Yesterday, the first relatively detailed gameplay video of Sonic Frontiers was released on IGN.
I posted a mock news post about it yesterday (for those looking for it, here’s the link, it was removed to the Community Posts section), due to the quality of the game on showcase. Perhaps my joke was a bit out of place, but the gameplay video does leave a lot to be desired. Video for those who haven’t seen it yet:
Shading and rendering
The video greets us with a nightmare in the first frame.
The first thing one sees when turning on this video is a pitch-black texture, obviously due to an unfinished shading system. This isn’t the first or last time the shadow problem in this game will be evident, but it’s strange that so much emphasis is placed on it in the first second.
However, this is only part of the problem. Down near the trees the texture flickers, whether it’s because of the range of the drawing or the broken shadows, it looks pretty cheap. And completing the compositions are gorgeous views of rail noodles that just fly in the air.
I would like to point out. This is the first second of the video.
Another example of broken shading.
Even ignoring those weird chunks of shadow lying in the grass of no apparent reason (who knows, maybe there are springs flying around?), the grass that just disappears right in plain sight is a shame.
The game has obvious problems with the loading of location. In this gif you can see how the location is loading before your eyes, giving you a great SEGA production soap.
Rails in the sky
Flying noodles in the sky.
Personally, I have nothing against rails hanging in the sky. They have always been a part of the Sonic universe, and have already managed to become an authentic part of it. As the video will show later, at close range the locations look very nice (if you ignore the broken shadows and disgusting drawing range). However, at such moments when Sonic is standing on top and looking into the distance, not only does the game look bad because of the rails just hanging in the sky, but the lack of post effects (like fog) is also conspicuous. It is the post effects, for example, often block your view beyond the map when you are standing on a high point. What prevented to hide those disgisting-looking rails with post effects I have no idea).
Objects appearing out of nowhere
Platforms learning Chaos Control.
Objects simply appear out of air at a relatively short distance from Sonic. The drawing range is disgusting. I can only hope that this was gameplay on the Nintendo Switch.
Another example of objects popping out of the air.
Gorgeous punching animation. Feel the impact?
Another beautiful animation.
Great walking animation. It reminds me of the cutscenes from Sonic Adventure, where the characters would sometimes glide in one place, moving their feet. Except, that was a 1998 game, the first in full 3D. And this is Sonic Frontiers, the 2022 game, Triple A.
But seriously, this problem is obviously because the animations haven’t been changed since Forces. No seriously, running, walking, jumping and railing are all exactly the same as in Forces. Except, these animations don’t fit in the Frontiers environment, which leads to this ridiculous sliding, and the only animations that have been added (punch and stunts) look comical and ridiculous.
Apparently, the physics have remained unchanged since the Forces. By itself, the physics of Forces was extremely clumsy, unresponsive, and lacked the key element of any speed game: inertia. However, this physics worked within the linear and simple Forces. However, how such physics will manifest itself in an open-world game I even afraid to imagine.
In trying to reach a conclusion, alas, I can only nod my head in disapproval. I have no idea what they were doing, but they weren’t able to change the model or the animations of the main playable character in the 5 years since Forces. It’s just wild and ridiculous. The new animations look comical, things appear out of nowhere, the loading is terrible, and the shading is disgusting. The only hope is that it was Switch gameplay that was shown, and that the loading and range of visibility issues won’t be so terrible on PC and older consoles.
Also, I am driven to Homeric laughter by rumors of several playable characters. Comrades, these “developers” have failed to change the animations and model of ONE character in 5 years. Just for comparison, look what fans have achieved with Sonic Omens or Project Hero in far less time and with far less resources and a far smaller team. In my opinion, Sonic Team suffer not even from greed, but from banal lack of professionalism. These people don’t know how to make games, and that’s their main problem.
Of course, it’s too early to give a verdict, after all, the game isn’t out yet. It also has a great soundtrack and locations. No kidding, I really enjoyed how the locations look (just as long as Sonic himself didn’t look like a piece of running plastic in front of those locations).
Extremely beautiful locations.
However, the most annoying thing, of course, is the behavior of Sonic Team and SEGA. The teaser showed elements of the combat system, and absolutely everyone was deceived by it. Everyone thought that the presentation would show the combat system, and that’s exactly what everyone was waiting for. However, there was nothing of that kind, and we just watched the same things that have remained unchanged since the Forces days. That could literally be considered lying. Here’s a teaser of the presentation, for those who missed it: