Sonic Frontiers is widely praised for its storytelling — though a relatively short experience, some say the game's script is the most poignant since Sonic Adventure 2.
Ian Flynn's work on the game's dialogue, along with Tomoya Ohtani's songwriting moxie, leave us with many poignant moments to linger on. The story takes on a more mature and melancholy tone with a detailed, nuanced approach to new and familiar elements alike. Curated for your reading pleasure, here are the most quotable highlights from the blue blur's latest smash hit, Sonic Frontiers.
10/10 "I Know What I Saw: A Love That Transcended Time. I Believe In That Power… I Wanna Share That Love With The World, Even If It'll Take Us Far Apart."
Amy and Sonic share a meaningful, heartfelt conversation near the end of your stay on Kronos Island, shortly after witnessing an intense vision of the distant past. Two Ancients embraced in the heart of a chaotic battlefield, just seconds before being obliterated by a laser explosion.
Though the tragedy killed them both, Amy finds the silver lining: the two shared a love that even certain doom couldn't destroy. The Koco are living proof of this, as they contain the memories and psyches of the Ancients themselves. Even if they were lost to time, they were never truly gone. It brings to mind a verse from Sappho, of all things: "Beyond all hope, I prayed… I prayed one word: I want. / Someone, I tell you, will remember us, / even in another time."
9/10 "Oh, I Hate That Hedgehog. But That Doesn't Change The Fact That He Is A Formidable Adversary. I Respect Him, But I Don't Have To Like Him."
On Ares Island, Sonic's friendly rivalry with Knuckles takes center stage as the two search for the Chaos Emeralds. Meanwhile, Sage and Dr. Eggman have a discussion with some interesting parallels to the red-blue alliance — Dr. Eggman's own long-standing rivalry with Sonic is, despite mutual antagonizing, very much built on respect.
This is perhaps an element of Dr. Eggman's character that makes him a plausible and sometimes ideal antihero companion when things go south; without his brains and knowledge of family history, Sonic Adventure 2 may not have resolved as peacefully as it did, for example. Sometimes all you need to make two arch-nemeses work together is a bigger, more apocalyptic threat.
8/10 "You May Be The Last, But You're Not Alone. You've Got Us, Knucklehead."
Knuckles' backstory is one of the series' most consistent elements. He is the last of his tribe, and of his entire species as well; many of his insecurities stem from the pressure placed on his shoulders to protect the Master Emerald, with no other echidnas left to do it in his stead.
Isolation has also made Knuckles a bit naive to others' ulterior motives and sinister intentions, landing him in trouble in the past. Sonic reassures Knuckles, however, that everybody loves him just the way he is — no matter how much of a stubborn or misguided knucklehead he can be, when push comes to shove, he shows up for his friends. And that's a two-way street.
7/10 "You Lose The Battles That You Never Fight."
Sonic Frontiers really goes full-on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance with its soundtrack — the Titan boss fights just wouldn't be the same without some hard metal blasting a hole into your skull. Ohtani's lyrics pack a powerful punch, too; as Wayne Gretzky once said, "you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take", Sonic says "you lose the battles that you never fight".
He's right! Knowing when to walk away is one thing, but knowing when to buckle down and fight has saved Sonic's hedgehog hide time and time again (and ours, too, given the frequent apocalypses he tends to be caught up in).
6/10 "We're Not Fixing The Problem They Think They Have. But We Are Bringing Them Peace."
The Koco are the last remnants of the Ancients, who were wiped out by a mysterious extraterrestrial threat. As Sage mentions, their fates have long since been sealed; nothing that Sonic and friends say or do for them can change the final outcome of their departed lives. Tails points out that it may be cruel and dishonest to help the Koco with their problems, because those problems can never be solved in any tangible, lasting way.
Sonic, seemingly wise beyond his years, replies that while the Koco and the Ancients can't be helped physically, they can be helped spiritually; much of Frontiers' story is about finding closure for untold histories, and moving on from the past, so this exchange resonates particularly well with the game's thematic core.
5/10 "You've Got Brains Like Eggman, Speed Like Me, And You Can Fly With Your Butt. It's Okay If You Need Help Sometimes. That's Just Part Of Growing Up."
Eloquent as ever, Sonic gives Tails a pep talk on Chaos Island to remind him why he's important not just to his big bro Sonic himself, but to the whole world.
Every person on the planet has something about them that can't be replaced by anyone else, and Tails is no exception — most of us, unfortunately, cannot also "fly with our butts".
4/10 "A Family Born Of Love And Not Genetics. Everything I Want… It Was So Much Easier Accepting The Future When We Were Enemies."
Ah, the curse of being a sentient AI in a world of squishy, emotionally volatile human beings: it's hard not to catch the virus known as love. Poor Sage begins to view Dr. Eggman as something of a father figure well before the scientist himself notices he sees her as his daughter, causing her a significant amount of sadness and jealousy.
Sonic and Tails have everything she wants — even without the compulsory connection of bloodlines, the two manage to stick together as surrogate siblings. Dr. Eggman may not have created life the old-fashioned way, but Sage believes inorganic familial bonds of love are just as (if not even more) valuable.
3/10 "I Can Feel My Fire Awaken; No Time For Being Complacent / There's A Dream On The Horizon; You Know We Gotta Chase It."
Following in the metal theme of previous Titan boss fights, Find Your Flame is the killer vocal theme that plays during Supersonic's face-off against Knight. Tyler Smyth's energetic rock-rap stylings amp up the track even more, bringing us vicious bars like the one you see here.
It's interesting here that Smyth uses the phrase "dream on the horizon" — the Koco elders mention returning to "the dream" as a euphemism for eternal rest in Cyberspace, where their memories and hopes are intangibly bound. Sonic is the one who brings the Ancients closure for their legacy, a closure that has long been on the horizon, but never truly fulfilled.
2/10 "Be Careful… Dear Daughter."
It's hard not to fall in love with Sage at least a little. Watch out — she'll get you, too. Despite his posturing and denial, Dr. Eggman is no different: he really does see Sage as his daughter, synthetic or not. After avoiding defining her as a person for most of the game, we finally see him concede to his true feelings — unfortunately, Sage herself never hears it.
At least, not yet. This moment is core to Frontiers' emotional resolution, adding a fresh new layer to the good (or, well, bad) doctor's characterization. It is also one of the rare moments where Dr. Eggman admits he was wrong about something, even if we are the only ones who hear his confession.
1/10 "Took Me Time To Realize / My Heart Is For What Data Can't Do… / I'm Happy To Have Been Your Creation, To Have Been Your Child."
Much like the Ancients' own hopes and dreams, Sage's love endures beyond her tragic fate — the song Dear Father, composed by Ohtani with vocals provided by Quinnie, is Sage's heart expressed in musical form.
While teaching an AI to love is a fairly saturated trope at this juncture, Sonic Frontiers does something truly inspired by choosing to have Sage's character arc revolve around her relationship with a father figure instead of whether or not she can experience love. And boy, does it pay dividends… in the currency of player tears. Here's hoping Sage makes a triumphant return in future titles, and finally gets the love from her father that she deserves.
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