Early Sonic Frontiers Gameplay looks Surprisingly Good

New gameplay footage teases a return to form for the Blue Blur.

by J.R. Waugh


Sonic the Hedgehog fans have had to taper their expectations down since the Sega mascot’s days on the Genesis through the Dreamcast, with the occasional good title such as Sonic Colors making the cut.  But overall, 3D Sonic immediately peaked in the Sonic Adventure days and hasn’t truly had something to generate hype for the franchise outside of wonderful efforts in the 2D sphere with Sonic Mania.  But now, Sonic Team appears to be putting their best foot forward with Sonic Frontiers, an open-world platformer with lofty goals of achieving critical acclaim and winning over the hearts of lifelong Sonic fans.  They released the first glimpse of Sonic Frontiers’ gameplay on their Twitter at noon.

Sonic Frontiers looks frankly wonderful from the modest glimpse we’ve been given of its gameplay.  It appears to make good use of proverbial blueprints left behind by genre-defining modern classics like Breath of the Wild while containing the grandiose environment and enemy designs from titles such as Xenoblade Chronicles.  It’s an interesting mix, the idea of mixing Sonic and franchises like Xenoblade and Zelda, especially with the pensive and hopeful background music they chose for the reveal.  It’s like if Link could also spin dash and grind on rails.  The gameplay appears to have elements of unlocking portions of the map, typical Sonic combat including the homing attack, and a huge, lush world to explore.

It seems to be a crucial moment for Sonic Team in developing this game.  They want to rebuild the expectations of Sonic fans and push the franchise forward while still acknowledging the series roots, so Sonic Origins makes for an additional, delightful tribute to the 30+-year-old series and its seminal Genesis platformer releases.  The game showcased here, though, is a different beast, tapping into the wonder first felt when you could fully explore in Sonic Adventure, while also teasing a mystery to the world around you as you bring it alive.  It’s a world covered with mysterious ruins, ancient technology, and enemies which do not resemble the colorful, cartoonish hordes deployed by Dr. Eggman.

Sonic Frontiers sprints onto PC, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Series X|S later this year in 2022.  It signals a big possible return to form for the 3D installments in the series.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more updates!

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