You can't polish shit.
A few years ago, my friends and I played this game marathon-style in tribute to/following the leader of the LP gang; I've been replaying it recently to see if it holds up as just as awful when taking time to play it for real and seriously.
It does. This is a truly awful game.
Slippery controls, confusing (and often frustrating) level design, a bad camera and bad sound design do little to prop up a story that only works if every single character is a raging moron and levels where you'll often feel like it was a complete waste of time, as they don't progress the story at all. In fact, it barely feels like a story for any character, just a random series of events— not at all like the comparatively snappy storytelling of SA and SA 2
, where at least you felt finishing a level had a storyline purpose.
Let's make something clear: I had no problems at all with the cameras in any Sonic game before this, not even Heroes, but the camera of Sonic 2k6 sent me flying to my death more than once, this being not helped by the controls.
The controls? Yeah, they're the number-one downfall. Only with Silver — a terribly annoying character who can break the physics engine with a misstep — will you not be plummeting to your death on a regular basis, possibly because he totters along at a nearly-painful rate. The other characters are slippery and hard to manage, the slightest tap sending them veering into oblivion. It is actually easier to steer by holding forward and moving the camera— and THAT'S a sad reflection.
The worst problem?
There are occasionally glimmers of what could have been a fun game. With a bit clearer level design and better controls, if the story was disregarded it could have been enjoyable, though not great. It's clear a lot of good ideas went in, they just got half-baked and buried under a landslide of shit.
(The music's good, though, as it tends to be for Sonic games.)
A frustrating game with an awful story, controls that ruin it for even those who can overlook the plot, and a camera that actively hates you— it's a flop. But you didn't need me to tell you that.