Somewhere among the many farming games, the 3000 hours of Persona games, and revisionist history PAC-MAN, we got a few more details on Sonic Frontiers:
Today’s Nintendo Partner Showcase featured about 20 seconds of new Sonic Frontiers footage, and our first look at the game’s linear Cyber Space stages, a new character, and its general Switch performance.
While all of Sonic’s combat tricks here had been revealed in previous videos, the absolute highlight was two of the game’s Cyber Space stages, including a wild spaghetti-tangle of highways with glitched-out road signs, and the familiar Green Hill landscape (yes, internet, we all know you have strong opinions about where Green Hill is and isn’t used, you don’t need to remind us).
Sonic enters the stages via stone portals, and as the Summer Game Fest impressions state, they’re in the format of forward-running boost-style platforming. In the Green Hill section, Sonic isn’t beholden to his open world combat mechanics. One hit is enough to dispatch each of the Motobugs. The stages shown take place on an abstract geometric backdrop while wavy and twisted trails decorate the sky. The foreground is stylized with chromatic aberration in Green Hill and vertical scanlines in the highway environment. Upon leaving the level, Sonic is awarded a key.
We’ve also got our first… vaguely-story-related cutscene, introducing “Sage,” a strange girl associated with Starfall Islands’ overarching mystery. At the end of the footage, she’s seen emanating a red “cyber” glow and hovering just above a geometric metal Palkia.
“Kronos Island,” according to the official press release, is the first island of the game, and likely the one we’ve seen exclusively in the promotional footage thus far. Sonic arrives there upon escaping a cyberspace portal that engulfed him and his friends.
For those looking to get a glimpse of the game actually running on Switch (or within general Switch parameters), the compromises are in line with other open world games on the platform. Landscape fidelity drops at a bit closer distance, the visual effects are a little less flashy, and textures can be blurry up close. If Switch is your primary platform, these are the sacrifices that you’ve come to expect. The footage shown ran at 30fps in spite of the 60fps feed, but for better or worse, the same could be said about the majority of other titles in the Showcase. I’m hesitant to judge certain aspects of the visuals too harshly, since YouTube compression tends to add artifacting and blur, but if graphics are your priority over portability, just expect to go for the PS5, Series X, or PC versions regardless.
We have a number of screenshots throughout the article, differentiated between official press release shots, and those taken from the YouTube video. The press release shots were provided in 4K, so it’s safe to assume they’re not from the Switch version.
Recent hands-on impressions vary wildly, from the absolutely positive to the utterly dire, and everything in between. Suffice to say this new footage will be controversial (as was the previous footage, and the footage before that), but we’ll all be able to check the game out for ourselves when it launches this Winter.