Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief
Release Date: November 13th, 2018 (Xbox One, PlayStation 4)
Developer: Toys For Bob
Since releasing five games in 2015, Activision has only reached a maximum of three games released per year. 2015 was also the last time they published a brand-new IP, though it was not one developed by one of the nearly one dozen studios on the Activision side of Activision Blizzard. Luckily, 2019 will see the publisher’s next new IP, but- again- not one developed by an owned studio. Granted, releasing Call Of Duty (one of the best-selling games every year) allows for freedom to be stingy with the releases. With all that said, the releases of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy and now Spyro Reignited Trilogy along with the subsequent hype and success of both could be what the doctor ordered. Not only does it show that there is a base there wanting games in these franchises if done correctly, but that it could help increase Activision’s output moving forward. Did developer Toys For Bob treat Spyro Reignited Trilogy as if it was their own dragon egg or is there egg on their face?
The player can bet their ass that they did! This is by far the better of the two remasters, and not only because it looks graphically superior. I only played a small part of the third game as a child, so I had forgotten or just did not realize at the time that the series mixed open-world elements with more linear elements. Which in this modern age of gaming is the perfect balance between sprawling games like Red Dead Redemption 2 that takes hundreds of hours and the more linear games that tops out at around ten hours. While the more linear levels are on the easier end for the most part, the open world levels are by far the most fun while challenging. The latter levels can sometimes cause the player to get lost, but luckily for the player there is an option to turn on a map. This helps the player figure out where to go next and where they have or have not already been. Having the map is a big plus as the quest to find all collectables is a big urge.
Another big urge is to complete the achievements that have been added to the games. Each level, home and sub, has one achievement attached to it and they range from general gameplay activating to very challenging specific circumstances. This not only leaves the difficulty of the games up to the player, but also adds replayability as players who did not initially go from 100% and/or the achievements can come back and attempt at their hearts’ desire. With that said, the games are not simple all the way through and have very drastic difficulty spikes that new players to the trilogy may not be expecting. To counterbalance this, most of the bosses in each home world are fairly easy and do not provide much of a challenge. This does end up being a bit of a disappointment as the early game can seem boring with easy levels and bosses. Thankfully, the second and third games in the trilogy added more flair to each level to fix this issue.
Moving on to gameplay: for newcomers to the series, the controls are easy to pick up. The player can use a fire attack or a charge attack on enemies with the latter also a way to run faster and in the late game traverse levels. They can also jump and glide, with the later sometimes causing frustration when trying to land somewhere that is a bit far away and every second and movement matters in hopes of safely landing. The gliding is also sometimes used in puzzle sections to get to an area where something important is tucked away. The biggest issue is that Spyro’s movements feel stiff with a bit of input lag. Many a time Spyro would seemingly look like he was trying to catch his tail while trying to charge into enemies to kill them. Having not played much of the original games I cannot say if this was an issue back then, but it does take away from an experience that for the most part is fantastic. The last issue is the fact that the loading times seems exceedingly long for no reason.
It says a lot that the two studios, Toys For Bob and Vicarious Visions, most tied to the awful toys-to-life bastardization Spyro spinoff that is the Skylanders franchise are the ones to release the wonderful remakes for Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. With the toys-to-life fad dead – someone please tell Nintendo to stop making Amiibos for everything! – and these remakes not only being wonderfully done but also reigniting calls for new installments in the franchises, this should hopefully see the developers bringing new installments in the near future. Toys For Bob, especially, seems to have gotten the spirit of the classic Spyro trilogy and could bring the franchise into the hearts of a whole new generation moving forward if Spyro Reignited Trilogy is any indication. This is yet another remaster of a classic trilogy that all gamers old and young should pick up and play, rather they are looking for some fun platforming or challenging achievement hunting. (Ryan Williford; Gaming Editor)
Review copy provided by Activision.