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Sonic Forces Lets You Craft Your Own Hedgehog

SEATTLE – At long last, an official Sonic game will give you the opportunity to do what countless DeviantArt aficionados have done for years: make your very own character.

There’s no denying that the Sonic franchise has had some serious ups and downs lately, but if nothing else, Sonic Forces will deliver a feature that fans have dreamed about ever since the blue hedgehog debuted almost three decades ago. That alone might make it worth the price of admission.

Credit: Sega

(Image credit: Sega)

I went hands-on with Sonic Forces at PAX West 2017, and got to try two of its various modes. I was especially eager to get my hands on the game’s touted Avatar Mode, which allows players to create anthropomorphic animal, outfit him or her with a weapon and blast through Sonic stages at top speed.

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Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to create a protagonist from scratch, but the premade avatar I controlled gave me a pretty good idea of the attributes players will be able to tweak. I took control of a purple female fox outfitted with a lightning gun; in the final version of the game, players will be able to customize color, species, sex and weaponry, ensuring that no two avatars are quite alike.

In-game, my avatar controlled just like Sonic, Tails or Knuckles would, blazing through a traditional side-scrolling stage, stopping only to zap enemies in her path, bounce off of springs or vault herself onto hidden paths. It didn’t feel like a huge advantage over simply playing as Sonic, but the effect is probably enhanced if you get to create your own protagonist.

I also had a chance to take control of Sonic in a 3D level, where he blasted through ring-strewn corridors, like in the Sonic Adventure series. The level was fast and furious, and failing the occasionally demanding platform challenges only set me back a few seconds. Checkpoints are generous; Sega doesn’t want players to lose their hard-earned sense of speed.

If Sonic Mania is any indication, Sega’s reliable old blue hedgehog still has some life left in him. Sonic Forces could be just what a hopeful player base needs, with a feature that they’ve been requesting for years. Everything works as advertised; now, we just need to see if the full game measures up to its potential. The game will be out on November 7 for all major platforms, and will cost $40.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.