Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4
When the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy released in 2017, many fans hoped we’d see the same treatment given to the adorable purple dragon, Spyro.
Now just over one year later the Spyro Reignited Trilogy has arrived, and it proves to be an even more exceptional effort than the N’Sane Trilogy was.
The Reignited Trilogy remakes the three original Spyro games from the ground up in Unreal Engine 4; Spyro the Dragon, Spyro: Ripto’s Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
These three titles are pretty unanimously considered the best of Spyro’s long history, and for good reason.
Let’s get the most obvious thing out of the way first, the visual upgrade with the Reignited Trilogy is simply fantastic. Toys for Bob has, somehow, found a way to stay true to the original vision of Spyro while still making each game feel fresh and exciting.
Many of the worlds and characters of each game have been given a slight redesign, and for the most part, they really work.
Environments are lush and packed with detail, like the way grass moves as Spyro walks through it, or the way dust particles glimmer in the sunlight.
Levels like the Magic Crafters world and Alpine Ridge are now littered with icicles and frosty details, while areas like Cliff Town have much more detail added to the buildings and ground.
There’s a real attention to detail in these games as well, as anytime Spyro uses his breath attack it scorches the ground immediately around him, or if he scorches a potted tree it’ll burn and drop its leaves.
There are countless little details like this that are so much fun to revel in.
Enemy designs have also been altered and upgraded, and clearly, some changes have been made to make the experience more palatable in the modern age, like machine gun-toting Gnorcs now carrying Splatoon-like ink guns.
For fans of the originals, though, this is an incredibly nostalgic trip down memory lane, remembering the fun little quirks in each game, or how big of jerks the enemies were.
It’s not something that struck me when I played the Spyro games originally, but with the Reignited Trilogy, I found myself amazed at the sheer diversity of enemies.
The fact that each and every world features new enemies is astounding, and the visual and gameplay variety in the Spyro games is top-notch, even by today’s standards.
Outside of the visual and aesthetic change the actual layout of each level is exactly the same as the original games. Gameplay wise the N’Sane Trilogy had a few problems that made it feel a bit like the Crash games were stuck in the past, but luckily the same can’t be said for Spyro.
It’s a testament to how well designed the original games were that the Reignited Trilogy feels like it could be a game released today for the first time.
Controlling Spyro is fluid and precise, and the platforming and combat are as easy to grasp as ever. Just like in other great platfomers, like Super Mario Odyssey, controlling Spyro is simply fun.
It’s a blast to jump and glide around the environments, and the level design of all three Spyro games still stand out as genuinely smart. Undoubtedly, Ripto’s Rage and Year of the Dragon are a big improvement on the first Spyro, but it still holds up all the same.
There aren’t as many big changes in the Reignited Trilogy as there were in the N’Sane Trilogy, gameplay-wise, but a few tweaks have still been made.
An active camera option keeps the camera stuck behind Spyro while he’s charging, and you have the option of switching between Reignited Controls and Retro Controls.
The major difference here is that Retro lets you map the camera control to the triggers, for fans that want that pure PS1 experience, while Reignited gives you the ability to use the triggers for centering the camera and attacking.
Another change gives Sparx the Gem Finder ability from the very start of each three games. Pressing down on the L3 button will make Sparx point to the nearest gem.
My favorite change, however, lets you open the guidebook and move to a different level whenever you want, no matter where you are. This makes it significantly easier to revisit old levels, and it’s especially useful in Ripto’s Rage and Year of the Dragon which have specific skills or characters you need to access some areas.
The final piece of the remake puzzle comes with sound design, and it’s yet another aspect that Toys For Bob has nailed. The soundtrack of all three games has been remixed and remastered, and Stewart Copeland’s soundtrack is just as catchy as ever. But the best part about the soundtrack are the options the game gives you.
A dynamic music option can be turned on and off, making the music more intense when you’re fighting enemies versus exploring.
You can also swap, at any time, between the Reignited soundtrack and the Retro original soundtrack. All of the voice lines in the games have also been re-recorded.
Spyro’s voice actor from Ripto’s Rage and Year of the Dragon, Tom Kenny, returns to re-record voice lines for all three games.
Some other characters have entirely new voice actors, however, and the change is a good one, as going back and listening to the voices of the original is certainly rough.
A particular favorite of mine is Robbie Daymond, the voice of Prompto, as Hunter, the goofy but courageous cheetah.
Sadly there is one criticism I can weigh against the Reignited Trilogy, and it’s a strange exclusion. None of the games have full subtitle support.
Certain lines have text attached to them, like in the original games, but it seems incredibly odd that there isn’t an option to have subtitles in a game released in 2018.
To be fair, the N’Sane Trilogy has the same issue, but it’s no less of a problem there. A lack of subtitles is a major accessibility issue for hearing-impaired players, not to mention players, like myself, who simply play all their games with subtitles enabled.
This is, of course, something that could be patched in later on, but in a remake that feels so lovingly crafted in every other regard, it feels lazy.
Outside of the subtitles issue, there are very few problems I can find with the Reignited Trilogy. It’s everything I could have wanted from a Spyro remake.
The fact that so little is, or needed to be, changed is a strong testament to the quality of the originals. The Reignited Trilogy only helps cement the fact that the three original Spyro games are some of the best platformer/collectathons ever made.