‘Spyro Reignited Trilogy’ review – The little dragon reignites his franchise

In the same way that Crash Bandicoot was revived last year, Spyro the Dragon is back in the limelight with a fantastic remaster in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, proving yet again that everyone enjoys a well-presented nostalgia trip. If you have a history with Spyro then, like me, you were more excited for this than Christmas. Growing up with these games was one of my earliest gaming memories, and every time I revisit the games I get that same excited feeling inside. So where to start with its revival?

The beginning! Seems right.

Spyro has had a rather mixed history. The first three games (which are remastered here) are all PlayStation 1 classics, hence they are all fantastic (Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage aka Gateway to Glimmer being my personal favourite). Once the original developers Insomniac left however, the games were average at best, with some being a horrible glitch-ridden mess (Enter the Dragonfly comes to mind). Even an edgy remake couldn’t save him. So, with the release of The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (2008), the Spyro franchise went into hibernation, a rather sad flop. That is until Toys for Bob came along and promised us the remaster we had all be waiting for: the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, a faithful re-working of the original three PS1 games for the PS4 and Xbox One. Accordingly, with that brief history lesson over, let’s get discussing what makes this such a great game, and why I think you should go buy it right now.

          We have come a long way since 1998

Let’s start with one of the most important parts of any game nowadays: the visuals. The developers had a lot to live up to as the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy looked stunning, but boy did they live up. The game looks incredible, smooth and slick. The colours can be vibrant and bright or dark and brooding where appropriate. The flame breath attack also looks brilliant against the environment. It’s almost like you’re playing the video game version of a high budget cartoon. As this is a remaster however, there have been redesigns of various characters and enemies. Spyro himself looks great, along with most other characters and enemies. Surprisingly enough one of my favourite redesigns was Moneybags, even though he is literally the worst. Some other characters however look more menacing or cuter than the original models. I mean, if I was going to nit-pick, I’d say I’m not the biggest fan of the Professor’s new look. But that is a trivial complaint, as this game is a marvel to look at from start to finish.

It wasn’t just the visuals that have had a glow up. The audio is punchy and satisfying no matter what you’re doing in-game. The various sound effects stand out against everything else that’s going on in the level, making gem collecting all the more enjoyable. There is no finer feeling than charging into a row of metal boxes, with the gems flying out and getting collected by Sparks (his dragonfly sidekick). The soundtrack is phenomenal. The original three games were composed by Stewart Copeland, which leads to my favourite fact about this game: he came back for the remasters, and you can tell. Every title screen and level theme are lovingly recreated and, unlike the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy (which Josh Mancell, the original composer, did not return for), Spyro’s new soundtrack is on par with the original. In my humble opinion there are very few games that suit their soundtrack, more than the Reignited Trilogy does. Even if you don’t like it, you can freely switch between the new soundtrack and the original. I even listen to it whilst doing work as it makes for good background music.

                  The lighting here is stunning, making for a truly beautiful level

Next up is the controls. They are grand, every input is responsive and immensely satisfying. It’s never frustrating to control Spyro, except maybe for some long jumps landing short, leading to Spyro’s demise. The flying speedway levels can take some getting used to when a lot of verticality is involved. However, these are exceptions, not the standard. You’ll have very little problems controlling Spyro and the gang. Furthermore, the camera is also worth highlighting. It’s not the best, you can change between Active and Passive camera modes, but this doesn’t stop it from getting stuck in cramped areas. In wide open fields or even longer corridors however it works fine with no problems to report.

Finally, how does the gameplay hold up? I imagine it could be a bit nerve-wracking for developers in anticipating whether the modern gaming scene can appreciate what is essentially an early 3D collectathon platformer. Hopefully these worries have been put to rest. The gameplay holds up immensely. Attempting to 100% each level by collecting every gem, egg, orb, etc. is hugely satisfying and while the story may not be Oscar-worthy, it doesn’t hold the game back as it is entertaining enough (though in all fairness, it’s not like they could change the stories anyway). The cut-scenes are also all made with the in-game engine, and they ooze with charm. Not to mention the voice acting is also wonderful, further adding to the cartoon-like feeling of the game. Tom Kenny is the voice of Spyro, who you’ll probably recognise as the vocal talent behind SpongeBob SquarePants. I think they nailed this voice casting. As the character you hear the most, it’s important that he doesn’t sound annoying. They got the balance just right between young and foolish yet loveable, and this is down to Kenny.

To wrap up this review, if you played these games when you were younger and fancy a blast from the past, you will love this version. If you’re new to the world of collectathon platformers and somewhat intrigued by what you see, then give it a go. It’s so refreshing to see a game done so right that it lives up to my personal expectation. To make things better, it retails at a reduced price for triple A games. Do yourself a favour and pick this game up, you won’t regret it.