Review – Spyro Reignited Remake
Developer: Toys for Bob
Director: Dan Neil
Release Date: 13/11/18
Is Spyro, everyone’s favourite purple dragon, worth revisiting?
Think back to the heady days of the Playstation One and the times when you found yourself staring in open delight at what was the very pinnacle of technology for the time. All these memories of angular lines, of horrendously low polygon count and of grainy visuals and audio meant nothing at the time. This was as good as it got. It seemed impossible to ever imagine that it could get better.
Plenty of us have series from the era that we poured hours into and hold a special place in our hearts. Smashing boxes and spinning to win with Crash, swapping discs in FFVII and marvelling at how big a game could be or knocking on walls as Solid Snake – there will be an example for most of a *cough* certain age.
Maybe the image of Spyro and his egg and gem collecting antics might be the one that triggers happy memories for a few. Chasing down these blue thieves? Sparx being oddly infuriating? How about searching an area over and over again for the elusive last few collectibles : – there is no denying that there was plenty to enjoy.
With all three games in the series having being reworked and reimagined in a collection for modern consoles, is it worth your time and money to replay or will the rose-coloured glasses of nostalgia trick you into parting with your hard earned cash?
Read on to find out.
What are you actually getting for your money here? You not only get the updated version of the original Spyro, you also get the sequel “Ripto’s Rage” and “Year of the Dragon”, the third instalment. When Reignited loads, the three games are displayed for each save file alongside progress in percentage completion so it’s easy to hop from one to another and keep an eye on how you’re getting on.
Published by Activision and developed by Toys for Bob and Insomniac Games, what you can expect overall is a cleaner, more streamlined and modernised version of all three games suitable for the current era. While all the voice lines and animations have been re-done, the level layouts, the mechanics and the characters are all faithful to the spirit of the original and make for a pleasant trip down memory lane.
No game is perfect, but before we get to what makes this offering excellent, it’s only fair to point out a few of the problems that it has. While there is a lot to admire, some of the issues from the original series have carried over. Take the flying levels for example. Arguably one of the harder challenges in the game, some negative aspects of the original series have bled through. While the controls for Spyro on the ground around the levels feel tight and responsive, they are suddenly “heavy” in flight. In the part of the experience that most emphasises the 3D space that you are in, it is as though you have the least control.
I did encounter one major problem on my playthrough. Issues can be subjective (people reporting “odd” animation styles), but this one was fairly annoying. Progressing gradually through the game with my partner, we loaded it up one day to find our progress rolled back significantly with no method of recovery available. This issue affected many and no real solution ever found. When I say substantial, I mean going from 100% completion in one game and ~50% in the second to 75% in the first only.
Luckily, this only happened the once, but it was a little worrying to cover all that ground again, always concerned that the game would simply wipe the progress at some point without any warning.
That being said, there is a lot to admire here. Ironing out some of the more egregious glitches from the original series is a positive (although speedrunners have found new ones to replace them, as they do). These new graphics overall feel close enough to the original to seem familiar without being jarring and it is simply a faithful upgrade by people who clearly felt a lot of love for the series in general.
The game audio has had a revamp too, and a notable one. The tracks sound excellent, having been cleaned up and brought to a modern standard. As with the original, former Police drummer Stewart Copeland (yes, really) was brought back on board to oversee composition and his work remains as iconic as ever.
All voice lines have been re-recorded to a high standard and the gameplay is every bit as engaging as it ever was. Spyro has always scratched that completionist itch for a lot of players and this still holds up to this day. Seeing your progress tick up is every bit as enjoyable as ever and it keeps you coming back for more.
The refined mechanics make even the levels that felt difficult in childhood enjoyable. No more flashbacks to endless loops of “Trouble with the Trolley” and nearly breaking your only controller trying to get all the flying objectives in a single run. All that was enjoyable is here and better.
Whether you’re just looking to relive some memories or if you’ve never played the series before, it is a great way to get into it whether for the first time in years or the first time ever. The intervening years have not cost Spyro any of his appeal. In fact, a lot of it has improved. Three games for a single purchase? The answer as to whether it is worth the price of admission is a resounding yes.
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