Probably the single best 3D Sonic game.
I liked the slight consolidation of genres from the previous entry in the series, that one tried to do too many things and did most of them quite poorly just to showcase the Dreamcast's then awe-inducing processing power and many of the system's features (like the Chao characters introduced in order to support the Visual Memory Unit by slapping a Tamagotchi knock-off into a 3D platformer). It's much tighter, speedier, less buggy, runs much more smoothly and generally has better collision detection and camera work (save for some punctual sections in some stages, like the narrow corridors in Aquatic Mine), and in some aspects it's also more challenging than the first Adventure.
I disliked the lack of enemy variety between stages; the "recycling" of multiple stage assets (Eggman's Weapons Bed is a retooling of Sonic's Metal Harbor, Shadow's Sky Rail is Knuckles' Pumpkin Hill, you get the idea) probably because of storage constraints due to the Dreamcast's GD-ROM format; the control setup could have used some work, like separating actions such as somersault/spin dash and the light dash and assign them to different buttons; the horrible and completely out of place Chao gardens are still there, now in the form of the "Chao World"; and in general this is one of the less "sonicy" games in the series, it gets pretty bleak and lacks the aesthetic creativity of previous titles, like the original Mega Drive/Genesis game, Sonic CD and even Sonic 3 and Knuckles.
Overall it is a better game than its direct predecessor, but there are many good reasons for old school fans to despise it because of how many of the series' defining features it lacked, how many of Adventure's failings it carries, and how many of the series' current vices it introduced. In any case, at this point these are just quibbles over an undeniably polished, unique, mostly fun game.
The last Sonic game for a Sega system is, somewhat fittingly, also probably one of the last really good Sonic games.Read full review