Shredding as Spyro is still a joy.
Playing the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is like revisiting an old friend who’s been taking very good care of themselves. Having played levels from now all three Spyro games from the original trilogy, I’ve been consistently hit by waves of nostalgia and the muscle memory of jumps and glides kicking in immediately. But with the new coat of sheen Toys for Bob has brought to those games in remaking them from the ground up, Spyro doesn’t look as good as my memory pictures it — it looks so much better.
Having played some Spyro Reignited Trilogy levels ahead of Gamescom 2018 and dipping back into them for PAX West 2018, I’m continually impressed by the level of detail and life Toys for Bob has brought to these worlds. The studio has done a tremendous job of filling in the gaps left by the technology of the original games’ times, building on the clever level design and characterization Insomniac Games first created.
I’d first saw that in the original level reveal of the Spyro the Dragon remake earlier this year, which demonstrated the lengths to which the crystal dragons Spyro saves have been given richer backstories and personalities. The same can be said of what we’ve seen in gameplay from levels like Colossus and in the animations of characters like those in Idol Springs. Their behavior is so much more richly detailed, animated to give them more expressive beheavior and new life, but in a way that doesn’t betray my personal memories of playing these levels years ago.
What that often means is every level is so vividly colored and so adorably animated, that the hula dancers of Idol Springs or the baby dragons saved in Sunny Villa are at once both familiar and a delightful surprise of rediscovery. And while Activision has abandoned its stalwart skateboarding franchise in Tony Hawk, there’s a certain level of silly nostalgic glee as I controlled Spyro in my efforts to shred on some half-pipes in Year of the Dragon’s skateboarding section.
Yes, it’s a bummer to have to wait a bit longer to play the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, but if the levels I’ve played are any indication, I’m more than willing to let Toys for Bob have the time to let every level feel like what I’ve played — simultaneously comforting to return to and exciting to explore with a fresh look worthy of those Spyro memories I hold so dear.
Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s News Editor and he loves that he has an excuse to play through Ripto’s Rage again. Not that he needed one. Talk to him about Spyro on Twitter @jmdornbush.