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Spyro Reignited, Remade, and Reimagined

Spyro has been an absolute favorite game of mine practically my entire life. So when I found out that they were doing a remake that would include all 3 of the original games, I got hit with two emotions at the same time: excitement and panic. There’s excitement because of how dearly I hold these games in my heart — they’re practically me and my sister’s entire childhood — but also panic, out of fear of Toys for Bob and Activision doing a poor job and destroying my little animated family that I grew up with. Then, of course, after the recent Zoo Tycoon “remake” fiasco, I got even more nervous. I’ve come to realize that I’m definitely a purist when it comes to my favorite video games. I like them kept exactly how they were originally made because that’s the form in which I fell in love with them. With knowing that, I made sure to approach the Spyro Reignited Trilogy with an open mind, willing to set aside my purist judgements and give the new Spyro a genuine chance.

Gameplay

There are a lot of things that were done extremely well with this remake. For one, Toys for Bob did a phenomenal job at keeping the gameplay almost exactly identical to the original games. The feel and flow of the game feels very much like I was just pulling out my PS1 and playing some Spyro on my teeny tiny personal TV I had stashed in my room in middle school.

There were definitely a few points that were made easier in this game than in the original, such as the skateboarding interactions. In the original it was much harder to stay on the skateboard, but in Reignited, a player can skate face-first into a wall and not fall off. Another big difference is the interaction with picking up gems. Reginited seems to have a much smaller pickup radius for Sparks to gather gems, and when you charge through chests and pots you often have to circle back around to go pick the gems back up rather than them automatically being picked up.

Another gameplay quality that I wanted to touch on is the loading time in between worlds. There seems to be quite an extensive wait time as each area loads; however, Toys for Bob does offer a little bit of compensation for this with the fact that you can interact with Spyro while in this screen.

Something else that I think is noteworthy is the fact that in the many times of playing through the original Spyro games I have not experienced a single in-game glitch to my knowledge. Unfortunately, in The Reignited Trilogy, I experienced two glitches on separate games within the first two hours of gameplay. One was in Idol Springs (found in Ripto’s Rage) – one of the characters got stuck while trying to walk up stairs and I could not continue the level because he had to unlock the next area. This did not happen a second time after I restarted the level. The other glitch that I ran into was found in the egg thief chase section of Molten Crater (found in Year of the Dragon), where the thief ran off of the track and then reappeared in front of Spyro and immediately got charged. I’m not sure if any other players are also experiencing similar issues, but 2 in two hours seems like quite a bit.

I also noticed that the camera following Spyro seems to move much faster in these new games. So fast in fact, that I actually began to get motion sick playing through the underwater levels. Another minor detail perhaps, but for someone sensitive to motion like me it’s worth noting.

Graphics

As far as the graphics for these games go, the level design is exquisite, while the character models are a bit more hit and miss. The particle effects and all of the little details put into the surroundings of each of the home worlds and levels are astounding. They really help all of it come to life so much more and fully shape the setting of the game as a whole.

However, I was bothered by the designs of many of the characters in game. In the first game, Spyro the Dragon, the dragons that Spyro has to release throughout each level are adorned with unnecessary props and outfits that I feel are distracting from the game as a whole. In Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, I was extremely disappointed with Elora and the Professor’s character models. I feel like both looked very awkward, but there were many smaller creature and character models that I did enjoy. I think they did a great job on the fauns in Fracture Hills, and I wish they could have done the same for Elora in making her look a bit more beautiful as I feel she was presented in the original game. Another example of where I’m torn on character models in Ripto’s Rage is in Skelos Badlands. I loved what they did with all of the creatures in the level, but I feel like they did a terrible job with the main characters that the player is supposed to be helping. As far as Spyro Year of the Dragon goes, it’s basically the same story. Again, I’m just torn between liking some designs and really disliking others. I wish that Toys for Bob would have stuck closer to the original models all around. I will say that I think they did a great job with Bianca and the Sorceress.

Sounds

I was ecstatic to see that the soundtrack and original dialogue was kept the same in these games. I think that is absolutely fantastic and gives me a great appreciation for this remake. The Spyro soundtrack is vital to setting the tone for each and every level, and I think keeping it as close to the original as possible was a great choice. Overall the voices for each character were also pretty spot on and suited them very well. I do wish that Toys for Bob would have kept closer to the original dying sounds for the different fodder and enemies in each level. My heart sank a little when I killed my first rams and shepherds in Stone Hill and they didn’t react with the noises that my brain was instantly expecting. Again, these are just some of the thoughts that go through my mind with wanting to keep the game as close to the original as possible.

Conclusion

I think my biggest disappointments overall from playing through so far would have to be the alligators in Spooky Swamp (They took out my favorite ones that go back and forth biting each other’s tails! They’re also not nearly as cute.), the lack of bouncing orb animations in Ripto’s Rage, the change in fodder and enemy dying sounds, and Elora’s character model as a whole.

All in all though, I would definitely call these games a success. There are many differences to be named between the original and the remake, but in the grand scheme of things they are minor and probably would not be noticed unless the player has hundreds of hours invested into the original games themselves. The remakes stick to the main storyline and overall gameplay, while also keeping the general atmosphere of the game true to form. I would never discourage anyone from purchasing The Spyro Reignited Trilogy, but I would caution diehard purist fans like myself that there will be things that will bother you here and there.

Spyro Reignited is going to be a great game for the next generation of kids wanting to grow up with this awesome purple dragon. It’s a game that I’ll encourage my daughter to play and hopefully she’ll love it as much as I have. I also plan to go through and make sure to complete each and every game in their Reignited forms, but I’ll be sure to keep my original Playstation around so I can keep playing them all in the form that I know best.