Friday, February 10, 2023

Sonic Frontiers: 100% Completion, 54 Hours In

Would Sonic Frontiers be better if iit were more consistent? My brain says yes, but…
Imagine a version of Sonic Frontiers without weird spides in the difficultycurve. 

Imagine a version that was consistent about whether or not youo could skip all the weird cinematic cutaways instead of just some of them.

Imagine a version that let you upgrade all four of your stats en masse based on how many resources you’ve collected, instead of en masse for two of them and one level every ten seconds for the other two.

Imagine a version of Sonic Frontiers that didn’t reset all the enemies every few hours of play time, making you fight them all again for no good reason when you’re just trying to complete all the little memory collection challenges.

Imagine a version where the five boss fights varied so widely in difficulty that some of them required multiple attempts and looking things up on the internet but the final boss was almost insultingly simple.

But I still finished it, which is rare. And I (Xbox equivalent of) Platinumed it, including 100%ing all the cyberspace levels and map memory tokens, two things that somehow aren’t even tracked for nay kind of trophy, achievement, or in-game meter. Would I have done that if the game weren’t so odd? If every two good choices were followed by an inexplicably bad choice? I don't know.

You know the last  AAA game I completed this much? Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.  Before that? Spider-Man. I occasionally got annoyed with Sonic Frontiers. I occasionally got tired of it. But I never got mad at it and I never got bored with it, and those are two reactions that I usually have with open-world AAA games. So it must have done a bunch of stuff right!

And it did, though not really anything new than I described in my previous posts. Oh, there’s one chunk of the game that varies from the formula, but it’s an island containing six dizzyingly high towers and a platforming challenge to reach the top of them. An island I definitely shouldn’t have completed in a single evening, because the vague nausea and stress from the heights, while compelling, was also ultimately detrimental.

The rest of the game played out pretty much like the first 20 hours, except for the fishing mini-game, which I refused to fuck with until it became necessary for the last three achievements. It’s fine because it’s super-easy and lets you get stuff but there’s only one thing the game doesn’t give you in a quantity that lets you max it out well before the credits roll, and the difference between Level 20 speed and ring capacity and Level 99 speed and ring capacity is, from a gameplay standpoint, negligible.

It might be different on a mode other than Easy, but the only thing the difficulty affects is combat, and combat is the most irritating part of the game, so there’s zero benefit to playing on a harder one unless you need the validation.

Glad I played it, glad I finished it, and very glad i finished it with plenty of time between now and February 22 (hint hint) so I can spend some extra time playing Hi Fi Rush.

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