Back to a Simpler Time
Old-school platforming adventures hail (at least for me) as the best games ever made. Simple mechanics requiring honed skill; there’s nothing quite so enraging and satisfying. You know the games. Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, Crash Bandicoot, and you guessed it, Spyro the Dragon.
I, for one, hope that remastered games like Crash and Spyro will continue to be released in the future. We live in the time of reboots, with movies rebooting left and right. So let’s keep the trend going with remastered classic video games.
And without further adieu, let’s see how Spyro stands up to this modern era of gaming.
I did not play the original Spyro games, or pretty much any video game when I was a kid. I was deprived of anything fun like video games because my family was poor. So now maybe I’m overcompensating by owning almost all consoles and stacks upon stacks of games; not to mention writing for a gaming website.
So, this review will be solely based on my experience of the remastered version of the Spyro trilogy, and primarily on the first one. I do, however, have a good understanding of games from that era, even though I only got to play them at friends’ houses.
Breaking It Down
The word that best describes my opinion on the updated graphics is nothing short of “astounding.” The cartoony, fairytale world is perfectly beautiful. I only have old “let’s plays” to compare the graphics with, but it is a true and improved remaster of the original.
What delights me most is the animation of how Spyro runs. He moves like a little antelope crossed with a lizard. Bouncing around, making sharp turns, the little pitter-patter of his scaly feet. It’s honestly my favorite part of the whole game, just watching Spyro run around. He performs like a real animal.
I do not have a whole lot to say on the audio, other than it sounds good. I’m sure the sound was remastered along with the graphics, and they did a good job. It feels like it belongs in this fantasy world. I particularly like all the sound effects when Spyro is charging.
I’m going to elaborate on how the gameplay translates into the modern gaming experience later. But here, I’ll just address the gameplay as it is.
Everything runs very, very smooth. Almost too smooth. I’ve fallen off a cliff more than once because the controls responded so unexpectedly quick. I would almost complain about that.
The mechanics of moving, particularly with charging, didn’t go the way I planned half of the time. Trying to charge while already moving tends to shoot you in a direction that isn’t the way you were heading. I can’t say if there is something I’m not getting, but I did find it frustrating to run by an enemy instead of hitting him or falling off a cliff, like, a lot. It just came out of nowhere, man.
Do Classic Platformers Have a Place in Today’s World?
There are a lot of millennials out there, and we’re all very nostalgic. When I found out I could buy the original Banjo Kazooie as an Xbox download, I couldn’t get my credit card out fast enough. The memories of playing that game with friends rang in my heart as some of the purest of the happy times.
There’s a reason why Pokemon is such a powerful franchise. “Gotta catch ’em all!” We as people like to collect things. We like to complete a collection. Completing the Pokedex, finding every single coin, freeing every dragon, and getting 100% completion on a level is immensely satisfying.
In a world being dominated by PvP battle royales, there are still many people out there that just want to explore and collect; myself included. I hope every beloved, classic game can get rebooted every ten to fifteen years so that new generations can keep playing them.
But On That Note
I did love every second of playing Spyro because it reminds me of all those classic platforming games. However, ultimately, it seems to feel even more simple than the others. It was rare for me not to find every dragon on a given level. On normal levels, I didn’t feel like I needed as much skill as I needed to just take my time.
Most all monsters only take one hit to go down, and it’s not terribly hard to do. Just remembering to check my surroundings enabled me to find all of the dragons and most of the gems. The only parts that seemed challenging were the flight levels. Let’s be honest, those levels are heckin’ hard.
Now, these aren’t critiques on the game; not really. They are critiques on the genre. Spyro and other classic platformers haven’t aged poorly, but they haven’t aged well, either. It was a simpler time when they were released, and we are just different now. No matter how much we want to go back to the days when things were simple, all we really have left is nostalgia.
And Spyro Reignited Trilogy fills that nostalgic need.