You can't interpret the reception as "average." The reviews don't range from "great to terrible," it ranges from "great (and I don't mind the flaws)" to "good (but I REALLY can't stand the flaws)" with a handful of reviews whose receptions are so outstandingly negative (a 2/10?) they are basically outliers. This discussion was had before but to many people a 7/10 is a cusp of being considered "good" not "average," and I point to a reviewer that gave Frontiers a 6/10, but their 6/10 means "good but flawed" while they almost never give games a 9/10 or 10/10. People who thought the game would be trash played it and have, at the very least, been much more warmly receptive of the game. Of course, people who already thought it would be good had their expectations met. Frontiers has twice as many user reviews on Metacritic than Mania and Generations and the score is still much higher than either (8.8 at the time of this writing). The Steam user reviews sit on "Very Positive" with 94% positive reviews (by the way, that's one percent away from being "Overwhelmingly Positive"). I also disagree with the idea that Kishimoto needs to be let go--if you want to blame him for the bad, then he is responsible for the good too. He borderline pulled a Hidemaro Fujibayashi with how well he transitioned from one of the most linear games in the series to their first open-world / open-zone game. There are generally weird choices in the game, but many of them can be attributed to a possible lack of time and budget to see the full vision through, and that's not a good enough reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Even the negative reviews talk about how Frontiers is a big and innovative step in the franchise. SkillUp is one of the more negative reviews and even they say that oh yeah, the new things they do are new and good. The game being a new and innovative take on the franchise is the source of a lot of the game's praise. I really don't know where this take comes from. I think we're interacting two incredibly different fanbases here. Your interpretation is not really the conventional wisdom, from what I've seen. People really like Frontiers, flaws and all. I'd say it's getting more attention and love in that regard than Mania. I would not be surprised if this is one of the best and fastest selling Sonic games in decades. Five years of a focused and passionate vision hindered by what seems to be the typical development hitches Sonic Team faces and what they got was a game with such a good foundation that most people overlook its rough edges, and those who can't still see a game that is more than worth salvaging at worst. For all intents and purposes, Sonic Team succeeded. They made a game that is special for the development team and fans. Fans want to see a Frontiers 2 and more importantly they believe that Sonic Team can make that work. The only hitch is that the critic average likely isn't as high as Sega expected, but hopefully Sega recognizes the general reception (and sales) over whether a 7 is "good enough."