Gamers clamor for newness. We want new intellectual properties, never-before-seen mechanics, groundbreaking storytelling, the latest graphical enhancements and the next best thing. But we also have a soft spot for that which is old, nostalgic to us. And when the best parts of the new are combined with the magic of the old, into the perfect elixir, you end up with something truly special, like the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, a remastered collection of Spyro the Dragon, Spyro: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
The Spyro series has always had a magical feel to it, which is captured perfectly in Reignited. Gems clink, spewing golden letters with the gem's value into the air when picked up. Fairies zap Spyro with their wands as he runs by, checkpointing the player's progress. Curious creatures, both friend and foe, litter the levels. The feel is much as I remember it 20 years ago on the PlayStation, but the audio and visuals are on another level entirely. Everything sounds fantastic, and there is so much added visual attention to detail within each level that was not present in the original games. I found myself looking up videos of every old level and comparing it to the new version out of fascination and awe.
Yes, there is nostalgia at play here that factors into the enjoyment of the trilogy, but the gameplay is still solid. Nothing in the series is challenging — in the way fellow PlayStation platformer Crash Bandicoot had some tough-as-nails segments — outside of a few parts that feel clunky and dated, most notably, the flying levels. Boss fights will be laughably easy to even casual players, but the gameplay offers enough facets, and each level offers enough collection and exploration, that players a couple decades older than the last time they touched the series can still be sucked in. And, of course, a new generation of children will fall in love with the world of Spyro.
The Reignited versions are also outfitted with some slick, new, quality-of-life features that help smooth over the age of the trilogy. The Guidebook pause menu, which was first seen in the second installment, Ripto's Rage, called the Atlas in Year of the Dragon, has been beefed up and is now available in all three games. Instead of being forced to use the portals scattered across the world to traverse Spyro's dozens of levels, players can exit back to the home world or load up a different level at any time from the Guidebook. The Guidebook also shows collectible progress, which is a must when tracking tens of thousands of gems and hundreds of other pickups across the three games. There are also camera options that players may find more friendly than the classic view and a mini-map for those who want to make sure they explored every nook and cranny of the level.
While developer Toys for Bob excelled for the most part at bringing the Spyro games up to date, there is the noticeable absence of a subtitles feature. While not a total deal breaker for someone like me, who is used to going into the menus and turning on subtitles every time I start a new game because of the hustle and bustle of my life that often keeps me from hearing dialogue, for others, it is an accessibility issue. There is a surprising amount of talking in the series, making the lack of subtitles seem an odd choice.
Fans of the series will get a kick out of the achievement list, as it's quite a lot of fun. The list requires players to 100% Spyro the Dragon and Ripto's Rage but only beat Year of the Dragon. There are also individual achievements for every level in all three games, which ask players to complete a unique task like killing four enemies in one charge, gliding for more than five consecutive seconds or doing something else specific to the enemies or design of the level. Love it or hate it, the three games have one combined 3,000 gamerscore achievement list with each installment of the series being allotted 1,000 gamerscore.
SummarySpyro Reignited Trilogy ushers Spyro the Dragon, Ripto's Rage and Year of the Dragon into the modern age while leaving intact what made the classic PlayStation platformers beloved. The gameplay holds up enough to still please returning players who are decades older than the last time they played Spyro, and quality-of-life additions like navigating through the Guidebook, a mini-map and revamped camera options make sure new players feel at home too, although the lack of subtitles is noticeable and an accessibility issue. Most impressively, each of the dozens of levels has been thoughtfully recreated with impressive attention to visual and audio detail, bringing the magical feel of the series to life once more. Fans of the originals will find almost nothing to dislike, and I can see Spyro delighting a new generation of players with the quality of this collection.
- Painstaking, beautiful remastering of each level with so much added detail
- Audio sounds great
- Perfectly captures the magic of the series
- Gameplay still holds up for returning players and is good enough to attract new fans
- Nice modern additions, like including the Guidebook in all three games, a mini map and more camera options
- Some mechanics have not aged gracefully, most notably the flying segments
- Noticeable absence of subtitles
EthicsThe reviewer played Spyro Reignited Trilogy for more than 15 hours, earning 58 achievements for 1,565 gamerscore in the process. An Xbox One download code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
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