In my opinion I feel like people misinterpret the various iterations of modern Sonic games as desperate attempts to reinvent the series rather than experimentation by the developers.
It's a shame that games like Sonic 06, the story book series (secret rings and black knight) and Sonic Unleashed had so many hiccups (or miss-fires) but one thing you have to give the developers are that they do build upon the things that were done right while taking each series in a new direction. No Sonic series is like the other, and while this was a bad thing for a while I feel like it keeps things fresh. If only they could shake the stigma that each new iteration is a reboot.
I would argue that Sonic Unleashed (not the Wii version) was probably the last of the "bad" Modern Sonic games, though it really isn't all that bad when you exclude portions of the Werehog segments. If you look at Sonic Colors and Generations, the "Sonic Adventure" play style has been refined to quite an enjoyable experience. Now we have Sonic Lost World which plays completely different from any other modern Sonic offering, allowing you to directly control how Sonic handles using the run button which addresses the complaints that Sonic was impossible to control at high speeds and also reintroduces the focus on platforming. (And before anyone says Lost World is a rip-off of the Mario Galaxy series...well that's as shallow a statement as saying Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are the same thing.)
Speaking of Mario, if we want to make comparisons, I feel like Mario is need of some redirection too. I always have a good time playing Mario games, but they never surprise me anymore. As such, I usually just give them a single play through because they just aren't that excited to me anymore. There's just no WOW factor... I feel like since Mario 64, Mario has largely handled the same other than the multitude of powerups that mostly just feel tacked on to me. The difference is (and I know I'll burn for this) is that Mario usually gets a free pass in reviews for hiccups or mediocrity where Sonic usually burns for them. I'm getting waaaaay off topic though.
I'm not going to sit and tell you that modern Sonic games are perfect the way they are though. I prefer the genesis titles that were more heavily based on platforming and maintaining momentum. Obviously I would prefer the new titles to take this same direction, though implementing the momentum aspect is something I'm honestly not sure how to tackle apart from moving back to a strictly 2D plane.
My hope for Sonic is that the series continues to evolve solely based on the data that works (Generations and Lost World). Oh and no more rail grinding segments, though they've been fixed, I just don't understand their insistence on them.
Are SOAP shoes still a thing?
I really like what they're doing with the new Sonic Boom series from what little we've seen of the gameplay and the show looks like it's going to be entertaining for the right age group. While it's received mostly praise, there are still a lot of naysayers out there (redesign complaints aside) claiming this alternate universe as another desperate attempt to reinvent itself, when in fact is just the opposite. The producers have stated time after time that this is an effort to experiment and take the Sonic games in new directions. It's that willingness to experiment and keep an open mind with gameplay that has kept my interest in Sonic over the years.
Sorry this ended up so long, I just started typing and here we are. If you've read this far thank you for the time. I'm interested in hearing your opinions as well!