Everyone jokes that Spyro is getting 'scaled' up for the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, and however cheesy the pun might be, there's no getting away from the fact that it's the absolute truth. Just like Activision did last year with the Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, all three of the original Spyro titles are getting upscaled and re-released on PS4 and Xbox One. And trust me, from what I've played so far, this is the best Spyro has ever looked.
The improvements to Spyro himself are probably the most marked, especially when it comes to personality. His face is so much more expressionate, and full of life, and even a little bit cheeky. Leave him to idle for a bit and he'll actually look around to you, urging you to make a move. Or hit the water in the Sunny Flights level and he'll shake his fist at your misfortune.
But our little scaly pal is nothing without a world to explore. I only got to play a couple of levels from the original Spyro, but it's a stark visual contrast from the original game. There's now a visible world surrounding each level rather than just a generic backdrop, which seriously helps to up the immersion of the levels in general. But really it's about the serious visual tweaks that developer Toys for Bob has added. The Toasty Level from the Artisan World in the original Spyro is one of the levels we got to try, and even this small level is now brimming with character. From the individual tiles on the roof of the buildings, to the fact they've added actual art to the walls of the gallery inside to more visibly represent the different dragons Spyro saves are both brilliant touches. The original Spyro basically used a few different dragon designs, but Toys for Bob has also ramped these guys up a bit, adding personality and actual character designs, making saving each one that bit more exciting. Plus, you can now even scorch the grass as you breathe fire.
Of course, all these new visual flourishes don't detract from the fact this still feels very much like Spyro. All that muscle memory from being a kid in the '90s is still there, and Spyro moves and feels the same as he did all those years ago, even if he does look fantastic nowadays. There were famously some issues with the difficulty in the Crash remaster but, from what I've played here - and I played a lot of the Tree Tops level at E3, zooming around on the supercharge ramps - it doesn't seem that that's the case here. Jumping feels great, as do the flight and combat controls.
The same can be said for what I've played so far of Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage, and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. There's still the same amount of challenge and exploration as you remember, although I'll admit I was definitely more of a fan of the original Spyro back in the day. But what's interesting coming back is that the trio play like looking back at a history of the platformer, watching the gameplay evolve from one game to another, adding in verticality and other such tweaks to make things feel more modern. Toys for Bob has added to that too, including adding the ability for fairies to create checkpoints and save files in Spyro 3.
At GamesCom, I got to play Idol Springs from Spyro 2, and the realm of the evil tikis, and showcasing the introduction of side quests, including using the supercharge powerup to free hula dancers from raised columns. For Spyro: Year of the Dragon though, it was a delight to play Sunny Villa, and even got as far as the skateboarding section. Don't worry folks it's still brilliant good fun.
Every level I've played so far has been about appreciating how good Spyro can look, and how well it's been recreated and plays, and thankfully it won't be too long until you can find out for yourself.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy launches on PS4 and Xbox One on November 13.