It’s no secret that remakes are an exceptionally tricky business. Either one can go too far and no doubt frustrate hardcore enthusiasts or do too little and be told that the original media hasn’t been brought up to snuff with the modern era.
In the case of the Crash Bandicoot: N.Sane Trilogy, most fans praised the updated visuals and save system. In addition, the decision to make the 100 percent completion process for the original Crash Bandicoot a bit more lenient was also given a thumbs-up across the board. However, the use of “rounded” collision as opposed to the “square” collision detection of the classic trilogy continues to be a subject of discussion well after the game’s release in addition to the physics and handling of Crash. While these complaints may seem petty on the surface, the “unified” handling and rounded collision DO affect the way these games play, making for a less precise and potentially more frustrating experience for those who grew up with Sony’s former spokes-critter.
Since the announcement of Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, I’ve remained casually optimistic. The purple dragon is as near and dear to me as a child as the box-smashing bandicoot, perhaps even more so since the original Spyro the Dragon was the first video game I ever finished or fully completed. As Spyro is significantly more forgiving and open-ended than any Crash title, I felt that it would be a lot harder to “mess up” these games on the gameplay front. Now that this collection is (finally) out after a two and a half month delay, it’s time to see if Toys for Bob was able to successfully modernize these games in a way that would appease both new and returning fans.
They Nailed The Presentation
There is no denying that the presentation in Spyro: Reignited is stunning across all three adventures. In a way, it’s as if Toys for Bob sought to bring our childhood visions of what these games would look like in the future to life. Without the need for the impressive graphical tricks employed by the PS One classics to represent depth, the fantasy environments that Spyro explores have never looked better. Often times, I found myself just perching atop a peak to take it all in as Spyro did some of his iconic idle animations.
One touch that I absolutely adored (besides the grander attention to detail) was that, in Spyro the Dragon, all of the saved dragons now have a look and personality tailored to their homeworld. For instance, the rescued dragons of the Artisans World are appropriately artsy, donning paint-smattered gowns and wielding brushes. Some of the more “useless” dragons that would simply thank you for releasing them actually provide hints this time around, which I also liked.
The audio front is no slouch either. In order to please both the purists and non-purists, there’s an option to swap between the “Reignited” and “Original” soundtrack at any time in the three games. While I prefer listening to Stewart Copeland’s compositions and kept the original tunes going through the majority of my playthroughs, I can still appreciate the effort put into the “Reignited” tracks. It’s worth noting that whenever Spyro is charging, the tempo will pick up if the player has toggled the “Reignited” sound option. This is yet another subtle but welcomed addition on the presentation front.
The Control Scheme Has Been Changed For The Better
When revisiting the classic trilogy in anticipation of Reignited, I’ll admit that having to use the shoulder buttons to manipulate the camera did become a bit painful after marathon sessions. Having the camera control mapped to the right analog stick not only helps these games feel a bit more “modern”, but it’s also easier on the hands. The camera is a bit snappier, quickly swiveling to where you tell it to. The “active” and “passive” options are also still around for those who want them. One last thing I want to acknowledge is that clicking the left thumb-stick will now have Sparx point to the nearest gem at any point across all three games, which in turn makes the processing of snagging those last few collectibles a little less aggravating.
Some Sections Are (Legitimately) More Challenging
As mentioned earlier, the Spyro trilogy is not necessarily difficult despite the Dark Souls comparison made in Eurogamer’s review. Perhaps taking note of this and considering that the target audience for Reignited is the long-time fans of the series, some areas and bosses are just a bit tougher to take down. Perhaps the most noteworthy bump-up in difficulty is the fight with Gulp in Ripto’s Rage. In the original, it was quite easy to cheese this fight by running circles around the beast. Not the case in Reignited, as many have already discovered. You’ll have to actively DODGE his electrical blasts this time around, and they seem to be a tad more accurate to boot. And yes, he can still heal himself by munching on the fodder that Elora drops should you take enough damage. The games are still not super-difficult to finish, but I’m all for having more engaging boss encounters in my platformers.
Long Load Times
Normally, I wouldn’t even bring something like this up. However, given that this game was delayed for two and a half months, it’s a bit disappointing that Toys for Bob couldn’t look into optimization. Playing the physical copy on a standard PS4, there are load times of up to half a minute between levels and worlds. There are even 10 to 20 second load times following every death, and while the frequency of deaths won’t be particularly high for most, it’s still a nuisance.
Flight Handling Is A Bit Too Sensitive
To be fair, the controls for the flight/speedway segments were never that great to begin with. I always found these sections to be a low-point in the series. This unfortunately held true for me working through the Reignited speedways. The handling is still a bit clunky and, for whatever reason, a lot more sensitive than it was in the classics. It wasn’t enough to truly frustrate me in the way that Crash’s handling in the N Sane Trilogy managed to, but I still wished these sections remained a bit more faithful as far as handling is concerned.
There Are A Ton of Glitches
Many of them are minor, such as the minor collision oddities here and there, but it’s important to note that there are some truly wild ones that allow players to go out of bounds or mess with the AI of enemies. I didn’t find any major bugs while doing my 100% completion runs but I didn’t actively seek them out either. If players are already finding ways to perform boundary breaks just days after release, it’s hard not to question whether or not the delay was truly to “improve the games” or work out that marketing deal with Snoop Dog.
While the load times, glitches, and slightly hampered flight controls did bother me…I still found Reignited’s high points to outweigh the lows. The games look and sound excellent, play better on every other front but the flying bits, and have a number of inclusions that help modernize the trilogy in ways that will only upset the most extreme of purists. There’s also a hefty amount of content at the $39.99 asking price, as each individual game should take about 5-10 hours to complete depending on if you plan to 100% and platinum them.