonic’s movements than we remember from previous 3D games. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s different, but it is is different, in a good way. It’s possibly because the game gives you a lot more freedom to just roam around – there’s a lot less chance of accidentally tossing the mascot to its undoing. We played with the slightly slower control method, which may be why jumps felt easier to predict and execute. Maybe, just maybe, Sonic Team ironed out some of the rough edges that made the character so finicky in the past. All we really know is that we really enjoyed just navigating the grassy plains of Frontiers.

Sonic Frontiers PS5 PS4 3

The cyloop ability that Sonic has in this game is also a nice addition to his moveset. It has a few uses but is most useful in combat. You can trace a shape on the floor and closing it will create some kind of reaction inside. If there are enemies in the loop, they will be launched into the air where you can give them a few punches. This also works on larger villains, potentially forcing them to drop their vigilance or reveal a weak spot.

Speaking of combat, we’re not sure what to make of it just yet. Enemies with soft grunts are easy to take down with Sonic’s usual homing attack, or you can spam the button for a barrage of hits. This is how we almost exclusively dealt damage. While we know there will be more moves to unlock, our experience has been quite repetitive. A very generous parry, lock-on, and dodge make combat pretty easy, which we suppose they should be, but we weren’t in love either way.

We’re also a little unsure about the environmental design. As you uncover the map by solving simple puzzles, you will slowly reveal floating springs, platforms and rails. In a more traditional Sonic game, these are harmless elements that serve to keep you moving in different ways. In Frontiers, these things feel completely out of place with the rest of the environment. They also come by like it’s nobody’s business. The problem is, we understand why they’re there – it’s fun to grind on rails, hop onto little hidden platforms and use those as sort of shortcuts to get around the world. They’re just so inorganically implemented that it feels unfinished.

Sonic Frontiers PS5 PS4 4

In our second game of the demo, we got to try out one of the Cyber ​​Space levels, which we believe is based on Sky Sanctuary. A definite change from the open zone, these stages are short, fast bursts of the kind of levels you’re familiar with from previous 3D Sonic outings. We blasted it through in under a minute and there was very little challenge, which again isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but hopefully these levels will fill up and give you more to think about as you progress.

We highlighted a few negative points in this preview, but overall we felt a little better about Sonic Frontiers after the demo. The only thing that has plagued these games for years is slippery, inaccurate, random movements, and what we can say is that Sonic feels much better at maneuvering here. It’s difficult to say exactly what’s changed, but the open space and some general improvements seem to have resulted in the best 3D Sonic game in a long time. Of course, we only played 30 minutes total, watched a very small portion of the game, and unlocked none of the Hedgehog’s later abilities, so who knows how the full experience will play out. At the moment, however, we are (very) cautiously optimistic.

Sonic Frontiers will race to PS5 and PS4 on November 8th, 2022. Are you excited for the new direction of the SEGA mascot? Run in circles in the comments section below.

#Hand #hand #Sonic #Frontiers

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