Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys For Bob
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2018


PS4 Review - 'Spyro Reignited Trilogy'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Nov. 15, 2018 @ 12:15 a.m. PST

Spyro Reignited Trilogy bundles the original three games (Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon) with the same sick burns, same smoldering attitude, now all scaled up in stunning HD.

Buy Spyro Reignited Trilogy

The PlayStation One era introduced many classics, but it was an awkward transitional time. Early 3D graphics, the early change from digital to analog sticks, and countless other small but significant changes mean that a lot of classic games are difficult to revisit. Sprite-based games like Symphony of the Night have aged a little better than others, but many classics of the PS1 era have not aged well. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an unexpected delight because it recognizes the flaws and strengths of that era and attempts to capture the basics and the intention of Insomniac's original games.

Spyro is a franchise built around the titular Spyro the Dragon. He's an adorable little purple dragon who must rescue his fellow dragons from the evil Gnasty Gnorc. The other two games in the series follow the same basic idea, with baddies being bad and Spyro trying to stop them. It's simple but charming and fun. There are a lot of memorable characters, and it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon in that it features both adventure and comedy without leaning too far into the sort of pure childishness that turns off kids.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy includes three titles: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. All three games follow the same basic mold in that players take control of our favorite little purple dragon and are thrust into a series of wacky worlds where he must find his way through danger to rescue his friends. Admittedly, Spyro has a rather limited move set in the first title, so he can basically jump, breathe fire, charge, and glide (and later fly) with his wings. The later games in the series offer new abilities, such as swimming, supercharging his powers, and alternate playable characters, such as a double-jumping Kangaroo girl. All three games provide a steady and focused toolkit and built upon it in a sensible way. You gradually learn the ins and outs of your abilities and use them in fun ways, much as you would in a Mario or Sonic title.

Honestly, Spyro Reignited excels in the level design. It's easy to hop into a level and have something fun and interesting to do. Not every level is a hit; sometimes, they're tedious or overly punishing. Several of the challenges, especially optional ones, can feel bizarrely tight for a game that is otherwise so relaxing and easy. Minigames and flight sequences seem particularly prone to unexpected difficulty spikes, but they're few and far between, and the games are more or less a delight to play. They're simple and enjoyable platformers that thread the needle well between being simple to pick up and engaging to play.

Spyro Reignited hasn't seen too many upgrades in terms of actual gameplay. The biggest and most significant is that all three games support full analog controls. To newcomers, this might not sound like a particularly noteworthy addition, but if you played the PS1 originals, you'll know why this is a magnificent update. The simple act of being able to freely move the camera and Spyro does wonders to chip away a bit of the age on the gameplay. Based on the gameplay alone, it's easy to say that this compilation offers the definitive version of the three Spyro games. There are a lot of small tweaks that adapt existing mechanics but don't alter the actual games.

There's also a lot of game here. The Spyro games aren't 100-hour epics, but there are three fully fleshed-out games with an absurd number of challenges, collectibles and secrets to find. Fortunately, unlike a lot of remastered collections, Spyro Reignited lacks any real duds. If you enjoy the Spyro play style, you'll enjoy all three games more or less equally. This makes it a lot easier to recommend because if you (or your kids) enjoy Spyro at all, then Spyro Reignited is a bundle of three excellent games.

Spyro Reignited's biggest strength — and biggest flaw — is that the game is a relic of PS1-era, 3D platforming game design. Aside from the updates to the control schemes and a few other minor changes, it's still basically the same game that you played in the '90s. On the one hand, this makes it a wonderful return for those who loved the original Spyro games. This is an example of how a remaster of a particularly old game should be done. It retains the love and charm of the original without completely changing it.

On the other hand, there have been over 20 years of video game advancements since the first title was released. I really like the Spyro games, but I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy them if Reignited were my very first time playing them. The games are inconsistent, so they're sometimes too easy and sometimes too difficult. Sometimes they're poorly explained, and other times, they're just plain weird. For someone who grew up with that generation of platformers, it's easy to look beyond the problems because they were the norm at the time. A younger gaming audience that's experiencing the franchise for the first time might have difficulty grasping what mom or dad found so compelling about the games.

A big selling point of the remastered trilogy is the visuals. Spyro Reignited completely redid the designs of the characters and the world, so everything has a modern Dreamworks-style CGI appearance that works really well. Spyro looks infinitely better than his Skylanders version, and by and large, the new characters designs are for the better, aside from a few misses. You can still find the relics of the PS1 era in some of the limitations or structures of the levels, but enough new features have been added to make them feel a lot better than the admittedly drab polygon halls in the originals. The soundtrack is also excellent, capturing the feel of the original music while updating it to feel modern. Even the voice acting catches a nice balance between loyalty to the original and remembering that we had very different standards 20 years ago.

The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a fantastic remake of the original Spyro trilogy. It expertly toes the line between loyalty to the classics and updating the originals. I would absolutely put it in the high end of remasters, and I felt it did an even better job than the recent Crash Bandicoot remaster. The only real flaw is that it's still a port of PS1-era games, so if that play style isn't up your alley, Spyro Reignited probably won't change your mind.

Score: 8.0/10

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