Everyone’s favourite purple dragon is back and this time without the toys, portals and extra additional purchases required. Instead, Spyro Reignited Trilogy brings the original classic Spyro games to PS4 and Xbox One for the first time. It has been 20 years since Spyro graced the gaming industry and the series has never been in a better place. Spyro Reignited Trilogy is one of the best platformers you can play and it successfully captures the magic from the original games while delivering a breathtaking visual experience for modern hardware. If it was not in the original games then you will not find it here as the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a one-to-one copy of the original PlayStation hits and it works so well in so many ways.
Rebuilt from the ground up, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is set across three games. You have the original Spyro the Dragon which is as basic as it was originally, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, and Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon. Each game is very much the same across its gameplay. You have a world hub where Spyro can go about collecting gems, burning sheep and meeting the characters across the Spyro universe. You then have the stages scattered across each hub that teleports you to another world where you need to complete a set objective, collect gems, find secrets and leave alive.
Every game in the trilogy aims for a set goal. Spyro the Dragon sees Spyro save the elder dragons which have been turned into crystal by Gnasty Gnorc. Ripto’s Rage is all about finding and collecting magic orbs that activate new world portals in an attempt to stop Ripto from taking over the kingdoms and Year of the Dragon sees him find and save dragon eggs to stop an evil sorcerer from reigning supreme.
Spyro is not known for its story and don’t expect anything magical here in that regard. The series is famed for its great level design, platforming and sheer addictive nature and all those mechanics are reinvented in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. From the moment I stepped foot in the Artisans World, the beauty of the game filled my heart with pure nostalgia. Although the game has undergone a complete remaster, so much of its classic nature is found in everything you see and do. So much so that I was stuck on 99% on a level in Spyro the Dragon and with my completionist nature I just had to save that one dragon. A simple Google search took me to a gameplay video from the original game and I was able to direct myself to find the missing dragon even by watching the dated version.
The games are a one-to-one copy with a lot more fluff across sound, assets, particle effects and visuals in general, but the core is the same and you can watch gameplay videos of the older games while playing Spyro Reignited Trilogy and you will be amazed to see the resemblance. I was taken back by it, to be honest, as the more you play it, the more it feels like a modern game built by modern minds.
The attention to detail is outstanding. Every world you visit across the one hundred or so levels has a unique look and feel to it from the enemies you face, the music that has you humming the tunes, and the landscaped you cannot help but stand and stare at. For example, the first game has you save eighty dragons and every single one of them is unique in their design. A painter with paint spots all over his body, an old elder dragon with a walking stick and even a giant Darksiders 2-inspired Wyvern-like dragon that turned out to the friendliest of them all. Although you exchange about two sentences with each of these dragons, they have so much charm and personality that I just wanted to sit and chat to them and find out where they are from and go to their world. I have a huge amount of respect for the developers for going to such great lengths.
Visuals and details aside, Spyro Reignited Trilogy’s gameplay is fantastic and brought back so many memories of myself as a child gliding through the air to miss a ledge by an inch. From spitting fire, ramming and gliding across the lands, the game feels great. I did have some hate for the underwater camera that was frustrating to control. I even had slight motion sickness from trying to control Spyro underwater, which is already a chore, and then to deal with the camera going into walls and just not cooperating.
Besides that one camera issue, I cannot speak badly about the overall gameplay of Spyro Reignited Trilogy. It is that fun and polished to play. After a few hours, I was a pro at controlling Spyro and it was just a joy entering every level and taking on the various challenges that awaited. Later games also include cool mechanics from the original such as a supercharge ram that sees you racing across ramps to jump across the level to reach a platform in the distance. Spyro can also equip a super fire attack that blasts through walls and armoured enemies. All these powerups are useful but never a long-term thing. Rather, they stay for a few seconds and are mainly found in levels where you need them.
Besides those abilities, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage is the only game where you see Spyro grow with new mechanics. Nothing major but you can pay Moneybags to learn how to swim, climb ladders and more. They are not game-changing abilities but they help. Many of you will remember Moneybags for simply being that guy that demands hundreds of thousands of gems from you. Yes, he is back and wants your money. It is pure nostalgia.
Spyro 3: Year of the Dragon then features Spyro’s friends he makes such as Shiela the Kangaroo, Sgt. James Byrd, Agent 9 and more. Once you unlock them, of course by paying Moneybags, they are playable in specific levels throughout the game. They all feature their own unique skill set and movement system which is a great break from controlling Spyro all the time. They are just as loveable as they were twenty years ago and are a great addition to the pacing of the trilogy. This is especially if you play them in order from start to finish.
It was a strange, yet rewarding experience playing through all three Spyro games. You have the first game which is pretty basic in terms of story and gameplay, and then the second which features new things to buy and see, and the third game which is the most detailed out of them all with new playable characters. The trilogy lets you witness all three games and how they evolved over the years. Even with the first one being pretty basic, it was still extremely enjoyable even after I went back to get that 100% completion rate.
As a major trophy hunter, the games also have a fun way to collect each trophy or achievement. Every level and world hub has a specific set of trophies you can earn and the list is in order too. As you play through each game, you can earn each trophy or achievement for every level or world hub you visit so by the time you finish the game you have the platinum trophy. I thought it was a great way to force players to complete specific side objectives, which are the trophy objectives, apart from any in-game objectives too.
Speaking of which, the games also have skill points to earn which unlock artwork from the gallery. These skill points are also earned by doing specific things each level which deviates from the main objectives and trophy objectives. All this gives you a great range of cool side missions to complete be them intentional or not.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a great package of content beyond everything. It has over one hundred levels and each game will keep you busy for 7-8 hours. You can then go back and collect the gems in each level as they all have a set number to find. It plays into the 90s completionist fan’s dream and I will make sure to spend a good amount of time cleaning up every stage. The game makes this easy to track thanks to the guidebook that shows how much you are missing in each level.
Everything in Spyro Reignited Trilogy just works. Toys for Bob took the original games and made them from scratch without changing anything but the visuals and you would never believe that the core of the experience is over twenty years old now. It’s truly a remarkable achievement and one you should experience without any hesitation. For fans, it will warm your heart to hear and see the game in action, you will grin from ear to ear and maybe even shed a tear. For newcomers, this is one of the best platforming adventures you could ever spend your money on.
This review is based on a review code sent to us by Activision
Available On: PS4, Xbox One | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 13 November 2018 | Price: R629