Review of Sonic Frontiers on PS5 via jeuxvideo.com

The most famous hedgehog in the video game industry returns in 2022 with a new concept for the franchise. With Sonic Frontiers, SEGA’s mascot abandoned its historical formula for a while in favor of an open-world experience. Does this adventure game mark the revival of the saga?


An interdimensional story

Sonic Frontiers begins, not with Sonic, but with Doctor Ivo Robotnik aka Eggman deliberately activating a highly advanced ancestral technology with the direct result of locking him in a cyber-dimension. At the same time, Sonic, Miles “Tails” Prower and Amy Rose, all aboard their iconic red biplane, are sucked into a strange interdimensional portal. After this event, Sonic, who seems to be the only one who escaped unscathed, investigates to find his friends and lift the veil of the mysteries surrounding the island where he is.

The story of Frontiers is definitely interesting at first glance with its very strong “science-fiction” approach, but becomes secondary after a few hours of playing. the scenario is revealed gradually, one revelation after another, and therefore one cinematic after another, which unfortunately makes the whole thing very mechanical and predictable. The interpretation of the various characters also lacks conviction, especially in the French version, which prevents you from enjoying the whole story which, moreover, is very childish. In fact, the tone used throughout the adventure reflects the intensity of the experience that Sonic Team envisioned.

However, the soundtrack rocks Sonic Frontiers, and perfectly highlights the game’s various sequences, which only knows how to accompany the exploration with a slow melody before passing the second during the battles through riffs that electrify the atmosphere. It’s great to lend and let yourself be drawn into the musical atmospheres composed by SEGA artists. A soundtrack to salute and above all to the credit of the studios.


An open world to explore

For the first time in its long history, the Sonic saga is interested in open worlds with all that this meaningful decision means in terms of structure and gameplay. SEGA has accustomed us for three decades to linear adventures, made up of a series of levels. In Sonic Frontiers, the anthropomorphic hedgehog faces a daunting challenge, that of traversing the vast expanse of an open world while preserving what defines it.namely speed and platform.

Before approaching the world of Frontiers, a little precision is important. This adventure game is actually divided into five islands (Ares, Chaos, Kronos, Ouranos and Rhea) which somehow make up an archipelago with different biomes. So Sonic crosses the plains, forests, deserts or even a volcano depending on the map. So Sonic Frontiers isn’t an open world by definition, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of discovery. The exploration of the different islands is pleasant, especially since the developers were able to integrate the idea of ​​the platform within the environments with the result of having the impression of playing a Sonic game, despite the opening in the world made by the studios.

However, after several hours of playing and exploring the islands, a sense of repetition slowly but surely creeps into the experience. The fault lies in an adventure involved in the collection of important items in the development of the story (souvenir tokens, mechanisms, portal keys, emeralds, etc.) and an identification of the islands which is linked to the solving of puzzles and the success of challenges. In Sonic Frontiers, there’s no need to walk with the wind. In fact, wandering at will does not reveal the different parts of the islands, and despite their points of interest…

Sonic Frontiers: SEGA's answer to the open world of Zelda Breath of the Wild?

Then Frontiers pushes players to make multiple round trips to islands that artificially increase lifespan. Sonic’s friends literally teleport from one point to another on the map, forcing the hedgehog to travel miles with the sole purpose of triggering the next objectives that, as a reminder, are copied and glued from one island to another (except the fourth). However, the portals erected in the open world provide access to 2D-3D levels inspired by the previous adventures of the blue hedgehog (which can be found in full in Arcade mode). These “old” rounds are a real breath of fresh air, and prove that Sonic doesn’t really spin like a 100% controlled environment. These “digital dimensions”, as linear as they are fun, are paradoxically the main interest in the open world of Sonic Frontiers. Also worth mentioning are the mini games scattered throughout the adventure that rekindle the flame of discovery.

As far as graphics go, the Sonic Team-made title is hot and cold. The artistic direction easily passes from one style to another. This results in sometimes visual dissonance, between the cartoon of the characters, the “realism” of the environments and the techno-futuristic approach. However, only the open world suffers. In fact, the 2D-3D levels maintain a consistent DA from end to end. Finally, technically speaking, the Frontiers don’t flash. The experience is intended to be fluid, which is a requirement for fully enjoying a Sonic game, but mainly suffers from pronounced clipping, which is the unwanted appearance or loss of elements in the field of vision.

Sonic Frontiers: SEGA's answer to the open world of Zelda Breath of the Wild?

An archipelago to be released

We mentioned earlier the excellent integration of platforming elements into the open world, and the same goes for The fights, not many, but both accessible and nervous. To simplify confrontations and compensate for wandering around a camera that is always difficult, even in platforming stages, Sonic can rely on his remote controlled attack, just to go from one enemy to another. another easy one. . In addition, the bestiary has become more diverse, and has become more treacherous with particular Guardians, mini-bosses with more difficult specific patterns.

Boss fights push the idea of ​​epic to its extreme! During these duels where only time equals defeat, our hero faces giant creatures in his Super form. And for good reason, Super Sonic does not die decently, but uses rings in return to maintain such a level of power. Like a countdown, the number of rings decreases to finally reach zero, which is similar to Game Over. Alas, these cinematic, fast-paced sequences suffer from the same camera problem which sometimes makes it difficult to follow the action. The “role-playing” part of Sonic Frontiers can also be a source of unpleasant surprises.

Adding RPG mechanics to action-adventure games has become one of the hobbyhorses of the video game industry, and Sonic Frontiers is no exception to the rule. SEGA’s supersonic hedgehog can rely on a talent tree to unlock new skills, especially attacks that vary combinations. It is also recommended to collect seeds as much as possible as well as to find Kocos lost on the islands to increase the attack, defense, speed and finally the ability to wear the rings of the main character. While on paper the increase in immersion by putting Sonic’s fate in the hands of players is admirable, in practice it proves clunky and somewhat cumbersome.

Sonic Frontiers: SEGA's answer to the open world of Zelda Breath of the Wild?

Conclusion

Strong points

  • A science fiction story
  • A quality soundtrack
  • An open-world platformer
  • An accessible and nervous combat system
  • Titanic boss encounters
  • 2D-3D levels (or “digital dimensions”)
  • Arcade Mode

Weak points

  • A predictable story
  • A perfect technique (clipping)
  • Camera problem
  • The repetition of objectives and the adventure
  • Dissonant cartoon-realistic visuals
  • A clunky RPG overlay

Sonic Frontiers dares to think outside the box of the franchise, and to dare… it dares. Transforming a historically linear formula into an open world is not easy, and Sonic Team has worked tirelessly to avoid all the pitfalls imposed by such a transformation, starting with repetition of the adventure, a perfect technique and a camera of difficulty. However, this new Sonic experience blows fresh air into the saga with its titanic combats, its open-world “platformer” approach and its desire to push its own limits, even if it means losing control.

14.4

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