I was gonna post this, but you already did. Never got the appeal of this remake and specially never got the claim it's the best remake. It hardly fixed any of the glaring flaws of Gen 2 has like Johto feeling too small and cramped, the level curve being atrocious, and Kanto still being a barren wasteland with hardly anything to do in it except beat Gym Leaders.-Also think HGSS are a bit overrated, and those are the games that got me back into Pokemon in the first place. Similar issues to the Sinnoh games, awful level curve, don't care for the story, and as much as people praise the Kanto post game I find it really boring after the first time playing it when I was a kid. As I've seen some people say, it feels empty.
To elaborate further, It added what has become my most disliked cliche in this series, the "you need to face the cover legendary before the Elite Four". Gen 2 was the last generation to not do this and it's extremely disappointing that the remake decided to do it instead of just doing what the original games did, which was nothing. The whole mystique of the Bell Tower and Whirl Islands went kind out of the window where you were forced to go there instead of going on your own accord.
Pokeathlon was cool though.