Over the years, the character of Sonic he's definitely been through his ups and downs. After all, SEGA has never abandoned its hero symbol, the blue hedgehog who has quickly become one of the most representative icons of the world of video games, and to do so he has often decided to take the franchise and take it in decidedly unusual directions. Sonic Frontiers is certainly one of those attempts, given that the idea behind the game seems to have no precedent in the history of the blue hedgehog saga.
It is also true that, at least from the first announcement trailers, the game has not made a great impression on the public and insiders: an uninteresting gameplay, a rather meager open world (especially when compared to the great classics of the genre) and more general a not indifferent paucity seemed to be decidedly not very encouraging characteristics.
However, if sonic frontiers it did not seem at first glance to do justice to its brand, looking like an unripe and poorly finished product, it is equally true that over the weeks the fog has partially cleared, until it was finally possible to get your hands on the full version of the game. First of all, it is better to clarify one thing immediately, answering the question that more than any other is holding the court among fans of the hedgehog: is Frontiers the Zelda Breath of the Wild from the Sonic saga? The answer is no. In the sense that on the one hand the game is the most ambitious turn in the series since Sonic Adventure, on the other hand he can't get too close to the Nintendo masterpiece (nor does he want to).
The story of sonic frontiers it is obviously quite usual, although you deviate quite a bit from the classic canons to which the hedgehog has accustomed us: Sonic is found together with Tails e Amy, when an inexplicable event separates the three friends from each other. Upon awakening, Sonic finds himself on an unknown island, with no trace of his companions: where is he, and why is he there? The answer to this and other questions outline a rather interesting narrative, able to emphasize the planet inhabited by some small creatures called Koco, intertwined with an ancient civilization known as the Ancients.
Historical figures like Knuckles e eggman will obviously make an appearance, as well as Big the Cat and other special guests that we will not reveal so as not to spoil the surprise. Nonetheless, the more "adult" story and the at times suffused and decidedly less light-hearted atmosphere than usual will make our racing on the starfall islands very interesting.
First, the Sonic Team has often insisted on using the definition of an open zone game rather than an open world one. Translated, what we will find before us is an open space full of collectibles - such as seeds that enhance attack or defense, passing through tokens or gears - with the aim of beating the end-of-level boss and thus unlocking new areas. Yes, in the meantime there will be platform sections that have made Sonic famous over the years, but in Frontiers everything seems to move in a different and certainly atypical direction.
The map therefore offers in fact freely explorable segments and not a real open world (thus giving weight to the words of the developers), with various more or less complex challenges to be completed before KOing the supervillain on duty. Once this point has been clarified, it must be said that in an almost completely unexpected way, sonic frontiers it works and quite well too. The accent is not placed on exploratory freedom or on the epic breath of the settings, as happens in a Breath of the Wild, but in Sonic's moveset, which makes everything extremely functional to the context.
The Next Challenge
The platform phases are the ones Sonic has always accustomed us to in the various 3D chapters released so far; we have the search attack that will allow us to surprise enemies or reach hooks and ramps, plus the possibility of chaining combos through the use of specific skills that we will earn during the adventure. A separate note for the boss fight, which clearly wink at Shadow of the Colossus, although they are less epic than expected.
As for the technical sector, the PlayStation 5 version defends itself quite well: the settings are quite vast and suggestive, as are the models of the main and non-main characters. Of course, we are far from peaks of excellence capable of rewriting the genre, but the result is still of an excellent standard, despite some flaws here and there (especially as regards the pop-up of objects and other elements of the scenario, a flaw that we imagine will be corrected with the usual patches expected in the coming weeks).
Also, there are some things that prevent a sonic frontiers to touch full marks: the control system and the command scheme sometimes don't seem to work together as they should, a defect that seems to be inherited from all Sonic chapters made in three dimensions. Even the virtual camera stumbles from time to time, just as it sometimes happens to run into environmental puzzles whose difficulty is really reduced to a minimum, as well as a variety that is not always at the top. In any case, the latest 3D title in the saga manages to outstrip games like Sonic Forces, Sonic Unleashed and Sonic and the Secret Rings by several inches, which is no small feat.
- Sonic Frontiers (Tested on PS5)8Final Vote
Sonic Frontiers, in an almost completely unexpected way, turns out to be one of the best three-dimensional chapters of the saga, especially after some missteps released over the years that had almost completely discouraged the fanbase, orphaned of a 3D episode that managed to keep up with the famous and beloved Sonic Adventure. Frontiers, therefore, could be an excellent starting point for future chapters, as well as a game not to be missed if you are a fan of the most famous blue hedgehog ever.