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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Alright, maybe Sonic Frontiers IS the next "Breath of the Wild"?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Well, so far it looks even more boring and worse in every way!

Today, SEGA. had a “Sonic Central” presentation that... isn't worth your while. At the end, they said to head to IGN if you want information on Sonic Frontiers, which is the game that many people think is trying to be like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild... I've said that, at the time of about half a year ago, it was too early to know what was going on with it.

Well, IGN has a trio (so far—they promise Sonic Frontiers content all month) of Sonic Frontiers videos so far. There is seven minutes of “World Premiere Gameplay” that involves Sonic aimlessly traversing a massive but quite empty field, six and a half minutes of “Combat Gameplay” which is as thrilling as Sonic spamming special attacks in a Super Smash Bros. game (not fun at all), and then eight minutes of semi-editorialised “The First Hands-On Impressions” that also includes quotes from the developers. For example, from Takashi Iizuka (Creative Officer at Sonic Team):

“Open world games like Zelda or other AAA games fundamentally have RPG or adventure worlds, for Sonic, the core here is a 3D action game. Our basic idea was to have that take place in an open space. What sets Sonic Frontiers apart is this different approach to an open game world.”

They really want to make a difference between “open world” and “open zone”, making the open zone more of a playground to interact with... empty space, and randomly placed unnatural objects like springs and grind-rails. I don't know how this is different than normal open world stuff, but I guess basic movement seems faster (and the world has to be bigger to accommodate how much faster you can travel through the space).

Sonic Frontiers face first into grass floor ground tower boss
I prefer yesterday's “face into the grass” photo of Toad than today's of Sonic the Hedgehog's.

They describe Sonic having a wider range of attacks and combat depth in Sonic Frontiers, such as dodging and the feel of the homing attack. There's also a new side loop ability and some kind of super wind kick thing. There are additional skills unlockable with a skill tree, which promises that Sonic, in fact, has more variety than what he has in Super Smash Bros..

After boss battles, there appear to be more linear traditional levels akin to those Super Mario Sunshine levels without FLUDD. They didn't show any footage of that, and the footage they were showing seemed to be at odds with the script about the world being fun. Sometimes there are puzzle elements to interact with (I guess they're like shrines or finding Koroks) but they don't seem very engaging.

The game has a... minimalistic soundtrack, much like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but unlike the other games in its franchise. (Which are known for some... very exciting soundtracks, which is why people make things like Sonic Heardle.) I don't understand why you'd purposefully want an uninteresting score in an open world game, unless you really want to be like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

While at least the Sonic Team is saying that Sonic Frontiers is unlike other open world games and it's the first of its kind or something, they seem to be taking a lot of design choices from other games (but doing it worse). I'm not impressed! And the game is supposed to come out in 2022. IGN said the game is obviously an in-development build and not the final thing, but SEGA really wants everyone to look at this incomplete gameplay and get their first impressions off of it, so they must think it at least resembles something fun and respectable. I don't think so.

To be fair, Ludwig wouldn't like Sonic Frontiers even if it was better than The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, since he has a lot of animosity towards that game style period. But maybe you think differently and saw all of that empty space and thought that the game would be a lot of fun? Let Ludwig know in the comments section.

Sonic Frontiers has something resembling of a story, though its dedicated story trailer lacks coherence and substance.
Ludwig's impressions about the game based off the video here is accurate, according to his demo experience.


  1. I didn’t even think that this might come to the switch eventually. I wonder what it’s like to work with and even occasionally rely on your biggest rival. Hmmm. I’m not so into Sonic or BOTW but I may end up getting this. Depending on how sonics speed ends up factoring in things will be very interesting. Of course there’s also the fact that there shouldn’t be any of that annoying crafting. Crafting is fine on its own but open world games always seem to take it to the extreme, which is the point but that’s never been my favorite thing.

    Either way I will NOT be going to IGN, I’ve had enough of that lot.

    1. The IGN first impressions were just really positive and it was very cognitively dissonant!

      They didn't mention crafting, just getting experience for the skill tree.

    2. Skill tree? I love those, one of my favorite gaming mechanics. I had so much fun with ultimates. Although it can be hard to get everything 100% filled towards the very end.

    3. It's not hard... it just REQUIRES you to do a New Game+.


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