Look. Sonic has been in a rough spot for bloody ages. There's no getting away from that, no matter how fast you can run. SEGA needed to shake things up, lest its mascot spiral further into the abyss. By some miracle, Sonic Team finally realised it needed to buck up its ideas, and the result is the character's best 3D game in a long, long time. Sonic Frontiers finally puts the hedgehog back on the right track, and that's commendable.
We're not saying it's without its flaws; this is a far from perfect adventure, but it lays down a solid foundation that sets us up for some potentially great entries in the future. First and foremost, what the game gets right is how Sonic moves. The open world gives the blue blur lots of room to run, and blasting along super fast is just plain fun. Moreover, his platforming abilities feel tighter and more responsive than in any of the boost-style games, and honestly, that's half the battle won.
Exploring each island and completing small challenges rewards you with new ways to get around. While we don't necessarily like how the floating rails and platforms look, they do make for some satisfying, quick-fire ways of darting around the environments. The overall design emphasises Sonic's speed, and when you hit a good flow, it can feel great.
We won't pretend the game is some glowing, god-given gift, because it isn't. What Sonic Frontiers achieves, however, is a meaningful step forward for a franchise that's been running in circles for years. When everything is barrelling along as intended, it can be highly entertaining. It's an admirable, and mostly successful, attempt to breathe new life into the franchise, and that's surely worth celebrating.