E3 2018: Hands-On with Spyro Reignited Trilogy

Spyro the Dragon released 20 years ago and after the success of Crash Bandicoot: N’ Sane Trilogy, it only made sense for Spyro to get the remaster treatment.

At the helm of Spyro Reignited Trilogy are the Skylanders developers Toys for Bob, who have been working on the games for quite some time. As someone who wasn’t a fan of the Skylanders games, I had some concern about how their version of the original Spyro games would turn out. Luckily, what I saw and heard from my hands-on appointment relieved some of my doubts.

As soon as they loaded up Spyro the Dragon, the visual upgrades smacked me across the face. It’s flat out gorgeous! Everything is wonderfully detailed, vivid, and lively. From the blades of grass that react to Spyro’s movements and fire to the amazing vistas, the updated enviroment makes for a more fully realized world. With all of the little details that dress up the worlds, it’s clear that a lot of work went into the visual overhaul.

The once barren levels are now fully themed with art hanging from the walls and other decorations to make levels feel more distinct and lived in. It sounded like the artists were given free range to go all out theming the world and filling it with stuff.

Toys for Bob also changed up some character designs for which they had the blessing from Insomniac Games while remaining independent. They weren’t beholden to Insomniac’s vision of how things should look and could do as they pleased. So yes, some characters are going to look different and that might scare some people. Though from what I saw, there is nothing outlandish that breaks the universe. Everything that is changed or added looks appropriate for the themes of Spyro the Dragon and while there are differences, nothing should change how the game feels.

Some of the characters changed are the guard dogs who still act and react the same way they did before, but now have more detail. The rescued dagons now have unique designs instead of having the four basic repeated designs in the original. Its changes to the elder dragons are changes that I welcome and from the few that I saw, I am looking forward to the differences displaying more of their personality.

Gameplay is the key to a good remake and after playing three levels including Sunny Flight, I feel like Toys for Bob nailed the platforming and flight controls. Spyro always had a certain level of inaccuracy with its platforming that turned into its own style of platforming and that is mostly still present which is fantastic.

One major change that everyone should be thrilled about is the new camera which looks and feels like night and day compared to the the original. I was able to spend my time focusing on the actual mechanics as opposed to battling the camera which is something I have recent experience with since I’ve been replaying the originals in preparation for Spyro Reignited Trilogy.

Despite the worlds featuring more dressing and visual improvements, the original games are still at the core, literally. Toys for Bob used a meshing technique that kept all the original placements of everything from gems and chests to characters and architecture. This allowed them to make their visual improvements without changing the layout of levels. Therefore fans and speedrunners alike will be able to hop into a world and know where everything is and feel right at home.

Little things are still the same, missed items still glimmer in the distance, the audio effects of nearby objects can still be heard. It’s still the same game we all remember from our childhood but in a shiny new wrapper.

Unfortunately, only the first game was playable during the appointment and we still haven’t seen the others in action yet. Despite this, after my brief time playing and talking to the developers I feel like I can rest easy knowing that they appear to be on the right track to remastering a beloved franchise.

Spyro Remastered Trigilogy is set to launch on the PS4 and Xbox One on September 21st.

Check out a gameplay video here.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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