Back when Spyro: the Reignited Trilogy was first announced I was excited, I was so excited that I ended up writing a whole post dedicated to it. The idea of getting to dive back into a franchise that I loved so much as a child made me feel happy, but it also brought with it this deep feeling of nostalgia to a time where nothing really mattered in a game just so long as it was fun. Looking back now, games when I were younger used to be trash. They looked terrible, they were prone to crashes, they lagged like nobody’s business, they used to come with game breaking bugs and glitches (that never got fixed because patches weren’t a thing back then) and if you really think about it, they were all so damn short… and yet we loved them and found ourselves coming back to them again and again.
Today we’ve got this whole list of things that we expect a game to have: it needs to be available on every platform, it should have some kind of multiplayer support, you need to be able to mod it, it mustn’t drop below 60 frames, and it really should support 4K (ignoring the fact that most people don’t have the screens to actually display 4k – we just want to know it’s there) and it should give us AT LEAST 50+ hours of game time…
All of these things are fine for games to have, but the one thing that’s gone by the wayside and that no one seems to talk about anymore, is that above and beyond, a game should just be FUN – and that’s exactly what Spyro is.
Spyro was a series of platform games that originally came out for the PlayStation 1 in 1998, and back then it hit the bar for awesomeness – the first game earned more than $5 million, making it one of the most successful games of the time and the following two just kept doing better. In the years since then there have been 10 stand-alone Spyro games and multiple other games that featured everyone’s favourite dragon. These have been spread across various different platforms but somehow none of these could come close to the magic of first three.
The games have always revolved around a very basic premise: you control an adorable purple dragon named Spyro. You go around finding treasure, solving platforming puzzles, saving characters and bringing order to the Dragon Realms. It’s this simplicity that allowed the series to become as popular as it did. It was easy to pick up and play, entertaining enough to keep you glued to the game and challenging to master – it was the perfect combination.
This brings me to the reason for this post: Can a platformer from the 90s hold up in 2018 and is it worth playing?
Yes, it can and yes, it is.
It’s been 20 years since the first ever Spyro game came out and since then TVs have gotten flatter, controllers have gone wireless, disks have been replaced with digital downloads and I’ve gone up a weight bracket or two, but the one thing that has never changed is that we all still love to have fun, so it makes sense that taking the three most fun Spyro games ever and remastering them so that they fit in with this changed world would be a success, and it is.
Spyro remains as enjoyable, funny and silly today as it was 20 years ago, and that’s because it doesn’t try to be anything else other than what it is, a remaster of a beloved platform game. The Reignited Trilogy consists of the first three games, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, all together in one neat package for you to pick and choose from.
The main thing that makes the games in the Reignited Trilogy different from just playing the originals (other than the inherent game-play improvements that you get from going from a PlayStation 1 to either a PS4 or Xbox One) is also the thing that is most in your face: the graphics. All the graphics and cinematic cutscenes have been completely overhauled and recreated, frame for frame, making Spyro look and feel exactly how I always imagined it.
This is one of the most beautiful and true to the original remasters I’ve ever played. While there is no denying how much this Spyro has changed from its original, there is also no denying how much has stayed the same. Spyro in the Reignited Trilogy is voiced by the original voice actor and all the music and sounds are just re-recorded versions of the originals, all the level layouts have remained EXACTLY as they once were and they’ve kept all the same spawn points for the enemies and items.
This video shows you how close to the originals everything is, while still managing to look like a game worthy of the next gen consoles it’s played on.
After binge playing the game both on my own and with my mom, I can honestly say that this remaster has done Spyro of the past proud. With all the new improvements and updates to the game mechanics and controls, it doesn’t feel like you’re playing a game that belongs in the 90s, it feels like you’re playing something brand new and shiny.
I don’t often find myself wanting games to be redone, but lately I do find myself wanting games to go back to a time when things were simpler. Remember when you could just press a button and start playing a game with your baby cousins or your children or parents without first having to go through an hour “training” season just to teach them how to use the controls? For the first time in a long time that barrier didn’t exist between me and the non-gamers in my life when I put on Spyro, and that means there is this new chance for people who haven’t ever really played a proper game before to try it out and to fall in love with gaming like I did, 20 something years ago.
When it comes to this trilogy there’s a lot that I can write about and a lot I can say, but a game like this wasn’t made to be read about, it was made to be played and that’s exactly what you should do.
Being able to sit down on the floor at an event with Sam or just grabbing my mom and lying on the couch, being able to just pick up the controller and play, taking turns, laughing and joking with each other, is where the magic of this game really lies, not in the new and improved graphics and not in the new optimized gameplay experience, but in the moments that a game like this creates for you – that is what makes Spyro special.
Now I want to know from you, did you ever play any of the original Spyro games and what do you think of this one? Let me know in the comments below!