After a long slumber, everyone’s favourite purple dragon Spyro has returned to consoles with the Spyro Reignited Trilogy. As someone who can’t extensively remember playing the originals many moons ago, this review will largely be focused on the game as I found it this time round. Though, full disclosure, I still enjoyed it like the niggling voice at the back of my head keeps telling me I did as a child.
Little has changed about Spyro Reignited Trilogy that you won’t already be expecting if you’ve played the original games. This isn’t a reboot, but instead a fully rebuilt remake of the original trilogy, a la the Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy. The first game in the series has you take on the role of the young dragon Spyro, the only non-crystallised dragon after the evil Gnorc decides to go about unleashing a wave of energy across the land. Of course, this means it’s up to Spyro (AKA you) to travel across the several different hub worlds (and their subsequent levels) freeing dragons, collecting eggs and hoovering up gems scattered all over the place. In all honesty, there’s very little depth to the story and the game is essentially a 5-7-hour collect-a-thon. But that’s not to say it’s boring, because I did enjoy my time with the first entry for several reasons.
Firstly, the game is visually delightful, more akin to an animated movie in its style thanks to the modern technology available to developers nowadays. The detail on Spyro and the other dragons is impressive, and each of the 80 dragons (whilst several look similar) you set about freeing have their own unique design and pattern to their skin. Their varying body types make each feel like his (because as far as I could tell there’s no lady dragons but correct me if I’m wrong) own dragon. These aesthetic distinctions also extend to the various enemy types you’ll come across. Whilst dealing with enemies is a simple case of either burning them with a tap of the trigger or holding down the charge button (Spyro doesn’t gain any new skills over the game apart from temporary supercharges or uber flame breath). There is a variety in how you’ll go about dodging enemy attacks and choosing when to strike, however. A favourite enemy of mine was the demon dogs you face in the ‘Dark Passage’ level; these blighters can appear harmless at first, but when transformed by a lantern-wielding fiend, they become a whole different beast (literally). Personally, I found the game successfully treads the fine line of having enemies appear varied, whilst also keeping things simple. The same applies for the boss of each world, none are too difficult really, but their variation keeps things fresh.
Which leads me on to the other aspect of the game that is nice and varied, which ultimately creates a distraction to the collect-a-thon you’ve been duped in to taking part in- the worlds/levels. Each of the several worlds within the game contains numerous levels for you to work your way through. Essentially, each hub world and its subsequent levels are an example of how to do micro open-world games successfully, they aren’t bloated with things to do but also don’t feel like they are leaving you short-changed. To give Insomniac credit, this is another tricky aspect to games that even modern entries still struggle with, yet they’ve pulled it off. There’re desert levels, ice levels, jungle levels, castle levels, cave levels, basically a level for all terrains. Several levels incorporate some sneaky ways to get about finding hidden areas, but I won’t spoil these because it’s down to you know padawan. There’re also several ‘flight’ levels, in which you’ve four separate objectives to complete (blow something up, light a beacon, fly through rings/arches) that further shake up things a little. Essentially though, you’ll be doing the same thing in each level, scooping up gems and freeing dragons (occasionally catching pesky egg thieves too), both of which you’ll need in order to allow safe passage to the next world with the balloon man. A charming fellow I must say.
Ultimately, there’s little else to say about the first entry in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, scoop up gems, free dragons, finish off with defeating Gnorc and then kick back and enjoy victory (or in this case, a lovely platinum trophy which is extremely easy to achieve if you aim to fully complete the game anyway). The visuals are obviously a vast improvement from the original games, as is the fact you have free control of the camera (if this confuses you then google footage of the original games and you’ll understand what I mean). Little else has changed about Spyro the Dragon though, but as a side note, I was bizarrely unable to find a subtitles option, which baffled me. If you’re a fan of the originals then this game will be a pleasant experience, even for those who never played Spyro all those years ago, there’s still fun to be had if you’re a fan of the adventure/platforming/collectible genre.
Final consensus for Spyro the Dragon (2018)– DECENT/WORTH A LOOK
Whilst some may argue the game is too basic, or that it’s essentially a collect-a-thon, I still believe there’s fun to be had with Spyro the Dragon and, nostalgia aside, it’s an example of a remake done well.