As much as it's good to have access to older games on current platforms, the new content that Sonic Origins Plus brings only reminds us how poor quality the SEGA handheld library was compared to its home console offerings. The original Sonic the Hedgehog games are great, and Sonic Origins is worth the purchase for those alone. Sonic 1, CD, 2, and 3 & Knuckles are all classics that deserve to be experienced in this collection. They're in widescreen and play just as great as they did back in the day. The only downside is the soundtrack changes made in Sonic 3 because of the legal issues surrounding the music.
Amy is officially playable in the original games for the first time with the Plus expansion, which is awesome. She feels great to play, as if she always belonged here. That said, the other content added with the Plus version brings a collection of games not many will want to see.
The main selling point of Sonic Origins Plus is the addition of 12 Game Gear titles. If you happened to grow up playing these, we can understand why you'd want to go back and relive these adventures. However, newcomers will quickly be put off by the jank.
Many games added in Sonic Origins Plus are just Game Gear ports of Master System titles. Even the games that share names with Sonic and Tails' original introduction have completely different levels than you're familiar with. There are also different features at play. For example, the first zone in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 features railcar sections. That makes seeing these levels exciting to experience the first time, even if it doesn’t feel as good as the original console games.
Your first experience with starting most of these games is having your eardrums blown out by the distorted and crackled SEGA intro. Because these are the Game Gear versions of Master System games, screen crunch is the biggest problem. Frame rate dips are also too common, especially in games like Sonic Chaos and Triple Trouble. After the performance and screen improvements made in the base Origins bundle, it's very disappointing to see SEGA skip out on those for these games that needed them even more. Seeing Game Gear titles struggle on a PS5 is embarrassing.
While the Game Gear games in Sonic Origins Plus don’t look, sound, or play great, the problem comes down to these games not being that good originally — not that they're bad ports. Buy Sonic Origins Plus for the Genesis games and to play as Amy, but don't expect the Game Gear games to run away with your heart.