It was genesis era, so it was nailing its basic gameplay from the start. It had the innovative ability to save your game, which was a great change from having to do it in a single sitting, made that longer double game much more feasible, and let achievements like getting all chaos emeralds be kept.
You got only 3 playable characters, each of which brought their own twist on the levels that made them all worth playing, including sonic only vs sonic+tails modes.
It was able to present levels which could be tackled at a very wide range of competencies. You could tackle them as a new player, exploring them, figuring them out, and they were satisfying, but as a veteran player you could come back and do the levels better and faster with more secrets. This played back into the chaos emerald system, where you had to find secrets to make attempts on the emeralds. Beating the game was one level, beating it with all emeralds was another, and was duly rewarded. Supersonic was simply fun to play and was a suitable reward, plus it unlocked the true final level and ending. Unlike 3 or knuckles alone, you could get hyper versions of all characters. Hypersonic turned supersonic up yet another notch, hyper knuckles could shake the world by gliding into walls and tails got an army of hyper birds to attack things. It made it worth fully beating the game multiple times and it let you start over from any level with the hyper characters unlocked.
They were by far the best in terms of character development and giving every little character attention. The Music by Crush 40 is my favorite Sonic music so It’s also a banger soundtrack for me. The characters look fun to play with.
In terms of story, voice acting, and gameplay/uniqueness is Sonic Unleashed. As for Modern Sonic his stages look astonishing and are the part of the game most people compliment. He has less to upgrade, only speed and ring energy (Basically more energy gauge per ring) but that’s all he needs as you blast through his stages with ‘sonic speed’ and quick-time events. There’s a lot of shortcuts also with collectibles. An example of what Modern Sonic games should be, It’s very similar to Generations. It also has amazing music, the night stages have cool jazz (Although 90% of the time you’re listening to the battle theme as there’s only one battle theme in the entire game and it plays whenever an enemy spots you which is well… most of the game), the day stages have upbeat melodies as usual that most Sonic fans flex about. Would definitely give the soundtrack a listen.
Additionally, the story for the game is amazing albeit it doesn’t focus on more characters other than Sonic and Chip, but Chip is an interesting and very important character anyways. The game also adds important lore to the series and the end of the game was pulled off too much perfectly. Even if they pissed me off by not showing Sonic wearing Chip’s gift he obtained during the ending of Unleashed in the future games. What do I mean? Well firstly here’s Chip.
Sonic’s character was probably at its peak around this game launch. Very enjoyable and even a relatable character. Jason Griffith really did his character justice in this game thus why he’s my favorite actor. He can really show emotion.
The game is unique, explores cool concepts and pulls them off exceptionally well, is a fun 3D platformer and brawler game, and has fun characters you can really connect to. What more could you want?