I think that it permeates a lot more than just what's in the game, but how it works. On a purely mechanical and technical level, everything about Forces works the way it's supposed to. If you asked random people who were aware of the series but maybe didn't play a ton of it, or reviewers who don't do the "Sonic 06 exists therefore bad" thing, the biggest problem with the Sonic series, they'd probably say, is it's functionality, in either design or programming. I mean, do that many people outside the hardcore fanbase really pay all that much attention to the level design outside either egregiously bad examples like Advance 3 or the baseline "boost2win" complaint? Probably not, at least from what I can tell. Additionally, professional reviewers judging Sonic level design only seem to base things in how many pits or enemies catch them off guard when going too fast. Forces is totally a game based in trying to get a lot out of a little, from both sales and reviews. I think the only real reason I'm letting it slide it because it pertains to something I myself don't mind enough to call a bad game. Call that low standards if you feel like it, I just call it a difference in perceived value of design elements (Non-linear level design is for replay value. What does that mean to someone who hardly replays the classic games?). It's not like the level design is as bad as it could be, too -- I'll take something easy and basic enough to beat in an afternoon over something that will hold me hostage for days by being so frustrating. I wouldn't put too much faith into reviewers thinking it's bad though -- they're closer to the kind of youtube fans you were talking about than they are to the type that stick around here.