Sonic Frontiers Xbox Series X Review

Sonic Frontiers has several exciting concepts, but it was poorly implemented overall and recycled many problems from the series' previous entries.

By Rayan, Posted 13 Nov 2022

Sonic is undeniably among the most iconic video game characters, but his prime has long passed. Since the 16-bit era, there has been an endless stream of Sonic games, and no good 3D Sonic game has been released in a long time. And instead of concentrating on what keeps Sonic great, SEGA often gets caught up in crafting a lopping story premise.

However, Sonic Frontiers has tried to remove most unnecessary distractions from the series and focused entirely on the blue blur. Though the concept of refinement is irrelevant in this context since it drifts off in its unique route as you attempt to steer him through monsters, platforming, and riddles.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

With Sonic Frontiers, the franchise now moves to an open-world design, allowing players complete freedom in how they go through the game. In many respects, Sonic Frontiers is a more relaxed experience when compared to its forerunners. On the other hand, this is particularly noticeable in his narration.

There is a sense of isolation on every island. It's a big world with a lot of interesting things to do and discover while the game chooses not to have a big adventure filled with various characters, both new and old, a convoluted narrative, and enemies throughout; instead, it decides to maintain its composure altogether.

Throughout your adventures to other islands, you'll find Memory Tokens, used to advance the plot, and Vault Keys, which unlock chests containing Chaos Emeralds. Finding the seven Chaos Emeralds and defeating a Titan on each island is essential to save your friends from Cyber-space. However, there are several options available for achieving both goals.

You can embark on a free-form adventure over the island, throwing yourself off leaps, platforms, and different structures to collect Memory Tokens. You could also do some fishing to earn credits for buying Memory Tokens with no fuss. You won't have to push the throttle to the floor as much; instead, the title will lead you on a more sedate journey.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

As is his custom, Dr. Eggman wastes no time getting everyone's day off to a rocky start at the beginning of Sonic Frontiers. As he explores a mysterious new island and meddles with its affairs, he is drawn into another world. Sonic and his friends Tails, Knuckles, and Amy are swept into a portal while staring at the Chaos Emeralds. After his long nap, Sonic finds himself in Cyber Space, a bizarre in-between reality that plays out much like the stages from the original Sonic games.

When he finally makes it to the Starfall Islands, he'll have to save his friends, track down the Chaos Emeralds, and solve a variety of challenges. After then, you'll invest your days battling gigantic creatures and attempting to rescue your friends, although the plot is really only there to facilitate the gameplay. The situation becomes more precarious now since the gameplay cycle of Sonic Frontiers does not change too much.

In Sonic Frontiers, Sonic embarks on a new journey that combines new and classic elements. The game introduces an open world where the player may freely explore five zones, each of which has objectives they must accomplish to unlock a section that lets them relive memorable events from previous Sonic games. Exploring the game world is fun, and so too controlling Sonic in there, but performing the same activities repeatedly to reveal the entire map and gather items becomes tedious soon.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

Especially when you're playing as Super Sonic and fighting giant monsters while also trying to save your pals from the holographic world they've created. In this game, Sonic must use a fighting system other than his trademark jumping and sprinting attack on monsters to advance; yet, while acquiring multiple skills, the fighting system typically relies on a single button. However, there is a button to dodge attacks and another for countering, both of which will come in handy when facing off against bosses.

Initially, the narrative may seem unusual, but they are crucial for understanding the rest of the game. The story's overall tone gets darkened the more it progresses, and there are several dramatic sequences to back it up. The platforming action in this game is much more verbal and narrative-driven than any of its predecessors, making Sonic Frontiers seem more like an action-adventure than a typical 3D platformer. Sadly, however, this is where the game somewhat falls short of expectations.

While the story's structure is grave, the tense atmosphere intermingled with humor doesn't come out to be highly effective. While rescuing his friends, Sonic can talk to them to exhaust the dialogue options, and once his attempts to collect Memory Tokens are finished, the narrative moves forward to the next. Whenever a chat concludes, the game prompts a new location to begin the next round of interaction. In addition, there are occasionally minigames and side quests added in the middle to keep us engaged in each map for a while.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

The game is, in a nutshell, split up into five massive, open-world maps. It's almost as if the game randomly arranged segments of the classic stages into a broader environment, allowing players complete freedom to explore anywhere they want. It's not as if you're just following a map with a series of dull points of interest; instead, you're always looking for something crucial, whether a collectable to advance the narrative or unlock additional levels.

But Sonic Frontiers has another alternative for you if you don't like going around a lot. Every level has a doorway that will take you to a fishing minigame starring Big the Cat. Purple coins, which can be discovered just about everywhere, can be used to play this minigame. You can get experience and points by capturing fish, which you can use to purchase items and continue through the tale. Due to its voluntary nature, fishing makes for a pleasant break from adventuring.

Sadly, unveiling the maps gets monotonous on every level and keeps repeatedly happening, driving you frustrated. This is particularly depressing since you are forced to complete several activities to access all the tracks to swiftly move around the map. While they are all essential from the narrative perspective, the game's primary objective soon turns out to be the collection of Chaos Emeralds either through completing quests for friends or unlocking Units using keys.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

This is where it gets more frustrating because Cyberspace's level-playing experiences determine whether you get the master keys. Even though Sonic seems far stronger and quicker than his opponents, we're forced to wait for the fights with the giants, as you won't be able to defeat them until you've collected all seven of the Chaos Emeralds and become Super Sonic.

At first, the sheer volume of collectibles could seem overwhelming, but you'll quickly adjust. When Sonic defeats an enemy, he earns experience points that may be used to advance up a skill tree and acquire more devastating attacks and special moves. Although the skill tree isn't extensive, it takes quite some time to unlock each new ability. Nevertheless, once you do, you'll find that they're somewhat helpful in battle and add up to the game's visual presentation.

In addition to your level, there are four metrics you should monitor; however, these attributes cannot be improved via experience points. Instead, you need to track down adorable tiny animals known as Koco and return them to a character named Elder Koco to level up your Speed and Rings. You can improve your Attack and Defense by returning two kinds of seed treasures to a man called Hermit Koco, which you may get by solving puzzles and opening up random boxes.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

The initial appeal of these concepts wanes as you go through Sonic Frontiers and its expanding adventure, which may take anywhere from fifteen to twenty hours on your first playthrough. Much of the game's appeal is snuffed out toward the conclusion, as the gameplay gets more difficult due to the camera control, and the level design seems to limit Sonic's potential speed.

Unfortunately, the game also has a severe pop-in issue, which may suddenly cause a brand-new rail to appear a few meters away. While it's fun and challenging to depict everything all at once, keeping up with Sonic's rapid movement across various surroundings, at the same time, it's still annoying to have to make split-second directional decisions when you have no idea what's going to come up next. It's quite annoying to be caught off guard by an unexpected element.

In addition, combat is optimized to be satisfying when pitted against one of the game's smaller creatures, while the larger enemies provide more challenging obstacles. Here, however, is when things start to go off the rails. Some encounters are more fruitful than others, and ones with the Titans, in particular, may grow dull or even irritating owing to how they are designed and can seem like they drag on forever. Even though Sonic may be made to seem ridiculously overpowering by unlocking various abilities, there are certain fights that are nonetheless tiring.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

The biggest and worst of them is the Asura, a three-armed monster that must be defeated in phases. To fight it, white speed gates are used as a mechanical element. These gates often malfunction, throwing you crashing in unpredictable ways; this makes traversing them a chore. Despite issues like this, battles are enjoyable for the most part, and problems encountered early on can usually be overcome by acquiring new abilities and unlocks as the game progresses.

In their long history, Sonic games have refined their style to near perfection. Considering this, the concept of frontiers makes perfect sense. Even yet, there are a few factors that are stacked against him. Of course, the technological part stands out the most. The ability to run at full speed over such vast areas is quite exciting on repeated occasions; while there are some interesting visual effects, the limitations are immediately apparent.

Selecting 4K automatically adjusts the frame rate to 60 fps, greatly enhancing the fluidity of the experience. Even if you choose a lower resolution, most components will still leap into view with startling clarity. Although this serves as a solid foundation for future 3D Sonic games, Sonic Team should remove any elements that don't fit or are unnecessary.

Sonic Frontiers, Xbox Series X, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Open World, NoobFeed

Sonic Frontiers has several exciting concepts, but it was poorly implemented overall and recycled many problems from the series' previous entries. Despite a few gameplay flaws that have troubled previous entries, this installment introduces several promising new concepts. The game's open world certainly plays to Sonic's strengths.

While there are certainly issues to be concerned about, the mix of the iconic high-speed platformer with the open world is innovative. It might be an excellent foundation to construct the franchise's future. If you can get beyond the technical issues, Sonic Frontiers plays quite well and will please longtime fans and those discovering the series for the first time.


Azfar Rayan (@AzfarRayan)
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): Sonic Team
Genres: 3D Platformer
Themes: Action, Adventure, Open World
Release Date: 2022-11-08

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