Spyro Reignited Trilogy (PlayStation 4) Review

By Az Elias 21.11.2018 1

Review for Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4

The 3D platforming resurgence continues! Fresh off the back of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, Playtonic's collectathon revival in Yooka-Laylee, and with Nintendo keeping the torch lit with the sublime Super Mario Odyssey, one certain little purple dragon has undergone a makeover to bring back his fire-breathing PlayStation glory days. Yes, Spyro returns courtesy of Toys for Bob, delivering a triple whammy of gem-collecting adventures that all platformer fans should sit up and take notice of.

Insomniac Games' Spyro trilogy, alongside Naughty Dog with its Crash Bandicoot series, ensured PlayStation was highly competitive with the Nintendo 64 in the platforming stakes, despite the heavyweights like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie being essentially the pinnacle of the genre at the time. As PlayStation was the more popular console, though, Spyro the Dragon gained quite a following, and stood out amongst other platformers on the same system. The scaly hero's first three outings were pretty much his peak, however, and was similar to Crash in the regard that his best days were behind him once the PS2 rolled along. Sequels by other developers and a toys-to-life revival just didn't recapture the originals' essence.

Well, following the high praise and success of the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, it was only a matter of time before Spyro's name was being chanted for the next 3D platformer remake treatment. The two franchises seemed almost related to each other with how they dominated the genre on PS1, and you could scarcely mention one without bringing up the other. That was again the case once Vicarious Visions revived Crash's three hits for the modern age. Activision kept the reigns of Spyro in Toys for Bob's hands, the developers of the Skylanders titles, and so here we are with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

Screenshot for Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4

The package bundles all three of Spyro's PS1 games into one: Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Each game plays identically to the other, with Spyro himself just gaining a few different moves and abilities between them, and the third title in particular adding some sub-characters to control at certain stages.

Every game, too, has a similar approach to design. Spyro is plonked into hub areas that connect to worlds, which are all pretty small in the grand scheme of things, and each one is littered with hundreds of gems to collect. The first game has Spyro seeking out dragon statues, which aren't particularly well-hidden; the second title he must make his way to a certain area whilst sometimes solving some minor puzzles or defeating enemies to reward with talismans and orbs; whilst the third comes full circle in the life of a dragon, as he hunts down eggs that hatch baby dragons.

As such, these games are collectathons much like Banjo-Kazooie. The notes are gems, and the jiggies are dragons or orbs, generally speaking. Thankfully, every gem collected (which usually unlocks new areas or moves) is gone from the maps for good once picked up, so no going back in to recollect hundreds of the blighters if you gave up on finding the last one. The difference here is that, unlike Rare's platformers, the Spyro games aren't too overwhelming in the collecting stakes; it isn't difficult at all to 100% a level, and it doesn't even take long to do. Some stages can be blasted through in 15 minutes in the first game especially, though Trophies and in-game tasks to unlock artwork add a little extra incentive to spend slightly more time in them (though not much).

Screenshot for Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4

There is a fair amount of freedom when deciding which order to tackle worlds, and there is plenty of variety in terms of artistic style and enemies, but these games are probably best played in short bursts or spread out over some time, since the gameplay does have a tendency to be pretty samey and unexciting. For the most part, it controls great. Spyro bounces around in a charming manner, and his charge speed and gliding ability feel awesome in how smooth everything is and how quickly he can traverse the levels. It's a good thing stages are small, though, because the bulk of each game is indeed spent running around picking up gems and hunting the key items without much else to do.

The sequels add some more diverse segments, such as hunting down items to unlock doors, defeating certain enemies to gain access to temporary special moves, and putting underwater and platforming skills to the test, but in general, gameplay stays pretty consistent in terms of what it has to offer and in its difficulty. Depending on the player, this may be no bad thing, but spreading out the play sessions might help reduce the repetitive nature.

Screenshot for Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4

By the time of Spyro's third outing, worlds are a little bigger, and sub-characters are controlled in their own areas to mix things up a bit, featuring a high-jumping kangaroo and missile-firing bird. These can be hit and miss affairs, and more often than not slow the pace of the game down, which is quite noticeable after having been pelting it around on Spyro's four limbs for the bulk of the game (or games if you decide to play each title in order). Mini-games become more common at this point, and while most are simple enough, they can cause a few frustrating moments, and you can end up just pining for classic Spyro the Dragon again, devoid of gimmicks. Thankfully, though, just about every world in each game has things to do and uses its size to its advantage, so even if you are hunting down the last few gems, it never takes long to find them. This is no Yooka-Laylee, which features huge, empty levels with nothing going for them.

The Spyro games aren't always without their control issues, but they handle really well in general. There are a couple of control options, but no ability for custom controls. Having the dash ability on the L2 button would have been comfortable, but alas. A lot has also been made of the lack of subtitles for cut-scenes in the trilogy recently, and it is certainly a noticeable omission. There is absolutely no excuse for a multi-billion dollar company to not include subtitles in any of its games, and the reason they have put out there for not adding them here is not a good one. For shame.

Loading times, particularly when respawning, aren't the best, but props to the great remastered dynamic soundtrack, and the option to switch to the original music at any time. It also looks stunning visually; a vibrant and sharp bunch of games full of life, colour, and great animations. Spyro has been treated very well all over.

Screenshot for Spyro Reignited Trilogy on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A consistent triple whammy of 3D collectathon platforming remade with extreme care and faithfulness to the original material. Spyro Reignited Trilogy plays well, looks fantastic, and is rarely an overwhelming or difficult set of adventures, with small worlds that are simple to conquer and ideal for a younger audience. By the time of the third game, things are a little more gimmicky, and there is a repetitive nature about the constant running around and collecting, but these colourful platformers still manage to deliver real delight if you try not to blast through each game one after the other.

Developer

Toys for Bob

Publisher

Activision Blizzard

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Cannot wait to buy this! I am more nostalgic for Spyro than I was for Crash, and I think I might cry on the title screen when the game boots up...

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