Reviews

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy review – Let’s Forget About Skylanders…

Long ago, there was a beautiful set of games called 'Spyro the Dragon'. Long before 'Skylanders' messed with the lore of the franchise, resulting in Spyro looking like a grumpy teenager that lived in a bell tower!

Spyro the Dragon

Part one of the new trilogy sets up the ‘Land of Dragons’, with Spyro minding his own business chasing sheep. One of the Elder Dragons is having an interview regarding the Dragons treasure and surrounding worlds, which goes pear shaped when an old enemy, ‘Gnasty Gnorc’ is brought up. Mr Gnorc quickly reveals himself and retaliates to the Dragons slanderous ways by turning every single one into crystal. Well, everyone but Spyro that is!

There are six world hubs to visit, Artisans (Spyro’s homeland), Peacekeepers, Magic Crafters, Beast Makers, Dream weavers and Gnasty’s World, all but the latter are basically full levels to explore, where players can find Dragons and Gems to aid in their quest.

In each hub there are five level which are structured as follows: 3 main levels, one flying level and the worlds boss. The general premise of each of the main worlds is to free the Crystallised Dragons and reclaim Spyros brothers and Sisters treasure. Sometimes, tasks involve chasing down very fast thieves that have ran off with some dragon eggs. They tend to be quite easy to take out but can sometimes take you around the level a few times before one is able to take them down with either the charge attack or flame attack.

You Must Learn Control Spyro!

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The control schemes for Spyro: Reignited Trilogy has two options to choose from:

– Default setting are set to mapping camera control to the right stick, along with the ability to use Spyros Flamethrower with the RT button as well as the B button, charging remains on the X button. This is useful for players charging around using Flamethrower attacks, that split second can make all the difference using the RT button rather than jumping to B.

– Nostalgia seekers can opt for the original PlayStation layout including L2 / LT and R2 / RT camera controls. Passive and Active mode is also available, which turns the camera auto positioning behind Spyro on or off. Passive has always been better as the player has the option to control where to put the camera in my opinion.

Back in the day, Spyro the Dragon was impressive feat on the hardware available. It utilised advanced polygon graphics and great quality sound. Spyro pushed the PlayStations graphics chip to the limit with it’s draw distance. Todays consoles can handle such features a damn site easier, which adds to the high quality of presentation that the Reignited Trilogy showcases.

This faithful remaster stands out because it has been re-made from the ground up, not just copied and pasted with better graphics. Even the physics engine has received a significant upgrade alongside new character models for EVERY Dragon rather than just reusing the same 5 models again and again.

 

Feels and Looks Like Spyro, But Better!

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The level design has always been a masterclass in platforming design. A shining example being levels looping back on themselves with hidden areas, or forcing players to reach the end of the level to then backtrack to new routes. This isn’t too frustrating or boring either, especially if you are aiming for the 100% completion (or 120% if you play the extra content)

Amazingly, ‘Sparx’ the lovable dragonfly has a personality now, no longer acting as a simple health meter, he has a personality only seen in later games originally. Players can now also click the left analogue stick to see where the nearest treasure is located, very useful for mopping up at the end of a level!

One of the best new features is the fast travel option, once players have visited a level or world hub they are able to fast travel on the guide book screen. This comes in very useful for cutting out several loading screens or the looooooong balloon ride whilst going back to 100% a level.

The bosses still behave the same and have never been to difficult to begin with, as such they shouldn’t provide to many problems for younger players or new players. The flying levels are still somewhat annoying but are fun to engage with, even if you have to play through them a few times to pin the unique routes down for the max score. A 100% score on flying levels requires completing all task in one run through, such as flying through all arches, flying through all rings or burning all enemies / objects.

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage (Gateway to Glimmer)

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Spyro 2 Picks up around one year after the events of the original game, Spyro and Sparx decide they need a vacation now that Gnasty Gnorc is not a threat Bored of the crappy weather, they head off to the Dragon Shores, or so they certainly thought so. They actually end up in a distant land named Avalar. 

Inhabitants of Avalar: the Professor, Hunter and Elora, manage to open a portal which brings forth our new antagonist ‘Ripto’, a powerful (but laughably short) adversary.  When noticing there are no Dragons in Avalar any longer, he announces himself as the new King of Avalar, giving away his fear in the process.

As Spyro is traveling through the portal to the Dragon Shores, The professor manages to pull Spyro through to Avalar in order to help fight Ripto. Whilst initially confused. Spyro quickly agrees to helping the trio after a brief encounter with Ripto himself.

A Whole New World!

Much like the first game, there are several worlds to visit. Three seasonal levels populate Spyro 2, which are: Summer Forest, Autumn Plains and Winter Tundra. Players start thier adventure in Glimmer (part of the summer forest area) which is where ‘Gateway to Glimmer’ came from for the original UK / Australian release.

Unlike its predecessor, each level now has challenges or tasks where you win an orb (replacing eggs). These eventually open up new areas as players progress through each hub world. Some of the challenges have difficulty ratings from 1 star to 5 star (1 being easiest), however some of the harder challenges are stupidly easy!

There are more levels to visit in each hub world than in the last due to there being less worlds, although the game is roughly the same size. It still follows a similar structure having a flying level and a boss level as before. The flying levels are of the same concept as Spyro 1 however the boss levels are much harder. Players will have to use randomly dropped items to use special attacks which the boss enemies can also use against you!

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Same Controls, New Powers

Gameplay in generally the same as Spyro 1, utilising the same control scheme whilst introducing permanent and temporary abilities. Permanent abilities include Hover (adds a little jump to the end of a glide), Swimming, Head Bash (like a ground pound move) and Climbing. These abilities are learnt from the new annoying NPC Moneybags, who charges large amounts of gems to open doors or activate switches, the greedy bastards!

Temporary abilities are activated by passing through an ability gate, these abilities can only be activated if you have collected the spirit required by killing enemies. For example, if the gate needs 15 spirits to become active, players will have to kill 15 enemies. Their are several ability gates throughout the game which allow players to fly, become invincible or change Spyros flame to ice, however they only last for a certain amount of time shown by a timer bar on the right of the screen. If players manage to 100% complete the game, they can unlock the permanent flame upgrade, which is very nice for replaying levels or cleaning up trophies in the trilogy.

Spyro: Year of the Dragon

 

Spyro 3, is the final game in the trilogy and for the original PlayStation. It’s set after the events of the second game, returning to Spyro 1’s setting and the protagonists homeland. Mysterious ninja’s known as ‘Rynocs’, led by a mysterious sorceress ‘Bianca’ steal all the baby dragon eggs! Spyro, Sparx and Hunter quickly persue their new antagonists, but it turns out Bianca is following the orders of an even more powerful sorceress, who needs the dragons for a spell.

Similar in structure to the second game, you have challenges on each of the levels but with the main goal of collecting Dragon eggs rather than orbs. All the same abilities return bar the Flame attack upgrade (which sucks).

This time around there are four hub worlds to visit, with a nice selection of levels to choose from. There is no boss levels in a traditional sense as this automatically takes place as players travel between hubs. Players can opt to replay them later from the balloon/transport vehicle if they so wish!

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Unlockables and Welcome Faces

As before, there are standard levels which have been designed to be much bigger, with most levels having areas for the new playable characters. These new characters can only be unlocked once players ‘buy’ them from the returning crook Moneybags. Once players free said character, they have to help them in their own level to unlock them for other levels. Players must also defeat the boss of the hub and return to play Sparx’s levels, which are completely new and fun, like top down twin stick fun! (well one stick, strafing and a fire button).

This time around, the flying levels are a bit different. Players have the standard time attack crux as with the previous games, however Sparx literally tells players how to complete them. Whilst this mechanic isclearly aimed at younger audiences, it takes away the fun of these levels in my opinion. A race mode has also been added which can be quite fun even though the title doesn’t let players beat the other racers easily.

Once players have made their way through the game and defeated all the bosses including the Sorceress (which is a lot easier than than Spyro 2), Players can take the ultimate revenge… They get to toast the gems out of Moneybags, earning back every gem spent throughout the Trilogy!

Each game in the Reignited Trilogy has very easy to complete, especially for my fellow trophy/ Achievement whores out there. Although, even if these features weren’t included, this Spyro fan would still play the hell out of this game!

Verdict:

Gameplay: 8

Graphics: 10

Presentation: 10

Sound: 10

Overall Score: 9.5 / 10

I grew up with Spyro the Dragon, to have the chance to replay one of my favorite game series again has been like reliving my childhood. Each game has been remade to perfection (hence me giving the game max scores), the bonus of having trophies/achievements adds a layer of fun to an already incredible series.

I would have played to 100% the game anyway, but having something more to go for has extended the post game even more. I rarely fall for a game or series so much, in fact the last game that did this was the ‘Crash Bandicoot Insane Trilogy. It was the exact same situation.

If you haven’t played the classic Spyro games, this is the best way to experience them. If you have played them, the Spyro Ignited Trilogy is still the best way to experience the first three titles of the franchise! It takes nothing from the original and improves on EVERYTHING!

Formats: Xbox One X (Reviewed) and PlayStation 4
Price: £30 (Microsoft Score)
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Toys for Bob
Release Date: Out now! (released 13th November 2018)

Pegi Rating: 3+

Review Copy Provided By Publisher

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