After the smash success of last year’s Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, it was only a matter of time before Activision went back to Spyro The Dragon, that other former Sony exclusive PlayStation 1 platformer franchise they owned. Plus, with Skylanders and the entire toys-to-life genre (besides amiibo) pretty much dead, revisiting Spyro’s roots seems like the smartest thing to do with the character. We recently got to play some of the upcoming Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and does right by that purple little monster.
The most striking thing about the Crash Bandicoot remakes was just the level of modern visual polish they added to what were once blocky primitive polygonal early 3D games. And the Spyro Reignited Trilogy matches if not exceeds that level of arguably unearned beauty. We suspect they’re even sharing some graphical technology.
Granted the developers are different. With Crash Bandicoot Vicarious Visions was remaking Naughty Dog games whereas here Toys for Bob is remaking Insomniac games. But just the sheen, cartoon bounciness, and even little details like sunlight dispersing through dense grass mesmerized us in ways similar to Crash. Cutscenes have also been redone, but I couldn’t hear if Spyro was once again voiced by Elijah Wood (nah, it’s Tom Kenny).
Fortunately, along with similar production quality enhancements, these first three Spyro games (Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage!, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon) have the added benefit of just being straight up better than the original Crash Bandicoot games. They are actual open 3D platformers, not weird hallway chases full of cheap death and bad jumps. Even in this brief demo I was burning the fur off of guard dogs and getting a running start to glide over vast chasms. It was a lot of fun, even if the simple level design of the era did remind of the simple level design of today’s kids games like Skylanders.
As with Crash Bandicoot, there’s also just a lot of nostalgia for the original Spyro games. This demo was actually a little party with a true-blue Spyro fan bartender, Johnny Livanos, making dragon-themed drinks. So it’s cool those people are now getting a game living up to their memories of the franchise. It’s also just nice to see Spyro unshackled from the toys that had taken over his own #brand. The only Spyro toys here were this little knock-off Lego sets that were maybe the most tedious building experience I’ve ever had in my life. The instructions were so awful I didn’t even finish this little one-winged angel.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy gets lit on September 21 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. No news on a Nintendo Switch version yet aside from some rumors and supposed leaks. But that seems like a no-brainer.
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