Sonic Frontiers will be unlike any previous game in Blue Blur’s long history, with a stronger emphasis on combat and exploration in what Sega describes as an “open-area” 3D action game.
New details about Sonic Frontiers come via an IGN-exclusive hands-on preview, which reveals a more in-depth combat system that Sonic fans may be used to. In Sonic Frontiers, Sonic will have the ability to dodge attacks at the press of a button as well as parry them. These abilities will come in handy for some of the game’s massive new open-world boss encounters, which IGN describes as “close to Shadow of the Colossus-esque in their scale.” Defeating enemies will earn Sonic EXP, which can then be used to invest points into a skill tree and unlock new abilities.
While it might be tempting to call Sonic Frontiers an open world game in the same vein as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Sonic Team leader Takashi Iizuka prefers to call it “open area”. The world of Sonic Frontiers is meant to be mysterious as players explore and solve puzzles which in turn reveal more of the world map. One way Sonic will solve puzzles is with his new ability Cyloop, which lets Sonic draw circles around objects to interact with them and can also be used in battle. Along the way, Sonic can engage with classic Sonic platforming elements like bumpers and rails dotted throughout the environment or battle enemies in the open area.
But Sonic Frontiers isn’t just about its wide open spaces. Boss hunting in the overworld will open portals to what IGN describes as “bite-sized linear stages” more reminiscent of previous Sonic 3D games, which each come with optional objectives to complete, such as than collect a certain number of red rings or complete the stage within a specific time limit. You can read more about the game in IGN’s preview.
Originally slated for release in 2021, Sonic Frontiers is now slated for a “Holiday 2022” release. When it arrives, Sega hopes it will review well, as high scores can make the title a “must play” and “generate synergy with sales,” according to Sega executives.
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