Sonic Frontiers | TGS 2022 Impressions | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Sonic Frontiers | TGS 2022 Impressions | Switch

Sonic Frontiers is only mere months away and many are curious about how the next adventure for the blue hedgehog will pan out, myself included. Thankfully, Sega decided to bring their latest demo build of the game to the Tokyo Game Show this year and we got a chance to try it out on the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode. Let’s get into it. 

Note on Booth & Demo
The Sega booth was absolutely massive and was home to a number of big name games including Persona 5 Royal, Like A Dragon: Ishin!, and of course Sonic Frontiers. For Frontiers, there were a LOT of demo stations set up for PC, PlayStation 5 and the Nintendo Switch (original units).Not only this, but it was also probably one of the biggest demo areas on the show floor in terms of space and available demos stations. Similar to Crisis Core - Final Fantasy VII - Reunion over at the Square Enix booth, attendees were not able to choose their preferred platform to play the demo. It all came down to what was open by the time you got to the front of the line. 
The booth itself was decked out with all things Sonic. The ladies working on the floor were dressed as the blue hedgehog with blue shorts and red sneakers, there were rings around a photo-op spot and there was a massive inflatable Sonic front and center. Wait times were a bit long, but I eventually made my way into the demo area and luckily got to try out the Nintendo Switch version of the demo. Just to note, we were not able to take any direct feed capture of the game running on Switch. We did take a little bit of off camera footage of the game, though, which you can find in the video version of these impressions below.

Controls were pretty simple and easy to get the hang of. B is used for jump, A for crouch/slide/stomp, X is for Cyloop (more on that later) and Y is used for attacks. L and R can be used for parrying, a quick step and/or dodge and ZR is used for boost. The right stick is used for locking on to enemies. 
The Cyloop move was pretty interesting and had applications both in and outside of battle. All you have to do is press and hold the X button and run around in a circle. This releases a light trail that, once connected, reveals rings, can help solve puzzles and even inflict damage on enemies. This technique could also be used on the boss in the demo build. The Cyloop is a fun mechanic that offers a different way to solve on puzzles and take out enemies. 

Throughout the demo, exploration was the main focus, though some combat was also available. Movement felt a little bit loose, but it was still better than I expected. Combat felt pretty good and connecting with enemies was both satisfying and simple. Of course, Y, is the main way to attack and/or use homing attacks on enemies, but A could also be used in tandem to add some variety to battle. Of course, once you get hit, you lose your rings, but I found that I still had enough time to grab a few so I could continue fighting without too much concern. 
Overall, Frontiers felt like a more refined 3D Sonic game. Movement did feel a little bit loose compared to other platformers, but I think it mostly felt fine. The environment did feel a little bit barren. On the flip side, with this being a timed demo, I did not give myself a lot of time to stop and smell the roses, as it were. 

Visuals & Performance
As expected, things are scaled back a bit in the Switch version of the game. Even with that said, everything seemed to be running at a pretty smooth framerate, possibly at or around 60 frames per second. The environment that was on offer in the demo was wide open and full of vegetation and mountains. Upon closer inspection, the ground textures were a bit bland, however this is something you probably won’t notice too much if you’re zooming around. Again, even at fast speeds or in cutscenes, Frontiers ran pretty well on the system. One of my only serious gripes with the game visually has to do with the text - it was REALLY small. Of course, this will likely  (or hopefully!) be something that can be adjusted in the settings in the final build of the game. 

Final Thoughts
I had more fun with Sonic Frontiers than I expected. The controls were a little bit on the loose side for my taste, but the combat and Cyloop mechanic felt great. Of course, with the Switch version, the visuals felt a little bit scaled back and the overall area on display during the demo was a bit bare, but it was still decent overall. I’m personally on the fence about picking this one up, however this demo has pushed me closer to picking up Frontiers when it releases. We’ll see. 

But let’s turn things over to you. Are you looking forward to Sonic Frontiers? Are you picking it up? If so, for what platform? Be sure to sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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