Games Inbox: Sonic Frontiers is looking worse every time

The Wednesday letters page thinks Dragon’s Dogma 2 should have a change of name, as one reader hopes for a new Life Is Strange.

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Same old cycle
I know the spectre of the Sonic cycle has already been invoked but it is scary how accurate it is. If the next thing the game reveals is some new friends (that will be really annoying) then Sonic Frontiers has hit every bullet point. Even without that though this first hands-on with the game has been a disaster. Sega have got all this coverage organised for a whole month and the first time any of it is given some context the guy is pointing out all these flaws and problems.

I currently have zero faith in this game and the only reason that I’d still pay any attention to it is that a lot of the issues, especially surrounding the bosses could be due to bugs. Although I’m not particularly confident that Sega will fix them in time if it’s aiming for a 2022 release.

Even if those issues are fixed though I still don’t get what it’s going for in terms of atmosphere and style. Why is it so miserable and empty looking? Since when has Sonic ever been sombre? Even when edgelord Shadow the Hedgehog is involved it’s never that. And why is the game world so realistic looking? What’s the point?

We’ve got dozens of open world games that look like that so why not do something more interesting and stylised that would actually fit the Sonic style? Like the previewer says, all the platforms look totally out of place, as if they come from a completely different game. I already wish they had. I don’t think this is going to be a good game.
Tom Meadows

Strange Frontiers
The Sonic Frontiers game, is just plain bizarre. The developers don’t seem to understand what a Sonic game is and they also don’t understand what was good about Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. You can explore every nook and cranny in Hyrule and for me it was much more about exploration and experimentation than a typical Zelda game of saving the world.

Sonic has never been about exploration, it’s always come across to me as style over substance with its gameplay. Yes, I was very much a Mario fan in the 16-bit wars.
Alek Kazam

Three for one
Based on the P.T. demo and the other leaked footage we saw of Silent Hills I would imagine Hideo Kojima could make an excellent survival horror game and I look forward to seeing whatever Overdose is. However, I find it hard to believe that it’s the Xbox exclusive that has been rumoured.

As has been established, survival horrors don’t sell very well and they also don’t tend to push technically limits. Walking down a spooky corridor to get a jump scare doesn’t sound like something that would need state-of-the-art cloud computing.

I could be wrong but I would assume any game that did would be something quite unusual and not just an existing genre with slightly better graphics. Which means that Kojima probably has three games in development at the moment! Death Stranding 2, Overdose, and the Xbox game. Busy guy.

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Preferred hardware
I was reading some comments in the Underbox today, about the retro mini-consoles, and I would like to say they absolutely are my favourite way of playing old games on a modern TV.

Part of that is definitely nostalgia for the little piece of plastic but playing games using the original controllers is fantastic.

I have the Classic Mini NES, Classic Mini SNES, and the PC Engine Mini. I only bought the SNES because I wanted one since I was 12 and it has a lovely box. PC Engine Mini is marvellous though, I never played one back in the day but it always seemed quite exotic and it has some cracking games on it. Shame I’m rubbish at shoot ’em-ups nowadays.

I have played them all quite a lot and if I had to choose a preferred method of playing old games then it would definitely be the mini-consoles.
John Atkinson

GC: The PC Engine Mini is our favourite too.

Dragon’s designation
How amazing would it be if the Dragon’s Dogma is hinting at a new game announcement and it’s not a sequel but a new Power Stone, since he made both? I know that’s not happening, given the Dragon’s Dogma anniversary website and all but one day… one day.

I am a fan of Dragon’s Dogma as well though and welcome a sequel. I’m only surprised why it hasn’t happened before. I also hope they change the name because, let’s face it, the original was rubbish. I still don’t now what it’s supposed to mean and I think it probably put a lot of people off.

I’m not sure what it should be called instead, that depends what the sequel is actually like, but literally anything would be an improvement. Looking forward to next week and watching the showcase!

Unknown State
I would love to say I have full confidence that Sony will have a second State of Play with a ton of first party announcements but I really haven’t. I have no idea what they’re planning. PS Plus Premium launches in America on Monday and we still haven’t heard squat about that. Is it still going ahead? I assume so but the fact that we haven’t heard a word about it is bizarre… unless there’s another State of Play coming soon.

This is all very frustrating because I’d be interested in knowing what Sony has planned anyway, given they have so little on their books at the moment. I’m still not convinced God Of War: Ragnarök won’t be delayed and I’d like to learn one way or the other. What else has Sony brewing? It can’t just be the Marvel games so what are all their other developers up to?

What about the sequel to Ghost Of Tsushima? What about all the different games Naughty Dog is supposed to be working on? What are Sony Bend doing now? What about the Astro Bot team? I could go on and on. Sony has never been shy about sharing a quick pre-rendered trailer just to announce a game so I don’t know why they’d stop now, when it’s more vital than ever that they prove they have a steady stream of games coming through.

Nintendo Universe
I really hope this Nintendo Studios business isn’t going to be another Dark Universe situation where everyone’s convinced it’s going to be a massive success before a single film is out. I still have doubts about the Mario movie, based on the cast and the other films that Illumination have made and I don’t want Nintendo to bet the house on its being a success.

They’re always very savvy when it comes to games but I don’t know how they are when it comes to movies. Remember, it was the Final Fantasy movie that essentially bankrupted Square and forced them to merge. I’d hate for the same thing to happen to Nintendo.

Previous experience
Wow. Just wow. That really was an exciting prologue they showed for Sonic Frontiers. The enthusiastic host went through endless merchandise and then he, with a forced smile, introduced it. One single static shot of a contractually obliged Knuckles, who only turned up for one static shot and refused to participate further until his agent was contacted. What followed wasn’t much better.

Much like most commentators I’m baffled as to what they’re actually aiming for. Looks more like a tech demo than a game. They may prove me wrong but 20 years of bad 3D Sonic games means I’m not holding out much hope.

The merchandise too looked horribly tacky. I’m a sucker for certain things Nintendo put out but this all looked so cheap. Much like the whole show to be honest. On a positive toy-based note I found a Nendoroid model of this little guy, who feels like he should be a Nintendo family member. No doubt it’s not cheap but certainly not tacky. Take note Sega.

Inbox also-rans
Just Cause 5 is such a weird game to announce. Like others have said, I really can’t believe anyone cares about it. As far as Western games go I’d much rather Square Enix had announced a new Life Is Strange. I’m not sure how much of a success they consider True Colors to have been and I’d like to see a commitment to more.

Just got to the bit in Elden Ring with two Tree Sentinels at once, instead of just the one at the start. I love how taking them apart almost feels easy in comparison to those early hours. Fantastic game.

This week’s Hot Topic
With the Xbox & Bethesda Showcase set to take place late on Sunday, this weekend’s Inbox asks you what you’re hoping to see announced, both at it and other E3-esque shows this June.

E3 may never be coming back but Microsoft, at least, is keeping to the same schedule with its big 90 minute preview event. So what games and other reveals are you hoping for? What surprises do you predict, including new hardware and service announcements, and games intended for release this year?

Sony, Nintendo, and third party publishers haven’t confirmed if they’re doing anything similar this month but if they do what do you hope from that? And what do you think is probably not going to happen?

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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