Crash Bandicoot has seen something of a renaissance with high definition remakes of his classic trilogy of games and kart racer both topping sales charts and earning critical success across the board that the series hadn’t seen in ages. Publisher Activision, looking to capitalize on Crash’s success, has decided to bring back another gaming icon from the 90s: none other than the purple pyromaniac himself, Spyro the dragon.
Outside of Mario, my favorite platforming series back in the day was definitely Spyro. In an era fuel of clones and shovelware, Spyro was and is a truly original creation that actually brought something to the table. With his gliding and fire-breathing abilities, he’s a unique character. Even his design screams originality to this day.
Digital vs Physical Fiasco
Still, I hesitated to buy Spyro Reignited Trilogy. I already passed on the PS4 release last year because the physical disc only contained the file for the first Spyro remake – everything else was included DLC. That is, while you get all three games on the disc, you still have to download two of them online. Since I’m old-school and prefer buying physical releases unless there’s a digital sale going on (plus, I try to conserve memory space), I decided to wait for the inevitable Switch release. I know, it was foolish of me to assume the Switch could fit all three games on a single cartridge when they couldn’t all fit on a PlayStation disc, but stranger things have happened. Unfortunately, the Switch situation is no different. You won’t save much memory space by buying Spyro’s physical release here either, and it won’t have as much resell value. In the end, I still couldn’t resist buying the trilogy though. Spyro’s allure is just too strong.
And I’m glad I caved in. Hands down, this is one of the best video game remasters of all time. Look, despite the physical versus digital debate, there’s no denying that getting all three of the original Spyro games for $39.99 is a steal no matter which way you slice it. That means you get Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon all for the price of one. Less than the price of one, actually, when you consider Spyro Regnited Trilogy‘s retail price is less than the average new release. The fact that they’re all remasters that have totally overhauled the original polygons is icing on the cake. Albeit, developer Toys for Bob’s redesigns aren’t quite as jaw-dropping as Vicarious Visions were for Crash, this still looks, and more importantly, feels like the Spyro we all know and love.
What’s Old is New Again
It is just as satisfying as ever to ram into enemies with a perfectly-timed headbutt, or to set baddies ablaze with Spyro’s fire breath. I was worried the developer might try to “update” some of the controls, but luckily they only gave the graphics a facelift. Everything else remains intact, just as you remember it. For example, I was thrilled to see you can still hold down the jump button to keep Spyro hopping around in circles. It’s pointless, but it’s always been a guilty pleasure of mine.
The joy I’ve gotten from defeating Ripto in Spyro 2 and skateboarding in Year of the Dragon alone is worth the price of admission. The new graphics definitely enhance the experience and make it feel fresh, even for old fans like myself who’ve already played these games many times over in the past. I am a bit curious how younger players will receive Spyro though. Growing up in the landscape of Call of Duty, Minecraft, and Fortnite, I’m not sure how much they’ll enjoy the platforming genre which has fallen to the wayside over the years. I’d like to think these games are timeless; they certainly feel that way to me, but I honestly have no idea how younger generations feel about them.
To be honest though, I think my nostalgia probably made me more critical of this game, not less. Especially going in with some misgivings about its physical release controversy, I wasn’t wearing rose-tinted glasses when I fired up Spyro’s latest outing. I also had years of bad Spyro games on my mind, like the awful GBA adaptations or the so-so Skylanders series. So, I’m not giving Reignited Trilogy a free pass. I can say without question that, at least in my book, it earned its stripes.
The only thing preventing it from getting a perfect score from me is that the framerate for the Switch version is a bit choppy at times and the graphics, while impressive overall, are a bit blurry. That’s normal for Switch ports of PS4 titles, but it’s important to note. Both versions are pretty, but the PS4’s rendering is much more vibrant and crisp in comparison. Still, Nintendo Switch is my primary console, so that’s what I’m working with for this review. The game looks good in both handheld and docked mode, although there is some noticeable dithering in handheld mode – especially during cutscenes.
My final verdict: if you like Spyro, don’t wait for a sale. Get Spyro Reignited Trilogy today. If you’re still on the fence, don’t be. I was once like you, but rest assured, Spyro does not disappoint.
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