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Sonic Frontiers Thread - PS4, PS5, Xbox, Switch, PC

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by MykonosFan, May 27, 2021.

  1. Chaos Rush

    Chaos Rush

    AKA J.Matz Member
    Can someone explain to me what people mean by “automation”? Is it like in SA1 how the loops are basically mini-cutscenes? I never played Lost World or Forces so I’m not too familiar with any jargon that emerged from discussions of those games.

    I’ve only beaten the first island but I can’t think of any specific moments when the game takes away control from me. Even in the gimmicks scattered throughout, I can “exit” the gimmick just by jumping. So far to me Sonic moves in accordance to my hands’ operation of the game controller, so I’m not quite sure what people mean by “automation”.

    Also I’m not saying there’s no issue; I’m assuming that there was a control/level design issue present in Lost World & Forces that is also present in Frontiers, but since I never played the former two I don’t really notice it?
  2. Snub-n0zeMunkey


    yo what up Member
    bit of a random thought but I just made it to Ouranos Island. I remember way back when we first saw images of these setpieces and we were imagining what the game would be like, kinda surreal to actually be playing it now lol
  3. Dissident


    Sami Member
    Bro thank you for posting this. I'm only on the third island and was originally going to beat the game normally before installing any mods but right now I am really happy I changed my mind, lol. This feels fantastic and I'm having a lot more fun right now than I was with it before. Can't say I really mind breaking the little 2D puzzle sections and sequence breaking (though I agree it could stand to be toned down) considering I'm having a much better time doing that than playing normally.
  4. VenomTH


    Digital Foundry's in-depth analysis is out.

    Unexpectedly, here are some snippets:

    • Frontiers features impressive larger open areas and a full-time time of day cycle with global illumination and long-distance shadow rendering using the new iteration of the Hedgehog Engine 2.
    • Pop-in is egregious possibly due to the way the engine handles distant detail management; the game can also be janky when moving over uneven terrain or when interacting with larger foes, and the rain droplet effects can look ugly at times.
    • The game can look quite beautiful especially in regards to lighting; the environments show the impressive light bouncing and color transformation capabilities that the engine is known for, physically-based materials react realistically to light, and gorgeous light scattering and volumetric effects are used to give the environments ambience.
    • The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions offer the best experience on consoles with virtually identical settings and performance; these versions offer 4K, 30 fps or dynamic 1800p, 60 fps with TAA in two graphical modes in the settings. Bafflingly, these versions use the 4K, 30 fps mode by default with a constant framerate but improper frame pacing. The 60 fps mode is recommended and only drops some frames during large overworld boss fights.
    • The Xbox Series S and Xbox One X are a step-down from the higher-end consoles but offer a comparably similar experience to each other. The Xbox Series S offers a dynamic 1440p resolution with the same graphical settings as the Series X, while the Xbox One X offers a dynamic 1800p resolution with decreased graphical settings and slower loading times. Unfortunately, both consoles only offer a single mode capped at 30 fps with improper frame pacing—according to some sources, changing the Series S display settings to 1080p could enable a 60 fps option but tests showed no results.
    • The PlayStation 4 Pro and the PlayStation 4 offer a step-down in resolution from the Series S and One X with a maximum 1080p resolution like Forces although these seem to use the same graphical settings as the current-gen consoles with higher-quality objects and screen-space reflections. The PlayStation 4 Pro hits this target resolution more often. Both consoles offer a single 30 fps mode with improper frame pacing although the Pro variant offers a more consistent framerate.
    • The Xbox One offers the worst experience of last-gen consoles with a maximum 900p resolution and the same lower graphical settings used in the Xbox One X. The framerate drops in large open areas as expected.
    • The Nintendo Switch receives a port due to the popularity of Sonic on the system. This version expectedly runs the worst due to the ambitious scope of the game. The Cyber Space levels look about as well as other games in the system with worse detail, no global illumination, and a decrease in resolution to close to 720p while docked and close to 480p while in handheld but they look close to if not better than Forces on the system. The islands are a vast downgrade from the other versions with worse texture quality, lower-quality objects than the lower-end Xbox versions, and terrible pop-in that draws right in front of the character model and results in the world feeling empty. Global illumination is restored in the overworld but the data is monochrome which results in a worse visual showcase. Other details like water ripples, motion blur, explosion effects, and screen-space reflections are removed or downgraded. Framerate drops and frame pacing are comparable to other consoles but slightly worse. The game runs as expected on the system and the right choices were made in terms of downgrades but the compromises hurt the overall experience.
    • The PC version stands as the best experience available provided the user has good hardware. The game runs flawlessly on mid- or high-range hardware on the highest settings at 60 fps with no stuttering or framerate issues, quick load times, and responsive controls but native PC support is poor with no ultra-wide support, a 60 fps cap, and limited graphical settings. Modding support could fix these issues and could provide more meaningful changes to the game in the future. The highest PC settings are the same as the higher-end consoles and pop-in remains the same.
    • Overall, current-gen consoles and PC offer the best experience, Series S and last-gen consoles are still quite playable, and the Switch is quite dire. The technical hiccups this game has are more impactful than other multiplatform games so the current-gen version is recommended.
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  5. Zephyr


    There are a lot of Homing Attack chains, yeah. But the game also adds in Light Dash trails, moments you need to Air Boost into boost rings, moments you need to stomp downwards, and moments you need to double jump in order to get into the right position to do all of the aforementioned actions. I felt like there was a healthy mix of it all. These are also often weaved into grind rail sections, with multiple different 'automated' routes to choose from: keep going on the rail, or jump off into the boost ring to launch you to a higher path, etc.

    Each of these things are individually more automatic than, say, trying to time and land a jump from one platform to another, but there's not a complete absence of player agency or input. To keep progressing through the setpiece, you have to press the right buttons, at the right times, in the right sequence, almost like a rhythm game. Which is how it's been since Unleashed. It's definitely not my preferred style of platforming in general, but it's perfectly functional. And for the most part, while doing this in the Open Zone, you don't have to worry about falling into a bottomless pit and dying if you fuck up (again, 3rd Island aside). There are also times when you can be flying through the air, and you'll inadvertently get in range to Homing Attack into a random spring that's part of some setpiece you weren't even going through; you have the freedom to Homing Attack to it, and slip right into the setpiece (I think this what Aerosol means by incorrectly getting into an automated section).

    I have no strong feelings about Frontiers' aesthetics. Bland, yeah, but also inoffensive. Unleashed's "slightly Pixar-ified real world" approach doesn't evoke strong feelings for me, either: bland, but inoffensive. Colors and Generations are definitely the cream of the crop for 'Boost' game visuals, in my opinion.
  6. While I do agree with many of the criticism @Laura pointed out, I do think some of the platforming here is pretty good. Its ideal when it comes to Sonic, but its pretty fun for what it is.

    I just got to the fourth island and some of these sequences are actually pretty tight. I like using the momentum of your boost to catapult your instant up the climable walls (even though its hella scripted) and properly timing those homing attack chains. And it helps there's no penalty of death if you fall off, you just have to restart the sequence again.

    They really need to do that in more games; if you're gonna have level design suspended in the air like Frontiers, don't make death the immediately penalty.
  7. Laura


    Brightened Eyes Member
    QoL Improvements

    Stop constantly stopping and starting the game. When you update the map after solving a puzzle, have a notification pop up. Don't pause the game upon getting maximum rings. Don't pause the game when you encounter significant enemies. Just stop pausing the game, it's annoying. It's a Sonic game. Stopping is the worst thing you can do.

    How to improve the platforming.

    I would prefer it if the platforming challenges were integrated into the environment rather than existing almost entirely as automated side sections completely removed from the map. Makes the world look ugly, creates shallow platforming challenges, and doesn't even utilise the open world which is the main draw of the game.

    So far in my playthrough, the only time Frontiers remotely attempts using the environment to complement platforming is near the beginning of Kronos Island.


    Hardly stellar stuff at all. But there is an attempt to actually build some interesting geometry and tie in the springs and pulleys into the landmass, rather than just have all the platforming automated and flying in the sky. If the game tried to integrate the landmass into the platforming challenges more consistently it would be better.

    To be clear, I'm not demanding Sonic Utopia momentum movement. Just platforming and/or speedy exploration that uses the map in an interesting way rather than using the map as a way to access automated challenges in a variety of approaches.

    How to improve the story.

    Let the characters express more of their personality in the cutscenes. Don't just use cutscenes as a way to spout exposition but draw attention to the interpersonal relationships between characters. I've mentioned previously, there are some cutscenes which do a decent start at this philosophy. Continue in this direction.

    Improve the horrible voice acting. These voice actors aren't bad. I understand they are going for a subdued tone, but they went overboard into a sleepy and bored tone.

    I have a lot of thoughts on the plot. Too many cliches which aren't utilised in interesting ways. But not fair really to express judgement until I've completed the game.

    How to improve the aesthetic of the open world.

    Personally, I'd say keep the general environments and geometry but 'Sonicfy them'. In other words, inject them with tropes from the Sonic franchise.

    Sonic Adventure is a good template but I'd also say Sonic Heroes is a good model. And if you want to go a full modern route then honestly Sonic 2006 is not too bad at merging realism and fantasy aesthetics in its action stages. It doesn't need to be Sonic 1 in 3D. But I do think it needs to reflect a cartoony and whimsical vibe.

    Putting my own tastes for a traditional Sonic aesthetic aside and thinking of the bigger picture, I would say at the very least have some kind of unique aesthetic identity. I think that the game looks very generic visually and doesn't really stand out from the crowd. At least bring some individuality. There's also a real lack of detail or interesting vegetation in the environment which is a bit weird.

    What's good.

    In terms of what's good, the controls aren't bad when Sonic's controls aren't being locked during automation. The combat is actually okay. The music is great. The Cyberspace levels look really good and are aesthetically excellent. I personally think the amount of collectables is overkill for progression but the act of running around and collecting stuff fits Sonic well.

    It's not a bad mould for going forwards honestly. If they made the above improvements I think it would be a lot more enjoyable.
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  8. Zephyr


    I definitely agree with this and is something I meant to touch on earlier in my big write up. If Sonic Team is planning Frontiers to be the model or template for future 3D Sonic games, then I think they should start using those Generations assets in their open worlds. Give me a "South Island" Open Zone using Green Hill assets, "Angel Island" using Sky Sanctuary assets, "Central City" using City Escape assets, etc.
  9. Aerosol


    Not here. Moderator
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    I mean that's not really 'positive terms' but thanks.

    All of the things you mentioned that I agree with are minor niggles to me. Bits of polish that could've added a bit more to the game. I think I glitched once and didn't get the little Ring Max cutscene and I thought "oh the game isn't going to do that anymore" but then it did :V

    But it sounds to me like you just don't like the game. I don't think playing it to completion is going to change your mind but you do you.
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  10. To people hating on Cyberspace, I really think you should sit down and really give time attacking it a bit of a go. I had all the same complaints but something ended up just clicking. 2D is still not very fun to me but the 3D sections (especially the SA2 levels) really work well when you’re chaining boosts, double jumps, homing attack cancels, etc.

    I think that with some refinement, we can get a good combination of boost and Adventure playstyles in the next game. IMO, Sonic should control closer to Adventure in terms of speed and interactions with terrain (i.e. carrying momentum up and down slopes) when you’re off the boost. Think of the boost as replacing spam dashing in SA1.

    Anyway, here’s a good run I had on 1-7 (City Escape):

    I always avoided hardcore time attacks on Sonic games because I don’t like how it overrides your normal interactions with the level design (I usually treat them as Tony Hawk games if that makes sense) but I found that homing attack into boost cancel and wanted to see how far I could push it. The answer is pretty far.
  11. kyasarintsu


    I think the Cyberspace levels are fun-enough little distractions but I really, really hate the controls. Sidestep is way too large, Sonic feels like a slippery heavy boulder, and sometimes it feels like my jumps don't give me the height and arc that they should. Their short length does make them easy to speedrun, and I do appreciate that.
  12. Aerosol


    Not here. Moderator
    Not where I want to be.
    Sonic (?): Coming summer of 2055...?
    That boost cancelled homing attack is fucking disgusting I love it.
  13. It makes speed running the Cyber Space levels totally worth it imo.
  14. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    I think it's a time thing. Sometimes while airborne I'll get max rings and get the scene when I hit the ground while sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get max rings, get the scene, get hit, get max again and nothing happens.
  15. Just for the record, I probably said this before, but you can cancel out of the damage animation and prevent ring loss. Also you can trigger and hold the parry at any time in the air and redirect yourself.

    I don’t know if Sonic Team meant to, but they made a ridiculously cool game to speedrun. I don’t care to take these techs as far as they can go (that last speedrun I linked will hopefully be the end of my experiments), but I guarantee we’ll see some sick runs at the next GDQ.

    Seriously, all I want is for them to clean up the janky animations (like how tricking doesn’t adapt to gravity or how some actions share the same animation whether on the ground on in air) as well as implementing the momentum you get on rails into the grounded gameplay, and I think we’ll have a super huge winner in the future.
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  16. Mana


    Good! Great! Awesome! Outstanding! Amazing! Member
    Would the perfect homing attack system have a place in this game? Think it'd have been a cool way to get extra skill points.
  17. I thought its inclusion in Colors Ultimate was a bit of foreshadowing but I guess not. I think it definitely could have been useful for skill points or increased damage. I wonder whether it was a Sonic Team request or the Blind Squirrel devs who thought of it.
  18. Lambda


    I think "automation" in the way it's discussed here is more of a complaint about level design than anything. It's the usage of boosters, springs, rails, and dash rings to constantly lock players into a set path and keep them where the developers want them.

    For example: In a Sonic game with a "momentum" physics engine a ramp in the terrain should, in-theory, launch Sonic in a trajectory based on the direction he was running, the speed it was running at, and the angle of the ramp itself. Boost games would typically put a dash ring at the end of a ramp, so instead of a player having to have the right speed and angle to land where they want, the player just has to touch the dash ring and the level designer will shoot the player exactly where they want them to go. Likely onto some rails, then onto a spring, then there's a homing attack chain to another spring, that leads to some more dash rings, etc, etc, etc.

    I personally don't mind "automation"... I think the games would be more interesting with more interesting physics and more player agency, but the "homing-attack into stomp into light-dash into homing attack into air boost" gameplay of the boost games is fun enough, if simple, IMHO. It's more like a rhythm game or a set of loose QTEs.
  19. Turbohog


    I am so tired of grind rails I think I actually never want to see them again. Everything in chaos island is blending together and it's gotten old fast.
  20. Chimpo


    I Gotta Be Me Member
    Los Angeles, 2029
    Don't Forget! Try Your Best!
    I've yet to hear the Family Guy styled cut away references. Does this only happen in the English dub? I've been playing using the Spanish dub with the English subtitles.

    So far the Spanish dub is pretty much 1:1 with the English script. If this is Ian Flynn's attempt at flavoring the Japanese overlords, then I'm not impressed. This is by far the dullest writing in the series so far with nothing interesting expressed outside "remember that thing?". Every memory cutscene has been the exact same conversation topic, but tweaked differently. The only quest line that I would barely count as good is the end of the Knuckles arc. If the actors feel like they're just reading their lines, then I can only blame the script. There's nothing with actual substance that would require them to put emotion behind their readings. I hear the English VA performance is worse than usual, but I haven't bothered to toggle to it to listen.