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"I don't think people are caring as much either way"
Is that why the game has a 9-to-1 dislike-like ratio on its reveal video and a change.org petition calling for its cancellation? Because people do not care about it one way or the other?
"I think Paper Mario enters more that category of "a good Sonic game in a bad series of Sonic games""
I did not say 'a good [series name] game in a bad series of [series name] games'; I said 'a good game (as in, on its own merits), but a bad [series name] game'.
What it comes down to is when people evaluate a game based on its relation to the series it belongs to rather than its own merits.
E.g., someone might say 'Prime Pinball is a good game, but it's a bad Metroid game (because it does not fit in with the other games under the Metroid brand)'.