What I'm coming to realize between my own playthrough and watching some others is that everything is technically here for the game to be even better than it is, but they've crowded it a bit. I think it's an issue of ratios and refinement, honestly. If the next Sonic game does indeed adopt this same gameplay (which, based on the decent reviews and fandom mania it probably will), then it should have a higher number of smaller, more focused open zones (read: less spring-rail-dashpanel boredom) and longer action stages, both with more environmental diversity. If I am very charitable to Sonic team, I could say that this game's development caused a fair amount of the stretching-thin of some of the content. We know that their first version of the open world was a bust, and I'm willing to bet that they couldn't let whatever they built there go to waste, so it became the platform and rail-laden weirdness we have now. It would be real nice if a prospective new one was just built with all that stuff in mind and had the more vertical twisting world geometry we know and love. Add to that that you could stretch a similar amount of bosses and enemy types across multiple smaller hubs with less fluff, and I'd say the pacing would be very easily improved (as much as I've been enjoying myself, this game does feel long, and that's not necessarily a good thing). I have less excuses for cyberspace. I'm not all that knowledgeable about game development, but does intentionally basing most of your stages off of previous ones save much time or resources, when you aren't literally reusing the same map geometry? I don't feel like it would be that helpful. Assets, sure, my only gripe is if you're reusing assets this blatantly, why not reuse more of them, or just differentiate the stages in other ways? They got it right with the time of day changes, but fuck it, just slap vertex colors on things. Turn platforms upside down. Give each level some kind of distinct visual, even if it's not too impressive. Anything is better than nothing (oh and also make it control as good as the open zone obviously, but you coulda guessed that). Everything else about this formula works for me. I feel like these should not be the most difficult of changes to make in a sequel, especially when you're not reinventing the core gameplay at the same time. Other stuff, like real NPCs to interact with or sidequests, better bonus and postgame content, challenges, chao et al. can come later. I'm okay with waiting for that stuff.