In 2018 we have a massive amount of throwback gaming options. Between video game remasters, sequels, prequels, and reboots, it’s easy to get caught up in the nostalgia. But, the good people at Toys for Bob have graced us with a completely new series, in a sense: the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. This trilogy includes the first three adventures from the PlayStation days: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. They've all been completely rebuilt from the ground up including new music, voice acting, and of course, graphics. Does the Spyro Reignited Trilogy make us yearn for the days of yesteryear, though? I took it for a flight to find out how much has changed and what's stayed the same.
More of the same, yet new
The first thing I’d like to address is that the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is not a “remaster” per se, but rather a series reboot. These games were developed using the originals as a reference, and although it seems they have copied nearly everything from its 90s PS1 counterparts, it is, in fact, a new trilogy. The biggest takeaway is how amazing the graphics in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy turned out.
The Unreal Engine makes these games look absolutely gorgeous, especially with the games’ art direction being so silly and fun. Most, if not all, of the levels are nearly identical to the original 90s games, with liberties being taken mainly on individual character designs. This serves to add a lot more personality to the overall game. All of the dragons you encounter look unique to the realm you’re in and add more charm to the overall gaming experience.
The controls feel tight and responsive, better, in fact, thanks to next-generation controllers & dual analog sticks. You can even use the D-pad to move around if you prefer the old school way of controlling Spyro.
Gone but not forgotten
Spyro’s later years weren’t very kind to the dragon. Aside from a few 3DS titles, Spyro's good name was dragged through the mud and beaten with a large stick -that is until Toys for Bob brought him back with Skylanders. Once Skylanders was discontinued, the developers decided to try something very few other studios have attempted: Recreate an older game almost completely from scratch, all while maintaining the original game layout, controls and story. It’s not 100% an exact copy but it’s pretty darn close.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy takes you through the 3 core games and in each game, you face a new villain and gain new abilities and skills. However, each game’s format remains the same at its core. The layout of multiple hub worlds that have portals to specific levels that challenge you to find a variety of collectibles is very reminiscent of Mario 64. It’s been about 18 years since I’ve played a Spyro game other than Skylanders, but the formula still works remarkably well. The gameplay is spot-on and feels like how a 3D platformer should feel. It’s not even really nostalgia that drives your enjoyment, but rather the colorful characters, vibrant environments, responsive controls, and fun platforming. It is what video games were and could be again: a fun, colorful adventure.
There are so many current generation games that are needlessly violent, feel the need to provide one hundred plus hours of in-game content, or are online only, so it’s easy to glance over a classic 3D platformer that only has thirty or so hours of gameplay in it. But it is refreshing to see a return to what gaming was in the late 90s.
Dragons know best
In the end, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a great game whether you played the original ones or not. It reminds us how games used to be and still can be. Maybe this game will bring back the 3D platform games that only Nintendo seems to want to make in 2018. My only complaint with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is that it may be too easy. It is important to remember though, that the PS1 games were geared toward a younger gamer generation and not necessarily hardcore Quake players. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy Retails for $39.99 and is a pretty reasonable price considering you get three full-length games totaling approximately 30-40 hours of gameplay. That is, depending on achievement completion tendencies. My only real question is when does it come out for Nintendo Switch?
This review is based on an Xbox One download code provided by the publisher. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is available in retail and digital stores now, for $39.99. The game is rated E for everyone.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- Amazing updated graphics
- Fun 3D platforming
- Enjoyable for all ages
- Not on Nintendo Switch
- A tad too easy
- A slice of 'memberberry pie