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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Three classic Spyro games in one
Looks and sounds brand new
Great option for kids
Simplistic gameplay can be repetitive
Camera isn’t always cooperative
Spyro Reignited Trilogy does right by its valiant hero, recreating these classic quests for a brand new era.
Long before serving as the inspiration for the Skylanders toys-to-life games, Spyro the Dragon was a proper gaming star himself. Starting with 1998’s original Spyro the Dragon on the first PlayStation console, the spunky purple fire-breather kicked off a hit trilogy that included Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon soon after.
Now all three of those games are available for current consoles and PC via the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, which does more than simply port these decades-old platform-action games to modern devices. All three games are lovingly revamped with beautiful new graphics while keeping the original framework of each adventure intact—and all three are available in a single, reasonably priced package, making this an ideal pick for younger kids and nostalgic fans alike.
The original Spyro the Dragon finds the young dragon placed in a perilous situation when the evil Gnasty Gnorc uses his magic to crystalize every other dragon in the kingdom. You’ll travel across the five worlds of the Dragon Kingdom to rescue every dragon by freeing them with your fire breath—and then deal with Gnasty Gnorc once and for all.
All three games are lovingly revamped with beautiful new graphics while keeping the original framework of each adventure intact.
In Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, the hero sets off in search of a vacation spot following his tiring original quest, but instead is pulled through a portal into the realm of Avalar. There, he’s recruited by Elora the Faun, Hunter the Cheetah, and the Professor to help defeat the villainous Ripto. Meanwhile, Spyro: Year of the Dragon finds him back in his homeland, but then 150 dragon eggs are stolen by a sorceress from the Forgotten Worlds. Spyro must then collect all of the eggs from that unfamiliar locale, all while working alongside a fresh cast of additional playable characters.
Much of Spyro Reignited Trilogy’s gameplay is established in the first entry, which really sets the tone for the entire trilogy. All three games find players controlling Spyro himself, as you run around the worlds, jump over hazards and between platforms, breathe fire to attack or stun enemies, and charge forward to pummel foes and break through defenses.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy sets you loose upon fairly large worlds, letting you explore and collect gems as you battle enemies, rescue fellow dragons, open up treasure chests, and ultimately battle against slightly more difficult boss characters.
All three games are very accessible and kid-friendly. For the most part, the Spyro games are pretty uncomplicated. They can still be challenging in spots and require some strategy, such as knowing which attacks to use against which kinds of enemies, or understanding when a foe is most vulnerable to attack. However, the largely simplistic and straightforward nature of the levels means that even younger players should have a fine time getting around and overcoming the obstacles that they face. On the other hand, more seasoned and/or older players may tire of the samey-feeling gameplay more quickly.
Every single element has been given a visual overhaul, and it’s much more than simply a fresh coat of paint.
Gradually, the trilogy expands the scope of the gameplay. Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage adds new mechanics, such as the ability to swim underwater to access items and new areas, as well as climbing and a powerful, diving head bash attack. The sequel also includes various power-ups, such as ones that let Spyro breathe ice instead of fire or leap to much higher destinations.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon offers quite a bit more variety, as it introduces several additional playable characters alongside Spyro. Each has its own specific levels designed around its unique abilities, such as Sheila the Kangaroo’s double-jump skill and penguin Sgt. James Byrd who can flap into the air and fire off rockets. And while Ripto’s Rage introduces some simple mini-games, Year of the Dragon expands upon the selection even further.
All three games are also ideal for completionists, as there are loads of collectibles to find throughout the world. Players don’t need to find everything to simply complete the levels and move on, but those collectibles provide extra incentive for players who want to explore every nook and cranny and get the most out of the game. This is a package that players could potentially spend dozens of hours with, should they choose to do so.
One recurring issue we faced was with the camera, which often doesn’t provide the best viewpoint for the action—especially when you’re trying to chase and ram into enemies. Both the passive and active camera options aren’t quite precise enough, and it’s one of the rare elements of the game that really shows the age of the original Spyro games. Modern-day 3D games typically have much more refined and responsive camera systems, but that part of the game doesn’t feel significantly transformed in this remastered edition. It’s not a huge problem, but it can be a pain at times.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a beautiful-looking game that presents its fantasy worlds with a colorful, cartoonish allure. Each updated game keeps the core of the original experience, with the same level designs and enemy placements, but every single element has been given a visual overhaul. It’s much more than simply a fresh coat of paint, as the original PlayStation console could only produce jagged and very simplistic characters and worlds.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a beautiful-looking game that presents its fantasy worlds with a colorful, cartoonish allure.
Here, the lavish graphics make Spyro feel fresh and modern, with well-animated heroes and enemies and some gorgeous terrain along the way. While the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC versions benefit from crisper graphics and additional detail, the Nintendo Switch version also looks great whether playing on the handheld screen or connected to a TV. All of the versions also have extensive voice acting, as well, to help deliver each game’s narrative.
There’s very little to worry about with Spyro Reignited Trilogy. All three of these games were pretty kid-friendly back in the late ‘90s, and that hasn’t changed with the upgraded graphics. It’s an action experience, and Spyro will use his charge and fire attacks to defeat enemies, which quickly disappears from view. It’s all very cartoonish, however, and doesn’t look realistic at all.
The ESRB rates Spyro Reignited Trilogy as “Everything 10+” for “Cartoon Violence” and “Comic Mischief,” citing his attacks and also enemy Gnorc soldiers that briefly lift up the back flaps of their uniforms to “moon” Spyro before pointing and laughing. That might sound crude, but in the moment, it’s barely noticeable. We wouldn’t hesitate to give this game to kids under 10.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a great value, packing in three completely remastered adventures at an MSRP of $40. They certainly don’t look like old games, even if some newer platform-action games (like Super Mario Odyssey on Nintendo Switch) offer more variety and greater gameplay depth.
However, the sheer volume of gameplay here makes Spyro Reignited Trilogy an excellent pick for families and old-school fans of the series. And since the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions have been out for a while now, we’ve seen them selling for less than $30 as of this writing. The newer Switch and PC ports are still right around the MSRP.
The Spyro Reignited Trilogy essentially follows the mold of Activision’s recent Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy, as both packages take a trio of beloved ‘90s PlayStation games and give them a significant visual upgrade—all while keeping the core experience intact. Both are similarly effective in presenting the classic game in a more palatable, modern way or, essentially, the version that fans might imagine in their heads, rather than the real old-school games with clunky, 20-year-old graphics.
The key difference here is that the Crash Bandicoot games can be extremely difficult and unforgiving, as those platform-action challenges are often focused on speed and precision as you leap over hazards and dodge enemies. Spyro Reignited Trilogy has a much more laid-back and casual-feeling tone, and is less likely to frustrate young players. That makes Spyro the better pick for families with less-experienced players.
It still has a spark.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy might not be the most riveting platform-action experience for modern genre fans, but this remastered package is a great option for younger kids thanks to its simple gameplay and cartoonish tone. It’s also a welcome upgrade for fans of the decades-old original games, maintaining the spirit of the classics while making them much easier to enjoy today.