Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review- The Purple Dragon Returns in a Pretty Package

Posted November 28, 2018 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Toys for Bob

Publisher: Activision

Release date: November 13, 2018

Available on: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One

For many, Spyro and his series of games were a part of their childhood, like that other beloved mascot Crash Bandicoot. While neither was part of my childhood (I was in my thirties when the games came out) they certainly were a part of daughter’s growing up, and I enjoyed their games along with her. And like Crash, Spyro now has had his first three titles remastered and brought to the current generation of Sony’s and Microsoft’s consoles. Spyro Reignited Trilogy packages for the first three games of the series- Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon– remastered in loving detail by developer Toys for Bob.

It’s obvious that the folks at Toys for Bob had a love for these games, as they look better than they did before and play, for the most part, as well as they did on the PS1. The visuals all pop with bright colors and delightful cartoon characters, and brings back voice actor Tom Kenny to bring Spyro to life. Kenny, who originally voiced the original versions of Ripto’s Rage and Year of the Dragon, had lines re-recorded and included the first game for this package. The voice acting overall is great and completely fits the style of the games. The soundtracks have been revitalized as well with some new music, but if you’re feeling nostalgic you have the option to switch to the classic version.

Gameplay is pretty much how you remember it from the originals. Spyro needs to find items to open portals to combat the various villains who threaten the dragon world. The controls are fairly solid, though the inverted controls for flying and swimming can take some getting used to. It’s a shame an option was put in to make those controls normal, but with practice they can become manageable. Still, because of the inverted controls, these were my least favorite parts of the game. Thankfully, the flying levels are more or less optional towards completing a game (unless you’re a completionist and are shooting for that platinum), and the swimming levels aren’t all that numerous. Each level has special power-ups that can be activated by eliminating a certain number of enemies, and though they only last for a short amount of time without renewing, they’re fun to use and help in completing bonus objectives.

Each game is divided into multiple hub worlds that contain various levels each, and you need to defeat a boss before moving on to the next hub. It’s here where the games get a bit less fun, as the bosses require repetition to reduce their health bars, and at times the game feels skewed more towards the bosses’ favor than the player’s. This can lead to some frustration, especially if you’re fingers no longer hold the dexterity they once did. At least the cut scenes book-ending boss fights are amusing to watch, as are all of the cut scenes used across the three titles. Getting each world or extra levels unlocked can get repetitive as well, as you always need to collect a certain number of items to do so, and that can require backtracking.

Thankfully, each game has a handy Guidebook, which allows you to fast travel to a desired level (once it’s unlocked). The Guidebook can also help you to keep track on what you need to 100% a level, so you can use it to know how many more gems you need to chase down or whatever other important item you may have missed. Each game can take around eight hours or so to complete, depending on your skill level. The stories for each game are all nicely told though not terribly original, but the voice acting and bright visuals give them a charm that’s hard to resist.

The charm is in evidence throughout the collection. Nice little animations abound for a variety of situations. Spyro can fidget while he waits for you to move him, and at times even his companion dragonfly Sparx will fly towards the camera and wave at you. The different characters you meet along the way are delightful as well, with some serving as teachers to Spyro, and others being playable in their own levels in Year of the Dragon. The levels add a nice bit of variety in their gameplay, even while all retaining the same basic structures (main task with optional bonus tasks). The first game has an incredibly diverse group of dragons, with each one Spyro rescuing having a unique look. It’s this charm alone that makes this a worthwhile package for fans to pick up.

While there is much to love about this collection, there are some rough spots. The repetitive boos fights can be more a chore than fun to play, especially when they are in multiple parts, and failing one part leads to repeating the entire level all over again. The camera angles can occasionally not be in your favor, and can obscure where Spyro is in relation to an enemy. The are long loading times when traveling between levels and the hub worlds, and when reigniting if you use up your life. Sparx’s AI isn’t always as sharp as you need him to be, sometimes failing to go get that butterfly to help increase your health, thus leading to a defeat. But there’s nothing game breaking here, and each game runs smoothly for the most part. I only experienced one instance of clipping through the environment during my game time on the PS4, and the frame rate rarely dipped. Playing on the PS4 had a nice little bonus, in that the PS4 controller’s light would reflect Sparx’s health (the light would be green when Sparx was green, blue when he was blue, and so forth).

In all, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is another fine example of a remastered collection done right. Toys for Bob lets their love for these games shine through in all aspects, and having these first three games collected here are both a treat for old fans and newcomers alike. They have enough challenge to appeal to more skilled gamers, and are charming enough to introduce young players to the platforming genre. Spyro still proves to be both an endearing and enduring videogame character, and follows up fellow mascot Crash’s success with 2017’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, and gives us hope they we can see brand new title featuring this old favorite. Until that happens, we have this collection to indulge our nostalgia with, and be charmed all over again.

About the Author

Thomas James Juretus