Reviewed on Xbox One
In any form of entertainment we seem to get some form of remastering. Slightly edited versions of popular books; remastered or remade movies; and remastered video games. The latter is the one that can lead to the most impressive of remasters. While you can digitally reconstruct a film image to look sharp and crisp, you can’t completely redo the entire film without changing its core – look at the shot-for-shot remake of Psycho for proof of that. Video games exist in a realm all of their own, however, and Toys for Bob have proven that with a new lick of paint and slight changes, games can feel nearly identical to what they did before – and that’s a good thing.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is one of those special remasters; just like Vicarious Vision’s work on the Crash Bandicoot ‘N Sane Trilogy, Spyro proves that some of those fantastic PSOne-era games are still great underneath their age-related limitations. It’s evident from the very start; the personality and charm that emitted from every nook and cranny of the original PlayStation trilogy has been replicated and boosted tenfold.
Reignited Trilogy is split into, well, three different games all completely recreated from the ground up in Unreal Engine 4. They differ in quality and creative scope quite wildly—the original game is smaller and simpler than the other two with the third game feeling the most substantial. If anything, you can view the original game as more of a tutorial for the core combat system.
Levels in Reignited stay identical to how they were before, despite the game’s controls being tweaked slightly to a more comfortable and modern standard. Both for better and for worse, the stellar and open design of Spyro’s levels feel fresh and original today, although a bit small in the size of their play area post-Yooka Laylee.
There’s a lot to enjoy here. Spyro’s arsenal may be small in the original but over time it expands allowing access to more areas and cooler secrets. To begin with, you’ll have access to a jump and a long glide alongside two attacks – a fire attack for standard enemies and a charge attacks for those coated in metal. It’s simple and intuitive, and Toys for Bob’s expressive recreations of every single character model clearly signposts the weaknesses of every single enemy. Unlike many remakes or remasters, there isn’t a single aspect of the original game that is weakened in this recreation.
One big overhaul this time around is in the game’s cutscene presentation. While the obvious boost in animation and visual fidelity is immediately apparent there has been more work done than many would think. There’s more life in many of them. From Spyro running around in the opening cutscene to different angles in key moments, and even the vastly higher quality of voice acting – everything here feels like a true love letter to what Spyro is. Remember, things can change for the good and there isn’t a single aspect here that is worse than the original.
As for content, the Reignited Trilogy is chocked full of things to do. Each game should take you numerous hours to complete. The original Spyro game clocks in at just over five hours although competitionists may take about double that, and both subsequent games are quite a bit longer. They’re easy to speed through, but you should stay around – all three games have numerous distractions to lengthen the playtime and they all return here.
The problem with reviewing a remake of a game series sold old and ingrained into my memory is that I feel that I’ve sung the praises of Spyro so many times before. The Spyro games are bloody great and Spyro Reignited Trilogy is the best place to play three fantastic 3D platformers. Many modern conveniences are here and welcome: fast-switching levels with the pause menu’s guidebook and a universal UI for all three games are a highlight.
For those who like 3D platformers and haven’t played Spyro, this is an essential pick-up and for those who have it probably is too. It’s a great present for a child’s birthday or Christmas, too. In fact, there are not many people I wouldn’t recommend Spyro Reignited Trilogy to.
Toys for Bob have done such a good job at putting Spyro back into the modern generation by not really changing much at all. The all-new CGI-quality visuals are a treat and the retooling of Spyro’s movement to accurately control with analog sticks is welcome, but Spyro remains virtually identical at its core. This is one of the best remasters of all time, and Spyro finally deserves a place back on your shelf.