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

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

  1. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I think people's general fascination with "open world" as a concept (which somehow hasn't waned any over the past decade) plus the easy approachability, low interactivity/thinking of AAA games are why the reception for Frontiers has been warmer to the general public than past games.

    Late-stage 3D Sonic's highly automated game design finally strikes a chord with people. And with the added plus of no one getting too mad about falling into a pit, Frontiers has captivated the public in a way that gets people saying it's at least a 7. Woohoo! A 7! We did it, boys!
     
  2. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    "People don't like to think and have low standards" is certainly a take. "Frontiers is bad because automation / low interactivity, people just like the game because of its format [open world, that people should be sick of for some reason] that naturally lends to freedom of choice and interactivity" is also another certified take.

    Colors and Generations are and were generally more well-received than Frontiers despite not being open world, so, that takes makes no sense when you start to think about it.

    Reviews that put Frontiers less than a 9 will cite issues like pop-in, glitches, QoL, art style, or world design--all of which have nothing to do with automation--before they complain about rails and springs. I don't hear much clapback against Cyber Space either besides the controls themselves or the reused assets. People who also don't like the new direction cite the parts reminiscent of previous games as better.

    All of these are things that will likely be the first priority of a sequel, which will likely be even better received than Frontiers.

    Personally, I empathize more with people who think that Sonic isn't good, but actually like this new one a lot, even with its problems,

    than people who think that Sonic isn't good, but also the new game should not only be better than even the best Sonic games, but blow the gaming industry away with ground-breaking innovation in 2022 at least.

    That doesn't sound like a fun time.

    This is funny, because you can find people who think worse of the game (and they tend to think it's pretty bad). Weirdly, you frame people thinking it's at least pretty good as a negative--"at least" means that dissenting opinions would rate it higher.

    In no circumstance is "it's at least a 7" a bad thing. Maybe if you said "it's only a 7."
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  3. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Why are you so dismissive to opposive opinions on this game? You give people a hard time basically any time someone has a negative thing to say.

    I find a lot of the automation of 3D Sonic pretty shallow, always have. This isn't really a new take from me, nor from the fanbase at large. These kind of statements have been made about Sonic Team's games for a very long time. Why act like those criticisms never existed before right now?

    It doesn't even mean I hate the game for doing a bit of it. It's not that; it's the sheer excessive amount that plagues the game's every step. The game is pulling you away to do a long string of platforming "challenges" that are just "ride rail, bounce on balloons, hit springs, repeat" and there's nothing else to do in the environments besides that. And even the combat is frequently pulling away control to make Sonic do flashy cutscenes or QTEs. These things I mentioned have come up in reviews, both positive and negative. (Mostly the negative leaning ones, though.)

    And it's not wrong to point out the overlap in the casual player's tastes for games between AAA and this. I definitely think that's a key player in why you hand this game to a random person, and they go "it's fine". The handling of player interaction (the handholdy or automative kind) and level design (big open maps with small objectives strung about) are common things found in modern games with positive reception.

    Sonic Team didn't crack some huge code and make a giant innovation on the franchise; because people aren't reacting like that outside of the fanbase's hype. All this game did is just kinda do what worked for other games. And made Sonic move okayish.

    The point is that it's nothing groundbreaking. A common consensus "7" isn't really considered a big win in the gaming space, as unfortunate as that is to say. I don't even think Sonic Team thinks they knocked it out of the park quite like the larger fandom does; their first thoughts seemed to be refining these concepts for the next game.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  4. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    I'm sorry I gave you a hard time but you are the one framing people's opinions of the game in a very negative fashion yourself. Not many other ways to interpret "wow, now people think Frontiers is at least good! Wow!" as anything but needlessly cynical. It feel like it crosses the boundary (HA) from "I don't like thing" to "I don't like that people like thing."

    But if someone is praising Frontiers by shitting on other games or people's opinions on other games, I'll try to be there to go at them.

    I certainly understand you think that automation is bad, and I've read enough dissertations on how momentum is the only good game mechanic to know other people don't, but generally, most people simply don't care, and even when they do, Frontiers' positive reception is largely based around where it doesn't, and that is a good chunk of its reception.

    Open world inherently brings a lot of freedom to a game, which is why people aren't sick of it (and why should they?). An open world Sonic game brings a natural conclusion, so much so that people were skeptical, again, even besides its marketing, because a naturally linear game being nonlinear sounded like a hard sell.

    And I have not seen many if at all reviews mention either way about automation, certainly not that it plagues every step of the game, which I don't agree with at all.

    People go "it's fine" because it's a fine game. People went "it's great" to Sonic games that ARENT open world.

    Consider also that people had a specific expectation of what kind of open world game this would be that clouded their perception, as well as all the steps Sonic Team took that are relatively atypical for the genre.

    "People like it because it's open world" sounds like... well... a cope, to be crude.

    So many reviews, even negative ones (SkillUp comes to mind) say otherwise. This is why I say this sounds like a cope. You're not saying what people are saying, it sounds like you're saying what you want to hear. But the common opinion is that Frontiers is a new innovation for Sonic.

    And even IF thats because it's open world, that's still a pretty big innovation for Sonic.
     
  5. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Oh there's "cope" going on here about having opinions on this game, but I'm not quite sure if it's me.
     
  6. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    Okay, no. "Even Sonic Team probably thinks it's not good!"

    How is being so confident in the game that they want to use its formula for 10 years a sign of doubt?

    How is spending half their abnormally long development trying to get the damn formula to work that they didnt have time to make much of the rest of the game a sign of doubt?

    How is making a year long DLC road map that includes Tails, Knuckles, and Amy being playable in 3D for the first time since '06, when having no other playable characters has been THE most consistent Sonic Team has been in decades, a sign of doubt?

    If Frontiers was considered a failure by Sonic Team, it would definitely not have the last part. An uncharacteristic interest in keeping the game alive, downright celebrating that the game even exists.

    No. Sonic Team is over the moon, because most people are over the moon.

    Projecting that the developers themselves are disappointed in the game's reception, or even the game itself fundamentally, when every other detail indicates the opposite, is the ultimate cope. It has no basis and was really unnecessary.


    Yeah, okay, you don't like some things, but lol at pushing the idea that Iizuka and Kishmoto are crying jn their Tokyo offices that their game got 7s, 8, and 9s, sold well, and people are saying "we want the next game and for it to be even better", which is precisely what THEY'VE been saying they wanted in the multiple interviews they usually don't give.

    Interpreting "we want to use this game as the foundation for Sonic's future" and "we want feedback" as "they don't think too highly of Frontiers" is... woof.

    I'll stop here.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  7. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    This is some really hard word-twisting skills you've got here, mate. I'm backing out.
     
  8. charcoal

    charcoal

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    An honest question for all the detractors in this thread: What do you mean by this game being 'automated'? Like obviously there are a lot of short automated setpieces for the memory tokens per island (although I'd hesitate to call the majority of them automated considering you still have to actually engage with the game unlike a Forces level or something) but other than those, automated is quite literally the last word I would use to describe this game.

    The core gameplay loop is quite literally just plopping you into each island and letting you do whatever the fuck you want in order to get the Emeralds, even the Cyberspace levels are a massive step forward from previous entries with the automation. I'll refrain from talking about the reused ones, but the original Cyberspace levels are some of the best in the game and are, again, hardly automated with plenty of alternate routes and things to do (4-2 being a standout in particular). I've 100% completed the game and put 45 hours into it at this point, and I feel like saying that Sonic Team hasn't learned anything from previous entries isn't really an accurate statement.
     
  9. Wraith

    Wraith

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    They've opened up the structure of the game so you have more freedom in terms of what challenge you want to tackle first, but the actual challenges are still as automated as always.
     
  10. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    It's still annoying some times to be thrown in some direction because of dash panels, but they happened wayyyyyy less than I anticipated and half the time when it did, it was on purpose! It preps you for whatever challenge is ahead.

    That's one thing I like about how they're used here. The automation is used less as level design and more of a way to "prep" you for the actual gameplay ahead, which still requires interaction.

    Few times did I think "these panels / springs don't belong here" like I do with Forces or even other boost games.

    This critique isn't necessarily incorrect but it misses a lot of the nuance of thr former point.

    "freedom to tackle" includes "choosing not to do it at all" (which is part of the appeal of having alternate paths) as well as "tackling it in an entirely different way."

    People don't like the 2D on Chaos Island but I liked how there are actually VERY FEW sections that REQUIRE that you are 2D to even complete them. A challenge on their own. Not necessarily what Sonic Team intended, but it is allowed, and not like how glitching to Gigantos early is "allowed."

    The game is designed to lead you into the right way to do a challenge, which is actually good design on its own, helps from being aimless even if you're wandering around, but there are many times where I thought "I'm not supposed to do this" or "how can I get there through this way" and it worked.

    One memorable instance of this is when I accidentally stumbled upon the cavern in Ares Island that leads you to the start of the Wyvern fight BACKWARDS. It was completely, 100% possible to do the sequence in the opposite direction. It was somewhat disappointed to be "rewarded" with rubble blocking a path, but after I go to that section normally, I laughed, and it was still fun to play the right way too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  11. Overlord

    Overlord

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    Honestly, the automation is not one of the issues I have with this game. I would rank the tone, the combat mechanics, and the lack of a focused path far higher. But that's just me.
     
  12. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    Aye, I will bite one more time.

    Here's the thing: this game doesn't have much for you to do outside of those "challenges". The only other options are really to fight enemies or do the puzzles that unlock the map. These in themselves are objectives, sure, but what if you don't want to do them right now? I imagine the joy of having proper stage design and navigating around a playground of slopes and loops would be fun enough to fill in those gaps, but they... well, they didn't design any level besides those challenges. We have big fields in between and not much else, nary even that many a setpiece to ogle at.

    Which inhere lies the problem. The only true way to interact with the environment are said challenges, and I'm sure the developers knew this, which is why they are everywhere. But even if you don't think they're truly "automated", the interactions are rather binary and are little above it. You press RT to boost across the rail/dashpad, press X 3x to cross the homing attack chain, and then hold RT again to hit the hoop and get the emblem. They shake it up sometimes and that's welcome, but there's no real thought on how you come at them because it's all rails and flat platforms, the only intent is to follow the paths they lay without much contribution on how you do it. Most of the decisions are based on what button to press at what time, not actual major control.

    And that is what I mean when the now-classic 3D Sonic automation problem starts rearing it's ugly head. And they're there by design, as Sonic Team thinks that simplicity is key. It's the way they think makes their games approachable by the public; hence the posts earlier in the thread of why context-sensitivity and railroading are common traits of modern games. Heeeence my point from earlier listing why people may find appeal in the game, as it resembles the way AAA game development works. And that's why I criticise it or put it in a negative light, because I don't think Sonic has to lean so hard into this to be easy, approachable, or fun in this space. If anything, the reliance on this railroading is making it a worse game for me.

    To cap it off, Sonic Team definitely isn't quite "over the moon". They're not sulking about how terrible the reception is either, but they're not in a super celebratory state. They want this formula to be the next ten years of Sonic, but that doesn't mean they got it all right this time. Iizuka and Kishimoto were both looking for extremely high review scores. A 7, especially a modern era gaming 7, is not that number. This next year will be on expanding Frontiers' content, but I don't doubt they're taking criticisms to heart for the next title and expanding on it. I just hope people didn't whisper in their ears "no queen, it was perfect" so hard that it's bigger issues won't be addressed.
     
  13. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    I would agree that the game lacks replay value but I don't think that's the argument you're making?

    Yeah, they didn't design a "level" with the open zone. That's why they... have the literal levels. "There's nothing to do except these other things to do", I don't really see that as valid critique? Why are the combat and puzzles so separate that they don't count? Because they're not required? None of these elements are required, that's, again, the appeal.

    That's also not really the whole truth because the first four islands have those segments that are borderline Sonic levels on their own, like the diamond structure. I could see the sequel being integrating those better with the open zone as well.

    Also not true, and I made a post about why. Being able to tackle a challenge includes how.

    Again, since automation really isn't much of a topic in this game at all, people don't feel the same way. I certainly don't. If people have so much of a problem with Forces' automation, what is this game doing different that isn't "actually" different, I wonder?

    Which is hilarious, because they're not, and I've seen enough people play Sonic to know that it's not.

    The approachability is how people can simply move on, or approach it an entirely different manner. The former is unique to this game than others (when it would otherwise mean death and failure), and the latter you're claiming isn't in the game.

    But what magically makes this game more approachable if it's exactly the same as the others, even though you say this quality is why the game is getting a better reception? You acknowledge that the open world is a factor but you only think it's just a Thing People Like and that it changes nothing about how the game is designed or how it plays.

    So what is it then? How is Frontiers more approachable for doing what four other Sonic games have already done?

    Kishimoto put out a tweet that is literally thanking players and people for the DLC roadmap coming to fruition, implying that they are doing it precisely because of the reception. Nothing about the road map says ANYTHING about "no automation" either. I really hope you don't think that they're fretting over automation.

    Why are you insisting on this?

    Where is this bizarre alternate universe you live in where everyone is telling Sonic Team that it is perfect? Where Sonic Team isn't literally asking people to give feedback and critique?

    First you try to interpret the good reception as mediocre, then you say Sonic Team isn't happy because they're actively thinking about how to improve the next game, like it's a binary that you either think your game is perfect or you think it's bad, and now you're claiming that people AREN'T critiquing the game and that Sonic Team isn't going to "address the bigger issues" because of it?

    They are going to address them, by the way. Pop-in. World design. Pacing. Content.

    Oh. You meant the existence of automation? That's barely an issue, let alone the biggest.

    You're hyperfocused on "we want good review scores", but you missed the dozens of times they said "we want feedback so we can improve" or even the part where the game was literally built on external playtesting?

    You believe that them wanting to improve the next title is a sign that they're disappointed in the game's reception, even though they've been wanting feedback since before the game came out?

    Yeah, no, we're really done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  14. Wraith

    Wraith

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    The game doesn't "require" you to be 2D, but it tries it's hardest to bottleneck you into doing challenges their way anyway. There are ways to approach challenges in unorthodox ways but the game generally discourages them, and tries to keep you on script most of the time. In chaos island especially, a lot of the big landmarks on the map can only be approached from one or two angles which is a surprise for a game like this. The developers should trylevel design that's fun to approach from a variety of angles.

    This even ended up extending to the cyberspace stages since a lot of the time, everything you need is on the main path. This means that a lot of the shortcuts that DID make it in end up being less utilized than they did in their original games. The big "Sky Rail" send up had all the secrets on the main path, so even though the alternate paths from the original game were there, there was no incentive to take them.

    Even a lot of the minibosses just start a scripted sequence when you do so much as approach them, which is strange because a some of the early enemies are good about letting you approach them freely and giving you a couple of ways to fight them. By the time I got to the QTE shark though I knew that they'd fallen back on stitching the game together with scripted sequences like they always do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  15. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I'm not gonna continue entertaining arguments with you if you spend the entirety of your time breaking down every sentence with a paragraph, and writing off anything I have to say as insane talk or that I'm the antagonist to your self-appointed realist's perspective. I could literally speak for pages on pages about personal opinion and the way you write not only implies that I'm attacking you but common sense. If you're wondering why people don't really speak on their problems with the game here (or anywhere) then that might just be part of the problem. Why would anyone want to deal with that?

    You're desperate to make me look like I'm being unreasonable, or at the very least trying to get a rise out of me. Get a hold of it, man.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  16. Sneekie

    Sneekie

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    My Brother in Christ, it's not your "personal opinion" anymore when you're trying to assume what other people, like the bloody developers, think, lmao. "It's my opinion that Sonic Team thinks that other people think Frontiers is bad!"

    It's not a "personal opinion" to claim that Sonic Team is actually super sad about the game's reception because it's bad (even though somehow no one is giving critiquing the game, at the same time) when the director of the game himself literally came out and said "I'm very happy" and "because of your positive support, we'll keep supporting Frontiers!"

    https://twitter.com/moq_46/status/1598825875344351232?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^1598825875344351232|twgr^|twcon^s1_&ref_url=

    Look how sad he is to see that everyone thinks Frontiers is mid, lol.

    I've beaten many of those challenges without being in 2D. I was actually surprised to see a clip that DID force you into 2D if you're in range because it didn't happen to me. I seem to enjoy Chaos Island more than most precisely because I know this, apparently.

    The lack of rewards for exploration has less to do with automation and more no actual rewards. I agree that it's not good in that part. I'm also disappointed that there's no Crash 4 style "Got all challenges in one run" reward for that reason.

    But Cyber Space is particularly not this case, with the whole "floating platforms" thing add more freedom and, if we're counting "glitches", the Homing Attack Cancel adding even more. There are significantly fewer invisible walls.

    Is it "there's no alternate paths" or is it "there's no incentive to take alternate paths," because those are two different arguments, and also the latter seems to be about tangible benefits and not necessarily that the path is different or faster? Some paths do vary on speed.

    The point about bosses is not automation. I'm disappointed that the Wolf enemy can only be beaten by parrying them, but that's not a case of automation. That's barely even a lack of freedom, because the entire point of the encounter is that it's a trap.

    The point of bosses like Sumo, Shark, Spider, etc. is to get you into those sequences, because the sequences are the boss battle. The actual fighting part takes less precedent. They are there to make combat more unique.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022
  17. Wraith

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    This is how I know you don't really understand what I'm talking about. In other games if you notice a trap you're allowed to undercut it before it happens. In Sonic, the wolves "trap" you no matter how you approach them and you have to parry them to get out.

    A lot of the enemies work this way. I just opened the game and tried to use the projectile attack on the homing attack enemies in ares as an example. It played a scripted sequence of Sonic bouncing off of them instead even though I was nowhere near them, because it wanted me to do the homing attack chain.

    Another good example is the railway enemy. You can't lock onto him and just blast him because the game wants you to ride the rail it creates and stomp on him. This is the only way to damage him.

    The game is filled with stuff like this, and I think you know that it isn't ideal. You have the freedom to do challenges in any order, but the actual challenges are filled with routing and scripting.
     
  18. Laura

    Laura

    Brightened Eyes Member
    The challenges are automated and it is tedious to prove the point. The challenges in Frontiers are based upon springs, rails, and boost pads, all which require minimum player interaction. They are specifically designed to assist players by taking control of Sonic so he doesn't go flying somewhere else. They do involve player interaction in so far as sometimes you need to press the jump button at precise intervals. That is about it. Sometimes you have to move left or right but it is uncommon and still very automated.

    I actually really like Generations. When @Blue Blood called Classic Sonic in Gens following the same automated design philosophy my instinctive thoughts were to defend the game. But honestly he's correct. I still like Generations. It has excellent presentation and I find it fun to play. You can enjoy games while acknowledging valid criticisms.

    You may say @Sneekie that you find it tiring when people bring up complaints that aren't commonplace among gaming critics or the general audience (a vague concept) but if we all follow that line of thought then we might as well continue with Sonic 4 physics. Frontiers has automated challenges and just because a lot of people don't care about it does not change that fact.
     
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  19. Battons

    Battons

    Shining Force Fan Member
    I don't really care about all the automation. They ask me to solve a puzzle and I can either choose to do it or leave which I find is a really good way to handle that. Or I could also use rail momentum to cheese a puzzle etc. I think for people who enjoy more freedom they should have incorporated a good mix of automated challenges and free style puzzles, that would have been a pretty fair compromise and let Sonic Team experiment with some new mechanics.
    In terms of game-play they could have guided players more naturally instead of using dash panels/springs into puzzles, I won't deny that, but in terms of spectacle it feels good.
    My biggest concern is that they got the character interactions to be more authentic but the story is still a long shot from what it could have been and I hope hope hope that Kishimoto and Flynn take that criticism to heart to craft something really special next time.
     
  20. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    I did not say Sonic Team thought Sonic Frontiers was "bad". I'm not making assumptions. I'm running strictly off of their responses. They are happy about the fan response, sure, and are obviously continuing to support the game. Granted these things are planned far beyond any sort of reception could reach them, but I digress.

    I'm just not gonna forget that previous interviews stated they put a lot on the line for this one, and I know they said even unto the game's launch (almost immediately after reviews rolled in) that they were paying attention to people's reception and were going to be applying what they take for the future. I could see the middling-to-lightly-positive reception lead to them workshopping a bit more, but I can also see them go full steam ahead if the fans are loud enough. I personally could only hope it's the former.

    Either way, I'm not projecting fear and loathing on them like you say I am. Nor am I going to pretend I don't see you projecting how you think they feel, yourself. Neither me nor you know what they're cooking backstage right now, beyond the DLC. All you can do is look at the evidence and stake your claim.

    And that's the thing. I want them to improve this formula for the next game. You don't, or at least you don't seem to see anything I or others have brought up as a problem. You don't even have to, even if I vehemently disagree with you.

    I just don't want you to put words in my mouth about it, either, so please don't.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2022