Before Spyro Reignited Trilogy, Spyro the Dragon’s presence in the modern gaming world was limited to The Legend of Spyro and the toys-to-life series, Skylanders. Now, longterm fans get their wish as Activision brings our purple hero back to modern consoles. Under Activision, developers Toys for Bob finally revamp the original Spyro the Dragon Trilogy with Spyro Reignited Trilogy. This includes Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, and finally, Spyro: Year of the Dragon.
The original Spyro games are PlayStation exclusives, but Reignited Trilogy is out for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The trilogy is also releasing for PC and the Nintendo Switch on September 3rd, 2019. You might ask, do the new games hold up to the legendary PS1 classics? Well, let’s charge right into the details and find out.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is currently sold on the PlayStation Store for $29.99
Fans of the original trilogy find relief knowing that the stories behind all three games stay true to the classics. Contrarily, those who are new to the trilogy may wonder what this little purple dragon’s purpose is. Without spoiling the entire plot of each game, it is safe to say that the goals in all three games are similar. They all have home worlds which each include their own portals to different levels. Spyro hops and glides around each world collecting gems and toasting enemies to save the world’s inhabitants. In the second and third games, however, each level has its own characters with their own individual struggles.
Spyro the Dragon
In Spyro the Dragon, a large frog whose name is Gnasty Gnorc encases dragons in crystal. A little purple dragon by the name of Spyro is the only one who somehow escapes. With the help of his dragonfly companion, Sparx, Spyro sets off to save his fellow dragons. He collects treasure chests, chases egg thieves, and frees dragons. Spyro 1 has few cutscenes in comparison to its sequels, so its story is simpler. The only cinematic scenes occur at in the start and end of the game and after Spyro rescues dragons.
Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage
Ripto’s Rage includes multiple cutscenes, new characters, and a more abundant story. Spyro and Sparx attempt vacationing in Dragon Shores, but their plan abruptly ends when they end up in Avalar instead. Here, they meet Elora the Faun, Hunter the Cheetah, and The Professor, an intelligent, elderly mole. These characters make it Spyro’s responsibility to save their world from a tiny terror, Ripto. The Professor uses his scientific brain to summon the purple dragon because they believe dragons are their only hope in stopping Ripto.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Year of the Dragon begins with Spyro and Hunter in the Dragon Realms where they must travel to a place called The Forgotten Realms. This time, Spyro and his friends save stolen dragon eggs from an evil villain, The Sorceress. The reason for the disappearing eggs unravels as the game goes on. Spyro meets new creatures who all share the same goal of defeating the Sorceress.
I think the decision to include more characters and dialogue in the two later games is a good move. Expanding Spyro’s story through added cutscenes and dialogue catches your attention and motivates you to fully complete each level.
Spyro the Dragon
In Spyro the Dragon, the task is simple. You venture through levels across all six home worlds to reach and defeat Gnasty Gnorc. Each level is accessible through portals located throughout each home world. By gliding, charging, and flaming, Spyro collects treasure and defeats enemies until he arrives at the final boss battle. Small cutscenes give you hints and tips about enemies or secret locations in the game. You can collect extra lives by finding life chests which are spread throughout the levels and home worlds.
Ripto’s Rage, the second game, is slightly different. Spyro finds himself outside of the Dragon Realms in the world of Avalar. This plot twists because dragons are absent. Instead of rescuing mythical creatures, you collect shiny green objects known as “orbs,” and one talisman from each level. Once you obtain these items, you fight a super angry short dude named Ripto. The three home worlds in this game are Summer Forest, Autumn Plains, and Winter Tundra, and each one consists of orbs and treasure to collect. Developers introduce mini-games and actual bosses to complete before the player can proceed to the next world.
Year of the Dragon
The third game is more complex. You explore The Forgotten Realms which consist of four home worlds. These worlds are known as Sunrise Spring, Midday Garden, Evening Lake, and Midnight Mountain. Similar to Ripto’s Rage, after leaving each home world, you fight and defeat a boss before reaching the next destination. Spyro is not the only playable character in Year of the Dragon, as this game introduces a Shelia the Kangaroo, Bentley the Yeti, Sargent Bird, and Agent 9, a crazed monkey with a laser gun. It is necessary to play as these characters to proceed to the next home world so Spyro can defeat the Sorceress.
In addition to the other creatures, you can now play as Sparx the Dragonfly, Spyro’s companion. Beating Sparx levels is necessary for unlocking special, gameplay-enhancing abilities. Spyro himself gets new abilities as well, like skateboarding and other vehicle-oriented mini-games.
A large concern is whether or not the controls are up to par with those of the original. Whether a player is new to the series, or a longtime fan, it is safe to say that the controls in this trilogy are almost perfect. Swimming and flying mechanics are different, but not game-breaking. For example, now you must run and jump before gliding, whereas this is not necessary for the original game. Additionally, the game allows you to choose between “classic” and “reignited” controls for those who want a more nostalgic feel.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics in Reignited Trilogy are absolutely stunning. Spyro’s design is exactly what I expect from an almost two-decade-long hiatus. Toys for Bob keep original elements that create beautiful scenery while adding new details to the skyboxes and architecture. The colors are vast, deep, and vibrant, and the characters exhibit much detail. Certain redesigns of main characters, like Elora the Faun, have gotten negative feedback. Another common complaint is that the gem sizes are too small and get lost easily in the grass. I agreed with these complaints at first. However, I now believe some of these changes are fitting. There are simply certain aspects of older game designs that do not transition well. I feel that Toys for Bob does a wonderful job at staying true to the original trilogy.
The music in each game is incredibly fitting. The game’s original composer Stewart Copeland returns to score the game’s opening screen. Developers wisely keep the same tracks for each level. They give you an option to use either the original soundtrack or electronic remixes of the original songs. I alternate between “reignited” and “original” music options. I find them both equally enjoyable.
Sound Effects and Voice Acting
One of the most frequent sound effects in any Spyro game occurs when collecting gems. Unfortunately, the gem-collecting sound is not as distinct as it is in the original series. This is not necessarily a flaw. It is still a pleasant noise, but it comes off slightly too faint. Other than that, Sparx’s buzz sounds great, the flame sound effect is on point, and Spyro’s wing-flapping noise is crisp and nostalgic. The voice acting in the game is great. Though not all original cast members are present, it is difficult to notice most voicing changes.
The pause menu gives you access to music, voice, and sound effect volumes. This allows plenty of wiggle room for those who prefer more music and less background noise or vice versa. This freedom allows you to experience the game however you desire.