I have fond memories of playing Spyro The Dragon on the original Sony Playstation at my neighbor’s house as a kid. But I didn’t own a Sony console until the end of the Playstation 2’s life-cycle, so I missed out on completing a lot of classic Playstation games, including Spyro. Thanks to Spyro Reignited Trilogy, I had the chance return to the childhood I left incomplete.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is easily one of the most impressive visual experiences of the year. It’s not as detailed as God Of War or Red Dead Redemption 2, but it’s bright, vibrant, and looks like a Dreamworks film. What used to be flat walls or simple geometric shapes are now beautifully detailed structures with layered shadows and genuine depth.
But to be frank, you won’t appreciate the improvements in the remastered collection until progressing beyond Spyro the Dragon. The original Spyro The Dragon contained a lot of open spaces and generic environments. Even in the remastered version, it feels quite bland in comparison to the series trilogy.
But then we begin the second game, Spyro Ripto’s Rage!, and there’s so much more to enjoy. Game worlds are more dense and filled with a wider variety of enemies to admire. The two sequels are where Spyro Reignited Trilogy‘s visual improvements really begin to shine.
The remastered trilogy prioritized improving upon what existed in the originals without introducing a ton of new additions, so there are plenty of reminders of the series’ evolution. Improvements are immediately recognizable but the limitations of the original game meant that there weren’t as many assets to improve upon at the start of the trilogy as there were in the latter portions of it. I’m not sure that I fully appreciated the beauty of the remasters until I saw the water’s crystal clear blues and the refraction of set pieces from underwater.
Nothing spoils adventure and platforming games like poor controls, so I was relieved to discover that Spyro handles as smooth as butter. Button layouts are familiar and intuitive making Spyro Reignited Trilogy really easy to jump into. I’m equally happy to see how smoothly the joysticks respond. Even charging at full ramming speeds, it’s easy to stay on target.
However, where players might begin to encounter problems is the camera. The camera can be set to operate in either active or passive mode. Passive mode locks the camera in one direction and players can angle it themselves as needed, but in active mode the camera will automatically adjust to keep Spyro facing forward. The issue is that the camera doesn’t immediately readjust and sticks to its original placement for a time. It’s certainly not significant enough to spoil the experience, but if can certainly be a nuisance.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an excellent reminder of how the series evolved with each release. The first game is a fairly elementary collect-all-the-things game with little challenge for anyone who is familiar with the genre. However, Spyro Ripto’s Rage! introduces a wealth of new abilities, tougher bosses, and new skill point challenges. Mini-games including ice hockey are scattered throughout the worlds and bring momentary asides from the main objectives.
What was a really welcome change was the addition of end goals at the end of each stage. Previously, Spyro would need to need to collect a certain number of gems, release dragons, or collect dragon eggs to “pay a toll” before accessing the next area. Instead of that system, Spyro Ripto’s Rage! sends players into a boss arena to obtain a one-of-a kind key item that will only then allow them to progress, introducing a welcomed variation on the original formula.
Spyro Year of the Dragon goes one step farther and allows you to play through certain worlds as other characters. Players can control Sheila and Hunter and gain access to a fresh sets of abilities to reach areas and dragon eggs that would be too much of a challenge for Spyro. After two complete games, Insomniac Games timed the introduction to such great play style diversity perfectly. Year of the Dragon also introduces more mini-games like the famous skateboarding games.
As much as the mini-games gave players the chance to experience a little bit more than gem collecting and head-butting baddies, they aren’t the completionist’s friend. After completing a mini-game for the first time, it can be replayed at a higher difficulty to earn another collectible. For players who are finishing the game at less than 100% complete, this isn’t the end of the world. But for obsessive digital hoarders like myself, the repetition is grating as I’m more interested in moving on to see a new part of the world.
After sinking eighteen hours into the game, I’m happy to report that the only bug I’ve encountered was Sparx the dragonfly as he casually hovered around me and collected the gems that I was too lazy to pick up for myself. But if Spyro Reignited Trilogy has received any significant criticism, it’s how the game was packaged.
Despite the great deal of getting all three original Spyro games packaged together for only $40, the games aren’t all packaged together. The only game in the trilogy with data present on the disc is the first game. Spyro Ripto’s Rage! and Year of the Dragon are downloaded installations. The Blu-ray disc has 20.5GB of data on the disc that needs to be installed and then an additional 47.5GB needs to be downloaded. Some consumers have taken great issue with this, especially in regions where internet connectivity isn’t consistently available and/or reliable. The largest complaints are that this information wasn’t made clear enough prior to release and gamers found themselves at the mercy of their internet connection.
$40 for three different games is a great deal just about anywhere, but this is arguably the best remaster on the market. Despite the camera issues, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is an excellent collection for nostalgic fans and newcomers alike.
Outstanding resolution and vibrant colors bring this classic back to life.
Camera speed issues feel too easy a fix not to have been corrected before release, but it’s the one real blemish on an otherwise great remaster.
New voice overs vastly improve cutscenes, even if they do sound corny.
Baddie and mini-game variety healthily break up the hoarder fest just in time to always keep the trilogy feeling fresh.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is available now on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.