Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Spyro Reignited Trilogy (NSW) Review

I listed Spyro Reignited Trilogy as my fourth favorite game of 2018. That was the PlayStation 4 version of the game, so when one of my favorite games of 2018 was released on the Nintendo Switch--a platform where I can comfortably enjoy some gaming without being stuck to my TV--you bet I was looking for any excuse to replay it! That's exactly what I did over the past month with Spyro Reignited Trilogy on the Nintendo Switch. Here's the full SPC review.

Check out my review of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One original release of Spyro Reignited Trilogy by clicking on this link.

Of purple dragon's majesty...

Last year, developer Toys for Bob showed how remarkable remakes are done with its work on updating the original PlayStation Spyro the Dragon trilogy of games in one fantastic package on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A year has since passed, and now the complete package, Spyro Reignited Trilogy, has arrived on the Nintendo Switch with the bonus of being able to take the experience anywhere you want with its portable play. Adding some refinements and some drawbacks as well, does Spyro Reignited Trilogy hold up as well on the less powerful Switch?

Sparx isn't just Spyro's companion on his adventures--he's also Spyro's health indicator.
Having played through Spyro's three games for the first time to completion last year on the PlayStation 4, my run through of the games on the Switch didn't take as long--but at the same time, it was just as enjoyable for me. There's easily over 25 hours' worth of content to delve into with Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and after the original, you can see how much each of the sequels builds off its predecessor.

While the original Spyro the Dragon employs a simple start-to-finish progression with its levels, and these are connected by hubs, each level begs to be explored. This is due to the fact that your transport between worlds requires a set amount of a particular collectible to proceed. Sometimes it's a number of gems, Dragon Elders to rescue, or Dragon eggs to nab back from pilfering (and quite cowardly) egg thieves upon which Spyro must give chase to return the eggs.

Come back here, you pesky egg thief!
Generally, levels in the original Spyro the Dragon are relatively brief affairs, but that's only if you're running from point A to point B without going off the beaten path. As stated, exploration from finding gems, Dragon Elders, and other collectibles is paramount to Spyro's progress. Plus, if you're a sucker for collectibles like myself, you probably won't be able to ward off the temptation of aiming for 100% completion in each level.

Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage introduces new characters, a more involved story, and more cinematics (including cutscenes that appear at the beginning and end of each level). Spyro also expands his arsenal of moves by paying off a particularly greedy ursine fellow with the gems he discovers throughout his platforming escapades. These moves include the ability to swim underwater, climb ladders, and perform a ground pound of sorts. In addition to these learned moves, Spyro has an incredibly helpful ability to cap off his winged descents across pits and other chasms by having the player press the X button to perform a quick ascent into the sky. No more "just" not having enough height to reach faraway platforms.

Of the three games in the trilogy, Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage slightly edges out the original as my favorite.
Additionally, Ripto's Rage brings with it side quests that have Spyro completing special challenges for special collectibles. Some are rewarded by surviving certain platforming perils while others involve mini-games such as controlling a train cart through a hazardous course, beating an NPC in a game of ice hockey, or defeating a group of enemies causing trouble in a level.

Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage introduces unique side quests that add even more variety to the series.
Spyro: Year of the Dragon rounds out the trilogy, and it adds even more gameplay variety to the series. This is both a positive and a negative. While being able to play as characters other than Spyro--such as a club-wielding yeti and a missile-toting bird--mostly brings about entertaining variety, some of the other types of variety on display in Spyro 3, such as mini-games like the woefully awkward and clumsy hoverboarding, don't give off as great of an impression.

Speaking of variety, being able to play as several new animal
companions turns the "variety dial" up to 11!
Staying with the theme of "not giving off as great of an impression," we have the boss battles. In Spyro the Dragon, the levels leading up to each boss battle are more challenging and lengthier than the actual bosses, which can usually be flamed or rammed into a quick defeat. In Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, bosses are their own encounters without levels preceding them, but these range from total jokes to hair-pulling in their difficulties. The total lack of checkpoints in these encounters made these particular encounters more frustrating and annoying than they needed to be. It's a shame that with all of the updates and upgrades in both presentation and quality of life aspects of Spyro Reignited Trilogy that the addition of the occasional checkpoint in the more arduous boss battles was not included.

Not all boss fights are created equal. While all are pretty forgettable
in this trilogy, some are just frustrating as all get out!
As mentioned and as expected of remakes of this type, all three games in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy have been touched up dramatically, and although they don't have the same wow factor graphically as the PS4 and Xbox One versions (or especially the newly released PC version, for that matter), the fact that the games hold up rather well visually on the Switch--especially when considering you can play them on a single device that you can hold in your hands--makes for its own kind of wow factor. Something impressive as well is how that the only frame-rate hitches that I noticed were ones that happened during loading screens. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred during actual gameplay. An important point to mention: this didn't matter whether I was playing with the Switch placed in the dock or if I was playing the game in handheld form.

While the visuals may not be astonishing compared to the other versions, Spyro Reignited Trilogy running as flawlessly as it does on the Switch certainly is astonishing all on its own!
Spyro Reignited Trilogy may be a year late in coming to the Nintendo Switch, but it's on the system in style with surprisingly remarkable results. Though Spyro's adventures are dated in some regards when it comes to their designs, overall, each adventure is worthy of a play through (or several) and holds up exceptionally well. If you haven't played these sensationally remade versions of Spyro's original three platforming adventures already, own a Switch, and favor either the platform itself or portability, then enjoy Spyro Reignited Trilogy on Nintendo's hybrid system--because this port is a well done one.

[SPC Says: A-]

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