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Spyro Reignited Trilogy Hands-On Impressions

Despite its various improvements, the Reignited Trilogy stays true to the original trilogy.

by Dylan Siegler

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I grew up with Spyro. The first PlayStation was my first ever video game console and Spyro was the first video game franchise I fell in love with. I spent so much time as a kid playing Spyro the DragonSpyro 2: Ripto’s Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, so when it was finally confirmed that those games were being remade for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, I was pretty stoked. In fact, the day that announcement was made, I went and replayed the first Spyro game because I was suddenly all hyped up on the little purple dragon again. So of course I made it one of my priorities at this year’s E3 to check out the upcoming remake.

I can happily report that the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is certainly Spyro. Everything controls just the way you remember and it feels just as good. Of course, there were several changes and improvements made, seeing as how this game was made after twenty years of technological advancements since the release of the first Spyro game. The most obvious improvement is the visuals. The graphics look fantastic and bring so many more details to the characters and environments in ways that was simply impossible on the PlayStation in 1998. One of the things I enjoyed the most was how much personality was put into Spyro and the other dragons. They’re all so expressive now, which I love. Spyro was about as expressive in the original games as he possibly could have been at the time, but these new animations and facial expressions are so clean, it’s hard to not fall in love with Spyro all over again.

The other big improvement, and most important one as far as I’m concerned, is the ability to control the camera. This is something we all take for granted in this day and age, but in the original Spyro games, the player didn’t have a ton of control over the camera. You had to press one of the trigger buttons to slowly rotate the camera around Spyro, or press two trigger buttons on opposite sides of the controller at once to center the camera behind Spyro again. In the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, you get total control over the camera with the right analog stick and simply pressing L2 centers the camera again. This is a change that obviously everyone was expecting, but it still made me happy to see it implemented.

Despite the various improvements, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy still very faithfully recreates the first three Spyro games. As I stated earlier, I re-played the first game, Spyro the Dragon, not long ago, and one of the levels available to play in this demo was the Toasty boss battle level, which originally comes from the first game. And the Reignited Trilogy version was pretty much exactly the same as the original (except with, you know, better graphics and everything). The enemies that I encountered behaved the same, but, as with Spyro himself, with more personality. The mechanic for defeating Toasty himself is still the same; they didn’t take any liberties to make it a more modern boss fight or anything. Toys for Bob stuck pretty strictly to the script originally set up by Insomniac Games two decades ago. This will obviously work for some people and not so much for others. I can see some fans wanting the remakes to deviate more from the originals and be even more modernized, or those playing Spyro for the first time still feeling like some things are outdated, like how Toasty was never a particularly impressive boss fight. However, I think that most fans will appreciate how well this remake emulates the original, but with better graphics and full control of the camera. And I think most people playing this trilogy of games for the first time will likely love it just as much as many loved the originals when they played them for the first time.

I also personally appreciated that, in a world where it seems most cross-platform games are demoed on Xbox One, this game was demoed on PlayStation 4, paying tribute to the PlayStation exclusivity of the original trilogy. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 21.

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