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In the late 1990’s, the original PlayStation was a hotbed of great platforming and action games with likable mascots. Spyro, the small but fiery dragon, is one of the more memorable characters to come out of that era. Spyro Reignited Trilogy brings us back to the original three Spyro adventures, with a beautiful upgrade in the visuals department. Developer Toys for Bob has completely remade the three titles from the ground up, bringing your nostalgic memories into the modern age. Whether you have fond memories of this trilogy or are fresh to the series, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an enjoyable and gorgeous collection.
Charge and Spray
Besides giving the visuals a gorgeous makeover and tweaking a few things, developer Toys for Bob has not changed much about the Spyro games. Although the graphics are beautiful and modern, there have been no efforts to modify the gameplay from the original titles. Plainly put, the Spyro games feel like late 90’s games. Each game has its own quirks and differences, but they’re mostly the same. You’ll hop, glide, and charge your way around various levels, attempting to collect all the gems and reach the end. Along the way, you’ll complete smaller challenges, some optional, some not. Like Super Mario 64 or Banjo Kazooie, levels are connected via hub worlds, which you can also explore.
Unfortunately, all three games also share the same downfalls. As of this writing, the trilogy contains no options for subtitles. This leaves hard-of-hearing gamers (and those who simply enjoy subtitles) out in the cold. There are text boxes that display character dialogue, but all of the freshly animated cutscenes lack subtitles. Another missing option is the choice to turn off motion blur. Every game has a hefty amount of motion blur, popping up every time you charge or reach a significant running or flying speed. For those who don’t mind motion blur, the lack of an off switch won’t matter. Unfortunately, that means that the rest of us will have to deal with blurry visuals when we would rather they stay crisp. All three games also have spots where the framerate drops to noticeable levels. Whether on an original Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 Pro, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy can get choppy at times.
The first game, Spyro the Dragon, is the most simplistic of the three, and provides a fun but occasionally frustrating time. By modern standards, gameplay is pretty basic, but fun visual themes and good level design keep things refreshing. Besides collecting gems and charging through enemies, you’ll have to find and free the elder dragons in each stage. These dragons are possibly the best part of the entire game, as each one is full of life and personality. There is something cathartic about the basic nature of Spyro the Dragon. Especially coming off of a more complex game like Red Dead Redemption II, Spyro the Dragon‘s simple gameplay is honestly refreshing.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is arguably the best game in the trilogy. It expands upon the simple gameplay of the original in some fun ways, expanding Spyro’s movement. The stage objectives also get upgraded, with some fun minigames and bonus levels scattered throughout the game. Instead of finding and collecting dragon statues, Spyro must collect green orbs. These are often awarded to you for helping out various characters, and the gameplay involved is more varied and satisfying. The story also gets a boost, with the introduction of popular characters like the villain, Ripto.
Spyro: The Year of the Dragon is the final of the three games, and it attempts to shake up gameplay in some wacky ways. Moreso than any other Spyro title, Year of the Dragon is about variety. In this game, Spyro must collect baby dragon eggs, and each one is tied to a unique objective. There are 150 eggs total, and to keep things fresh, there is a big variety in gameplay. There are four new characters to control, including the high-hopping kangaroo Shiela, the bomb-dropping Sgt Bryd, and more. There are shoot ’em up stages with Sparx the dragonfly, skateboarding minigames, and some slightly annoying races. While the mixture of gameplay is nice, the overall experience lacks the classic Spyro gameplay. All told, over half of Spyro: Year of the Dragon is wildly different from the established formula.
Should You Play Spyro Reignited Trilogy?
As a package deal, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is well worth it. Technical issues and dated gameplay aside, the Spyro trilogy still stands up as an excellent 90’s callback. There are occasional rough spots and you’ll definitely get frustrated, but these problems are forgivable. If you have a significant nostalgia for the Spyro franchise, you’ll absolutely adore this remake. Newcomers to the franchise will also have a great time, but might not be as forgiving when dated concepts rear their heads. It’s not a flawless product, but it’s one of the best remakes in recent memory. If you’re aiming to complete all three games at 100%, the whole experience will last anywhere from 20 to 30 hours. At a mid-tier price point, that’s a fine deal.
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