Sonic Frontiers is a pretty decent attempt at an open-world Sonic game however, it does have its faults and can feel a little monotonous at times. Saying that, I did have fun in this crazy new world that Sonic Team created.
Your adventure begins on Kronos Island, the first of 5 islands, with Sonic who’s on a mission to free his friends from a digital world known as Cyber Space. You’re not given much direction by the game so you’ll find yourself traversing the landscape, collecting coins, griding rails and testing your combat skills on several types of enemies. Soon enough you’ll come across vaults which are scattered throughout each island. By using ‘gears’ collected from your battles you can open these vaults and enter the Cyber Space dimension. As you complete the 2D and 3D levels within you earn Vault Keys allowing you to further unlock Chaos Emeralds, necessary for progressing to the epic boss battles ahead.
Boosting around the large, open land you’ll also encounter a number of puzzles and mini games. By completing these tasks you not only further unlock sections of the map and skill points for a rather basic skill tree, but you will build Sonic’s Power, Defence, Ring and Speed levels. Be prepared as there is a lot of wandering and at times it feels as though Sonic isn’t as fast as you’d like him to be. There is an added Fast Travel capability but it’s only unlockable by completing all challenges on a map first or by chance, picking up the rare Koco Scroll in the fishing mini-game.
Now that you’ve figured out the gameplay and completed the first island map (and boss battle which we’ll get to later), it’s on to island #2 with a completely different landscape and new mini-boss encounters. This is where it can get a little repetitive. The overall gamplay and story direction isn’t exactly bad, its just quite tedious. If you’re a Sonic enthusiast then I have no doubt you’ll love spending hours exploring the lay of the land and attempting every grind and jump available, it just may not be for everyone – even if it does give you Breath of the Wild vibes.
The boss fights however are something that will surely excite every player. When you go up against these Titans it feels like a crazy mashup of two of my favourite games: Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Rising. As you transform into ‘Super Sonic’ the energy of the game lifts, as does the soundtrack which is amplified during these battles. Combat controls are relatively easy and Auto-Combo (once unlocked) makes it simple enough for anyone to use. One thing to note though, which I didn’t realise until after a few rage inducing battles, is that parry is not contingent on timing. You can block continuously (L1 + R1 on the PS4/PS5) in order to reflect incoming attacks.
So what did I love about Sonic Frontiers?
- Exciting new gameplay that incorporates 2D and 3D views in an open-world environment
- The Cyber Space levels present some beautifully reimagined environments of classic stages like Green Hill Zone and Chemical Plant
- The soundtrack is epic and is amplified during boss fights
- Combat and general movement is straightforward and easy to remember
What frustrated me about Sonic Frontiers?
- Repetitive gameplay loop that can make it feel tiresome
- Persistent cutscenes can get annoying and leave a lot to be desired
- Long leadup to boss fights can be frustrating if you have to fight them again
- Can often get stuck on one of the 2D platforms when bouncing around in the normal 3D perspective
- Graphically it doesn’t live up to new-gen standards
Overall this isn’t a terrible game, but it’s not a great game either. It’s a good first attempt at putting Sonic in an open-world adventure game but it is very tedious. Sonic fans will likely love the new vision while other players may leave the game feeling disappointed. The nostalgic throwbacks and soundtrack are what saved it for me.
Thank you to Five Star Games for the review code!
Gaming, Pop Culture and Tech Enthusiast who has an obsession with the 90’s. I have a long running background in the IT & Audio Visual Industry, followed by substantial experience in Business Development, Sales & Digital Marketing.