With the phenomenal success of Crash Bandicoot, clearly there’s an insatiable appetite for reignited retro and Spyro is the next to lead the charge.
Sitting down at Gamescom, we got to try out three different levels from the upcoming remaster – Stone Hill from Spyro 1, Idol Springs from Spyro 2, and Sunny Villa from Spyro: Year of the Dragon. This selection of these levels perfectly introduces different aspects and components of the game, giving us a well-rounded feel of the upcoming reignited experience.
What’s immediately striking is how absolutely gorgeous Spyro Reignited Trilogy looks. For me, it’s a notable step up in quality from the N-Sane Trilogy with more vibrant lighting, the glinting and glimmering from each individual gem, character model animation and reactions, even right down to each blade of grass.
Growing up on these games, I’m absolutely blown away by just how much of an upgrade this really is. Toys for Bob have gone all out to craft something truly special for Spyro fans that looks, sounds, and plays seamlessly.
In fact, based on the mechanics, humour and overall style of the games, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re brand new out this year. This is more than just a nod to those with nostalgia twinkling in their eye, this feels like a full relaunch of the yellow-horned hero.
Spyro can charge down his enemies which vary from oversized rhynocs to menacing goats and bumbling old wizards, running right through them with reckless abandon. But it’s not a one-size fit all tactic, so sometimes you have to reach the deepest pit of your stomach to unleash a large blast of flame, dousing your enemies in fire.
Like most dragons, Spyro can also glide and float between platforms to help reach his objectives, but unlike most dragons he’s also pretty nifty with a skateboard and pulls off some mad flicks and flips that puts Tony Hawk’s career to shame.
Each level gave us a little something different to take in, both aesthetically and mechanically, while also showing how the new engine is able to iterate on the originals. Stone Hill, for instance, has never looked better.
The detail on the ground is staggering, you can see hills and castles looming in the background, flags flickering in the wind, and almost feel the heat from Spyro’s flame warming the palms of your hands.
The animation is so fluid, characters now show genuine expression in conversation with perfect comedic timing and more theatrical gestures, and there’s a satisfying crash when blasting through chests and clink when picking up gems.
Most importantly, though, the pace you associate with Spyro is more intact than ever. The ragdoll esque nature of enemies tumbling around, crashing into the environment when blasted, and disappearing in a puff of smoke never gets old. The ability to zoom around the course at break-neck pace, taking tight corners, dashing through everything in your path, then soaring to your next objective is a speedrunner’s dream come true.
As before, you’re still freeing dragons who are more than willing to offer up pearls of wisdom, but there are new voice actors in place. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise though, as the audio quality is an exponential leap over the original.
And in many cases these actors deliver the lines in a way that better suits the new visual cues on screen. As for the music, it sounds less tinny and whiney, more crisp and refined. Be careful, though, as now the tunes are catchier than ever before.
Idol Springs, meanwhile, puts Spyro up against living idols, carved by Foreman Bob and his crew of goblins. You’re tasked with getting Bob’s people back into the temples but it’s not as straightforward as the previous level as you can’t just barge into the Idols. Some are carrying shields, deflecting your fire attacks, others are swinging sticks so have to be dodged then burned.
While Stone Hill gave us a real feel of the pace of Reignited, Idol Springs shows off the games’ tactical nature and the different visual aesthetictic with stunning rippling water, gently falling leaves and yellowed, sunset sky. Another example of how much more of a living world this really is.
With the changes in tactics, camera roving and panning also becomes more important and this feels silky smooth compared to the jaggedy motions of the originals. Line of sight and vantage feels effortless to both take in and admire your scenery while also responding appropriately to your actions.
As for Sunny Villa, it’s a combination of everything you’ve learned with some Rhynocs running away from you, some charging right at you, gliding between platforms, while also searching for hidden dragons and treasures
And best of all, skating. It genuinely feels like more development time has been spent to make boarding feel less tacked on, more a core part of the gaming experience. There’s more freedom of movement, better pace and trick opportunities, but naturally this opens you up to even more chances to wipe out.
I just adored my short time with Spyro. Memories came flooding back, I had a permanent smile etched on my face, and best of all I came away wanting much, much more.
For years, Activision have been blamed for burying and neglecting Spyro. With the Reignited Trilogy, I can happily say he has received even more love, care, and attention than Crash ever did. This is the remake you’ve all been hoping for and thensome.
Best of all, if we were to get a brand new Spyro game sometime in the future, Reignited presents a wonderful foundation to relaunch this beloved character, proving there’s definitely still a place for him in the gaming world.
Spyro’s world feels more enriched and alive than ever. This is shaping up to be one very special game when it releases on November 13th.