Sonic Frontiers is an ambitious project from Sega, in which the iconic platformer of the blue hedgehog is transferred to a photorealistic open area. This change has already irritated some fans, based on early footage; there were concerns that Sonic Frontiers’ open-world style would limit the high-speed movement that Sonic has always been known for. During a hands-on demonstration at the Summer Game Fest, Screen Rant got the chance to experience a scene in Cyber Space, a mysterious digital realm inspired by the high-speed obstacle courses that Sonic 3D games are best known for.
Access to the stages of Cyber Space is carried out through mysterious stone structures scattered across the islands of the Starfall. Each requires a certain number of Portal Gears to activate; these Mechanisms can be obtained by defeating boss robots, which can be found scattered around the islands, and, according to the demo, it will not be difficult to find them. In the Sonic Frontiers demo at Summer Game Fest, simply interacting with a structure with insufficient Gear caused the boss to appear and provide the missing part. The structures serve as gates to certain stages of Cyber Space, which can be replayed at your leisure.
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The Cyber Space scene shown in the demo was a classic high-speed segment reminiscent of any of Sonic the Hedgehog’s 3D offerings. While the nature of this cybernetic realm seems to have a direct bearing on the overarching plot of Sonic Frontiers, the scene itself was radically different from the rest of the game in almost every way. The photorealistic, realistic setting of the Star-studded Islands is completely excluded by the much more luxurious setting with majestic columns and marble paths. Typical sound obstacles and mechanics appear, including springs and grinding rails. The enemies encountered at this stage are also much more explicitly related to Sonic’s long-time enemy, Dr. Eggman. They can boast of its traditional spherical design and bright red coloring, in contrast to the neutral colors and abstract forms of robot opponents found on the islands of Starfall.
The gameplay of Sonic Frontiers Cyber Space retains the same general control scheme as in the main game, but Sonic is, of course, much faster than in the normal world, and slowing down is not an option. In the traditional manner of Sonic, there are many branching paths available throughout the course, but players will have to act quickly to take advantage of them and the additional rings they hold. Sidestepping, which can help players avoid being fatally hit by a giant robot in the real world, can instead be used to jump between rails or dodge approaching obstacles at these speed segments.
The Realm of Cyberspace should be a welcome addition for Sonic fans, especially for those who find the Sonic Frontiers gameplay a bit empty. At the same time, the fact that these segments are treated as a completely separate experience, almost like a game within a game, makes one wonder to what extent Sonic’s iconic speed will be realized in the main title. A cinematic high-speed segment in which players embark on a fast-paced run through the mysterious islands of Starfall is likely to be an interesting way to introduce players to the new setting. It remains to be seen if there are plans for such a scenic run, or if fans will have to collect Portal Gears to allow Sonic to reach maximum speed.