SEGA has released a new trailer for Sonic Frontiers (opens in new tab), detailing how combat and progression will work in the blue hedgehog's upcoming adventure. Functionally titled "Combat & Upgrades", it runs through the various abilities Sonic will start out with, and how those abilities will expand and improve over the course of the game. It also proudly announces that Sonic's debut open world game will have a skill tree, which is a bit like someone excitedly telling you that their chair has four legs and a backrest.
According to the trailer, Sonic begins the game with a basic moveset that includes a stomp attack, his familiar drop-dash spin attack, and the "homing" attack which has been controversial more or less since Sonic made the transition into 3D. But these abilities are only good for dealing with basic opponents. Against tougher enemies, you'll need to deploy special "combo" moves like Phantom Rush, where Sonic pummels his opponent in such rapid succession it's as if there's several of him attacking at once. Also available is "Wild Rush", a drunken-boxing version of Drop Dash that lets Sonic attack and avoid being hit at the same time, and "Cyloop" which Sonic can use to break enemy shields by literally running rings around them. Oh, and Sonic has a parry move as well, because every game has to be Dark Souls now.
As for how you'll access these later game powers, defeated enemies drop items named "skill pieces". Collecting these will enable you to unlock new abilities on the skill tree. Skill pieces can also be found in breakable containers hidden around the game world encouraging you to explore the game's nooks and crannies.
It all sounds very Sonic Frontiers, which is to say, bowing to popular convention in a way that seems at odds with the series' core identity. Mollie felt similarly when she took the game for a spin (opens in new tab)earlier this month, stating "Sonic Frontiers is the perfect example of how not every game needs to make grand, open world formats work."
Of course, it could still prove to be brilliant, and it would be nice for Sonic to finally have his Mario moment, unlikely as it may seem. We don't have to wait long to find out either way, as the game launches on November 8.