Following on from the recent success of many other remastered games from the 90s era it was only a matter of time before Spyro the Dragon would be given the same polish and shine. As soon as I heard that Spyro was one of the next in line for a refresh, I was excited to relive some of my best childhood gaming memories. But would Spyro still remain the same charismatic little dragon that he always was or would some of the magic be lost in the transition to modern day? The Spyro Reignited Trilogy contains Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2 Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, all of which have been updated to work with the consoles of today.
Players may have a very different approach to the games purely based on being either an existing fan of the franchise or experiencing the games for the very first time. Games of the 90s were all much simpler in format and although this is not an issue for players who are used to the classical style, it could be a different arrangement than some may be used to. Spyro has been completely rebuilt and remodeled from the ground up but all the fundamental detail has remained the same. The graphics have been beautifully overhauled and the modern version is an absolutely stunning visual experience.
The levels are vibrant, lush and extremely detailed in comparison to its older counterpart. The extent of the graphical update may not be completely clear until comparing the games side by side with the originals. It becomes quickly apparent just how much care and attention has been given to the update and enhancement. Another key marker in improvement is the large expansion in the draw distance. The original games had a very short draw distance due to the processing power and hardware limitations of the time. In the new version it is possible to see the world in its full glory, stunning and vast landscapes now fill the backdrop, were previously only simple shapes and platforms were visible in unreachable areas.
The character design has also been completely revitalized and this is easy to see right off the bat in the first of the three games. Some of the encounters with released dragons are very brief, yet they still have a whole unique look and personality. In the original version, each of these dragons had a very similar character base model and it is great to see this attention to detail in the new release. Spyro himself looks incredible, he is now much more expressive and his new bouncy run animation gives him even more character. Alongside this, the other characters that are introduced in the second and third games equally look worlds apart from their original design and are vastly improved.
I was also delighted to see that Spyro’s sidekick, Sparx the dragonfly, remains present in all 3 games, changing color as your health indicator and helpfully gathering gems when in close proximity. The original soundtrack has been beautifully remastered and really provides the games with a lot of depth. Still instantly recognizable the new version of the soundtrack really enhances the ambiance and atmosphere. There is also an option to switch back to the original games soundtrack if you so wish. Other than for nostalgia reasons I am not sure why you would want this, but it is a very nice touch nonetheless. It is great to hear the amazing Tom Kenny reprise his role as the voice of Spyro and this time around is even better than before. Some of the other original voice actors have also remained the same, and it’s clear that the developers tried to preserve as much of the legacy as possible.
As you make your way through each of the 3 games, it is clear to see the progression as games of their time were evolving. The first game has very simplistic mechanics, which at times, can become a little repetitive. Fans of the original game are unlikely to take issue with this, however, unfamiliar players may become a little bored of repeating the same process of releasing dragons and collecting gems. The second game really builds on the first with a much stronger and robust story and mini game mechanics that the first game was lacking. It is a welcome change and really adds dimension. The third and final game introduces even more mechanics and the ability to play some sections as characters other than Spyro. Although this is a step forward in the gameplay style and story, it can at times feel a little convoluted and unnecessary, though overall it is another great and enjoyable game.
While 95% of the games remain extremely true to the originals, some very minor details have been changed, for example, some weapons being replaced with less violent versions to suit a younger audience. This has no bearing on the overall game and only die-hard Spyro fans would even notice that anything was amiss. One of my minor frustrations with the game was the lack of ability to change the inverted controls during the flight and underwater sequences. I have never been a fan of the inverted control system and most players would appreciate the ability to choose the control style. It is however only in certain sections of the games and does not affect overall play too much.
The in-game camera has been vastly improved, now providing full 360 control. Camera functionality can at times feel a little strange, and in small segments the placement feels a little off. It is however a vast improvement from the original games and does not cause too many problems. Enemy hit-boxes can sometimes feel a little small, a higher degree of accuracy is required when aiming your attacks, but it doesn’t affect difficulty levels enough to cause a big issue. There is also a choice in control style between the thumb sticks or D-pad. Choosing to play with the D-pad almost feels a little too responsive while the thumb sticks feel a bit sluggish at times. Overall control responsiveness could be improved but I didn’t find it to be a game breaker.
As for the longevity of the games I think that the franchise really speaks for itself. The first game was released 20 years ago and still has a huge following to this day. Many older generation gamers have been delighted to go on the adventure with Spyro all over again. Equally it is a great introduction to a younger audience that are approaching the game with a completely fresh outlook. I absolutely loved all 3 of the remastered games and with only very minor gripes to report, the developers have done an incredible job of breathing new life into a much-loved classic. There is also real value for money to be had with 3 full games included in the purchase price. The magic as I had hoped was most certainly not lost in the revival process and I thoroughly enjoyed the stunning and nostalgic experience that the Spyro Reignited trilogy had to offer.
Following Crash’s epic comeback, Spyro’s Reignited Trilogy faithfully brings back the purple dragon’s first three games with an outstanding level of care and attention to detail. With some minor issues to the side, this trilogy is a treasure trove for any fan of classic platformers. There’s a vast amount of exciting content on offer here, content that will keep you entertained for hours on end, and then some.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.