I mostly missed the Spyro trilogy when these games debuted on the original PlayStation. The Reignited Trilogy includes remakes of Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Revenge, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, and the collection launches on November 13 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (I played the PS4 version). This gives me a chance to give these 3D platformers a go and enjoy some fancy, new graphics.
Guess what? I like Spyro! Sure, it helps that these games now look fantastic thanks to the redone visuals, but I’m impressed by how well this trilogy still plays.
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What’ll you’ll like
A living cartoon
Similar to what the Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy did last year with its trio of PlayStation classics, Reignited Trilogy makes Spyro look modern without abandoning the tone and style of the originals. The games take their visual cues from classic fantasy tropes, and running around its worlds feels like you’re tromping through a living fairy tale.
I’m all for enjoying games in their original presentation, and I’m sure I could still appreciate the original, polygonal look of these games. But, man, these remakes are pretty. Sometimes new visuals can obscure the charm of the original vision, but Spyro’s updated worlds and character models add to the experience. This is especially true of the various dragon characters you free. In the original, they all mostly looked the same (minus some different colors). In Reignited Trilogy, every dragon has a distinct look. I had fun freeing them just to see more of their creative character designs.
Responsive 3D platforming
Spyro feels great. The dragon differentiates himself from Crash’s straight-forward run-and-jump skills and Mario’s acrobatic leaping abilities by focusing on gliding and charging. The charge sacrifices some movement control for a faster speed (and the ability to run down most enemies), but it doesn’t turn Spyro into some slippery, uncontrollable runaway dragon. Charging is fast, which helps make those treks across the game’s worlds more manageable.
Gliding makes it possible to reach far-off platforms. You’re always on the lookout for the highest platforms while trying to figure out which areas you can reach from there. This is often the key to finding the more hidden areas in each level, and it’s a fun challenge to explore and experiment with your gliding abilities.
So much to play
You have three Spyro games in one, and that is a lot. If you’re just racing to the end of each title, you can finish each one in a day or so. But you can get so much more out of these games by trying to reach 100 percent completion. Spyro is fun enough to control that you won’t mind going back to old levels and searching for every last gem.
If you’re up for getting 100 percent in all three games, you’ll be plenty busy.
What you won’t like
Every time you go to a new level, you have to wait through some long loading times. This is one of those games that forces me to keep my phone close, so I can browse Reddit or Facebook every time I have to wait through a new loading screen (yes I know I overstimulate myself with screens, please help).
It’s not as funny or charming as it thinks
Spyro looks beautiful and cute. It is a cartoon come to life … at least visually. The writing isn’t as funny or charming as the visuals. Spyro can come off as an arrogant jerk. You’ll often have to watch short cutscenes of character vignettes that try to mimic the slapstick stylings of Looney Tunes, but wonky timing and generic jokes make them a chore to sit through.
I missed out on these games when they first came out, but I’m glad Reignited Trilogy gave me a chance to appreciate them. All three of these titles are fun and responsive 3D platformers.
But Reignited Trilogy isn’t content with celebrating the past. The new, vibrant graphics make Spyro a playable fantasy cartoon. It’s one of the most attractive kid-friendly games you’ll find.
Spyro: Reignited Trilogy comes out on November 13 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The publisher sent us a copy of the PS4 version for this review.