I’ve finally had the time to enjoy Toys for Bob’s “Spyro: Reignited Trilogy” and I absolutely love it. My very first gaming console was the original PlayStation, and some of my earliest gaming memories are from the first three Sypro games, and it’s just great to see them remastered and accessible on modern home consoles.
Please do the “Legend of Spyro” trilogy next.
For those of you that don’t know, the “Legend of Spyro” trilogy is a reboot of the Spyro franchise that released one title every year from 2006 to 2008. It took an approach much akin to “The Lord of the Rings” and other fantasy epics, taking a much more mature approach than the lighthearted PlayStation games that came before.
Thematically and from a story perspective, they’re not bad. The trilogy focuses on Spyro (Elijah Wood), a prophesied purple dragon who is meant to bring order to the realm, and his struggle against Malefor (Mark Hamill), another purple dragon who turned evil and is determined to bring armageddon to the realm (one purple dragon is born every ten generations and have special powers and abilities). The overarching story of the trilogy works not only because of its superb voice acting (Gary Oldman is also in its cast), but because it explores a central theme of choice in relation to power and how that power corrupts even those originally with good intentions (Malefor in his youth was once like Spyro, and it’s not a huge leap to muse that the idea of making Malefor be the snarky Spyro we see in his original three games was thrown around among the developers).
Spyro also teams up with a fellow dragon named Cynder (multiple voice actresses), the main antagonist of the trilogy’s first game, “A New Beginning”, who has become a staple of the franchise, and adds a necessary foil to his character and his struggle with the unbridled power he has inherited. In my opinion, it tells a story similar to the rushed Rey Palaptine storyline in “The Rise of Skywalker” about evil roots and heritage and how that doesn’t define you, except done much better.
In fact, while the story could use a few modern touches and adjustments here and there, I don’t think it needs to drastically change. “A New Beginning” (2006) tells the story of a naive Spyro who finds himself in the middle of a global conflict between Malefor, who is imprisoned at this point and is acting through his armies, and everyone else. The stakes are relatively low, though trouble is brewing, and he learns at the game’s conclusion that what he perceives as good and evil isn’t as black and white as he thought with Cynder, who serves as Malefor’s general and is revealed to be a dragon not unlike himself, and he manages to gain her as an ally.
“The Eternal Night” (2007) is the “Empire Strikes Back” of the trilogy, and sees Spyro navigate the titular eternal night while attempting to thwart Gaul (Kevin Michael Richardson) a powerful Ape who commands the armies of Malefor after Cynder’s defeat. The game is filled with atmospheric nighttime levels and landscapes, and it has a pretty good port for the Nintendo DS and it’s my favorite of the trilogy. The game concludes with the freeing of Malefor and the imprisonment of both Spyro and Cynder, who spend a few years encased in a crystal, while the world changes around them, setting the stage for the last game.
“Dawn of the Dragon” (2008) is the “Return of the King” entry into the franchise, as Malefor’s armies are at full strength and threaten to wipe out the people of Spyro’s world. Hunter (Blair Underwood), a feline anthropomorphic companion found in older Spyro games, joins the fight, for some reason sporting a bow. He’s basically Legolas from “Lord of the Rings”, only less competent and less fun. “Dawn” is the most cinematic entry into the series, and its scale is grand and epic. It’s art design also stands out, and it’s the first time we see a mature-looking Spyro. “Dawn” has the most things going for it of any game in the franchise, though its gameplay needs polish and variety.
There are two major directions I see a “Legend of Spyro” remake going: One is a complete overhaul that would tighten the gameplay and bring the trilogy up to snuff with modern standards in the same vein as to what’s being done with “Final Fantasy VII”, and the other is akin to the “Reignited” trilogy remaster, which is just a graphical coat of paint.
“The Legend of Spyro” needs an overhaul.
I love the story and themes of the trilogy, but the quality of gameplay is all over the place, repetitive, and at times boring, as well as glitchy. “The Legend of Spyro” trilogy and the first Spyro trilogy are polar opposites. The originals are collectathons with little to no story other than “collect this thing and defeat the bad guy,” but it doesn’t matter because the gameplay is excellent and still holds up to this day. The “Legend” trilogy is all about its linear story and had neither the budget nor time to fill its levels with engaging gameplay.
There’s also the key question of what exactly would be remastered, as there are distinct and different versions of the “Legend” games. For example, I experienced “A New Beginning” and “The Eternal Night” on the Nintendo DS, and “Dawn of the Dragon” on the Wii, and of those, “The Eternal Night” is my favorite, and I absolutely hated “A New Beginning.” But people who played those first two games on console had a completely different experience, as the console version of “A New Beginning” is viewed as greatly superior to that of “Eternal Night.” This is because in the mid- to late-2000s, a 1-to-1 port of a console game to handheld was not possible; they were two distinctly different mediums shaped by hardware limitations, which means a handheld port of a console game was often a completely different game unto itself. They weren’t purely ports per say, but rather adaptations.
Though, however you spin it, the gameplay of this trilogy needs a complete overhaul, and it needs consistency. Average to mediocre gameplay from 14 years ago isn’t going to cut it in 2020; it would be like polishing a turd in that respect if the three games were just remastered graphically.
“The Legend of Spyro” trilogy had great potential, and a remake of it could bring that potential out. It still has a fond place in many people’s hearts, though, like the “Star Wars” prequels, it wasn’t perfect.
Some fans of the originals reject the “Legends” trilogy upon its very concept, but we live in a world were our popular culture icons are subject to many different interpretations and takes, and the “Legend” trilogy was only one of them, and I think it was a valid take. Had these games had larger budgets and were not pushed out every year for three years, they might be held in great revere.
We might never get a “Legend of Spyro” trilogy remake, because they need much more than a coat of paint, and there isn’t as much nostalgia value in it as the original three Spyro games. At the end of the day, remakes only get greenlit if there’s enough money to be had. But I sure hope we get one.