Sonic Frontiers Preview – Sonic Frontiers Preview – Fingers-On With Sonic’s Open-Zone Journey

Sonic Frontiers raced amongst 2022’s most anticipated video games when it debuted through the 2021 Sport Awards. Sega has been secretive about what the open-world – or somewhat “open-zone” – sport entails, agonizing followers desirous to learn the way the hedgehog fares in a bigger world. Throughout Summer time Sport Fest Play Days, I spent half-hour taking part in Frontiers to get a way of how the journey is shaping up to date. I nonetheless have many questions, however I walked away with clearer expectations and a few glimmers of hope. 

Our blue hero awakens in a bit of the sprawling grassy space of Starfall Islands. Although vast, the early part was extra linear than what’s appeared in movies, so I nonetheless did not get an entire sense of the way it will really feel to discover extra expansive places. Dazed and confused, Sonic ponders his buddies’ fates in a scene that feels extra melancholy than I anticipated. Whereas I don’t know the total context of Sonic’s plight, I don’t have a lot time to ponder it since I’m given the reins to begin operating. Frontiers’ controls really feel acquainted for followers of Sonic’s current 3D outings; for instance, he sports activities his signature spin sprint and homing assaults. Nonetheless, stringing collectively these instructions executes extra superior maneuvers, resembling leaping after which air-dashing to dash up vertical surfaces. 

Sonic strikes fairly quick by default, however hitting a lift button sends him flying with an exhilarating sense of pace that may also be exhausting to manage.  I generally veered into partitions over cliffs till I bought my bearings; sprinting round bigger areas felt nice as soon as I did. Bounce pads, grind rails, and grapple factors litter the area, with the cartoony decor showing humorously misplaced within the extra sensible surroundings. 

These spots really feel like bite-sized playgrounds, providing small platforming challenges to earn extra rewards. One prolonged, topsy-turvy rail served as a speedy shortcut again to the beginning space. Executing successive homing assaults to shortly snap between bounce springs to succeed in elevated platforms, rails, or rings appears like 3D Sonic 101. Nonetheless, the digital camera can lose monitor of the hedgehog and generally orients the view in jarring methods. 

Sonic Frontier’s motion feels extra concerned than simply buzz-sawing by way of baddies and shifting on. A sentry-like enemy required me to learn its assault patterns, dodge its offense utilizing the left/proper bumpers, and zip in with the lock-on assault to execute a flurry of assaults earlier than backing off and restarting the method. Pummeling this machine felt satisfying sufficient, and I loved operating circles round it because it tried, and failed, to maintain up with me. 

Along with amassing rings, Sonic additionally gathers hearts that fill a meter to unlock talent factors. Spending these factors unlocked new skills from a tree. The primary transfer obtainable, the Cyloop, creates a glowing streak behind Sonic by holding down Triangle/Y whereas operating. By sprinting and forming a circle, the Cyloop reveals any buried goodies, resembling rings, inside its round boundary. I additionally used it to mild a sequence of torches to unlock a door. When Cyloop is utilized to fight, creating the circle round foes breaks their defenses, leaving them weak to assault. I bought essentially the most bang for my buck by encircling a number of opponents, bringing complete mobs to their knees. Cyloop looks like a enjoyable potential, and I am itching to see how the remainder of the sport leverages the mechanic. 


My abilities have been examined towards a towering mechanical boss aptly named “Tower.” This vertical colossus fires mortar-like projectiles and surrounds itself with a spiky ring that strikes up and down its physique. The crux of my assault includes trapping Tower in a Cyloop, shattering tiers of its physique to scale back its peak. I then rush in to deal melee harm whereas conserving conscious of the shifting spike ring, which punishes gamers for getting too grasping or reckless. I dug the technique of this encounter essentially the most, and it supplied essentially the most enjoyable by way of combining Sonic’s pace along with his offense. 

After felling Tower, I acquire keys used to unlock the primary of a number of chaos emeralds, and my demo concludes there. General, Sonic Frontiers confirmed flashes of promise in my time with it. Going quick feels nice, the Cyloop potential appears cool and made me excited to see different powers, and the platforming felt ample if acquainted. Nonetheless, a number of the legacy jank by way of the unreliable digital camera and finicky concentrating on reared its head, albeit occasionally. 

As others have famous from earlier gameplay trailers, the presentation seems first rate however tough in spots. Sonic Frontiers very a lot seems like a sport nonetheless in improvement, so it is commonplace to see less-polished edges. I deliver this up solely as a result of I’m wondering how previous the demo is and if it precisely represents the sport’s present state. Given the sport’s fall 2022 launch window, I can’t assist however really feel barely involved about whether or not or not Sega can polish the expertise up in time. If it might probably, and the remainder of Sonic Frontiers well capitalizes on the weather I resonated with, Sonic’s largest journey but may very well be one for the books. For now, shade me cautiously optimistic. 

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