SA2 is something I'm super torn on. I used to lament the loss of the hub worlds and more open levels from SA1 (and the latter in the classics), but I feel on the other hand it did a more speed focused gameplay in a very great way, so I still enjoy it for different reasons. The characterization and character writing is still my favorite in the games, and Sonic himself, from his in game model design to his actual animations and stylistic flair with them all come together to make that my favorite 3D representation of the character himself. I know the locales themselves are also polarizing due to them looking even more "realistic", but there are so many crazy locations that I don't see how that's actually a problem, since there are still lots of very cool fictional levels like Pumpkin Hill and all of the ARK stages and Eggman's base levels. It's not as artistically stylized, but the aesthetics of the levels themselves are still very strong. Basically, I guess my point is I too played the Genesis titles first as a kid. I played those, then I got a Dreamcast and then got Adventure 1, and then got Adventure 2 when it was released, and nothing about any of those ever divided me. If anything, I was probably happy that they were trying different things and each game had its own identity.