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Sonic Frontiers Review: Knuckle Up and Grab Those Rings (PS5)

Sonic Frontiers is the newest attempt from SEGA to update and bring Sonic to a whole new audience on the current generation of consoles. Many of us will have played a Sonic game at some point over the last two decades, but this represents a change in idea from the side-scrolling antics of the first few iterations, into a new and ambitious open world version that doesn’t always deliver what it promises.

Sonic Frontiers
A beautiful, if empty game.

Sonic Frontiers is set in an unknown world to the familiar cast and crew of characters, and it’s left to Sonic to find out what’s gone on, why we’ve been transported here, and how to save his friends from the somewhat horrible fate of being a digital construct in a real world, unable to do anything for themselves.

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The idea of the game is simple and the story minimal, as is usually the case with Sonic games, but in previous versions the gameplay and levels would always make up for this, however, this time it isn’t the case.

You’ll spend a considerable amount of time running around one of the four main ‘open-zone’ maps, picking up various items from the famous rings, seeds to increase your strength and defense, and a collectible dependant on the map which will allow you to help your stranded compatriot. As well as these three, you’ll also be tasked with finding Koco’s, which are the inhabitants of the island, and bring them to their elders in return for increasing your speed or ring capacity.

Sonic Frontiers – Runnin’ and Runnin’

Sonic Frontiers
All of the running, none of the gunning.

The maps in Sonic Frontiers themselves feel largely empty, with various small challenges to complete to unlock the map, sub-bosses to beat which will reward you with keys and gears to unlock the vaults, and the odd normal enemy encounter which don’t provide any challenge whatsoever. Whilst discussing the map, there’s no getting away from the horrible graphic pop-in the game suffers from. You’ll be running through the large open-worlds and constantly seeing platforms, rails, trees, challenges etc seemingly appearing out of nowhere, which can make planning a route frustrating and tiresome.

The vaults and the end of map bosses are one of the redeeming features of the game, with the vaults being digital worlds you’ll travel to in cyberspace and are reminiscent of the earlier games in their level design. Short, fast, mostly side-scrolling or on rails and just a blast to try and complete all the goals in one go.

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Sonic Frontiers
Goku… Sonic sorry.

The bosses for each of the four maps are gigantic Titans that you have to defeat in order to progress. Once you’ve acquired all the emeralds you’ll transform into Super Sonic, the soundtrack will change to a heavy metal theme and you’ll be flying around trying to fell these huge creatures. The whole thing feels very Dragon Ball-esque, and I found myself wishing there were more instances of these Titans throughout the game.

Die-hard fans of Sonic will love Sonic Frontiers, and the longer I played it the more it did grow on me admittedly, but for a game touted by SEGA as a gamechanger and one that’ll change the way we think about Sonic, as a whole it undoubtedly fell short.

Sonic Frontiers was played and reviewed on a code supplied by Indigo Pearl.

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Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is a writer for Fandomwire. He's an avid consumer of all things movie, TV, comics and gaming, especially Marvel.

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Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd