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Spyro Reignited Trilogy Is A Nostalgic Delight



Spyro Reignited Trilogy logo

Spyro has returned better than ever before, with updated visuals, while holding true to the original’s charm. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy had a playable demo at the Toronto 2018 Fan EXPO featuring one level from each game. For fans of the original three games the demo, and eventually the remake, will help transport players back to when they were younger. Updated visuals have not hindered what the original brought but have only enhanced the games.

Fans of the original trilogy will feel right at home with the remake. The game is an honorable dedication to the late 90s, featuring accurate movement and controls. For example, charging into a wall still has the charming thud and bounce that old-school players witnessed so many times. However, a few aspects feel a touch at odds with the source material, such as the charge-and-jump method for a speed boost. This technique seems to have been altered and now slows Spyro down due to the way he is animated. In the originals, charge-jumping felt as though Spyro leaped through the air gracefully with his horns forward, but it now feels like he is arcing downward to hit harder, ultimately slowing him down. Another alteration is that the camera does not seem to follow the player as well as in the initial trilogy, meaning the user has to be ever vigilant on adjusting the view to see the enemies well enough.

One of the biggest changes to the first game in the saga is the design of the captured dragons: what was once a generic design is now more varied. For example, one of the dragons in Stone Hill is dressed as an artist, sporting coveralls dirtied with paint and holding a brush the size of him. Dragons now come with much more varied looks, giving them a sense of uniqueness that was not achievable on the original PlayStation.

The massively updated details extend to the worlds, which nonetheless hold the same level design imbued with a visual revamp, such as luscious grass instead of a spotted green mat. The lighting and shadows allow the colorful levels to feel much more alive and breathtaking; the fun of exploring in the originals is now accompanied by much more beauty and finding secret areas is more entertaining. The modernization brings the games one step higher than the originals, creating a game that will feel right at home today but still hits all those nostalgic itches.

With the demo, Toys for Bob has done well to demonstrate what Spyro Reignited Trilogy will deliver to fans. The remake is a great example if Sony’s history in the games industry, and where games have come from, along with a new opportunity for people to wear their rose-tinted glasses. The title also provides a great opportunity for children to play in a market saturated with titles targeted at adults and older teens. With the project’s recent delay to November 13, 2018, the developers can give “more love” to the always-deserving Spyro, as the game attempts to hit fans’ high expectations. Spyro made huge waves on the original PlayStation and is now likely to continue to do so with the Reignited Trilogy.

A graduate of Game Development with a specialization in animation. A true love for all things creative especially Game Design and Story.


Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is a Baffling Combination of Journey and Dark Souls



Mixing genres is a fairly common practice in video games. For some titles, the combination works well, such as Crypt of the Necrodancer‘s rhythmic dungeon crawling or Double Cross‘s use of light detective work between 2D platforming sections. Others do not fare so well, such as the out-of-place stealth sections in the Zelda-like Beyond Good and Evil, or the infamous jack-of-all-trades, master of none that Spore turned out to be. Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King, unfortunately, falls into the latter category. Trying to combine the floaty exploration of Journey with the brutal combat of Dark Souls, the resulting mixture is a frustrating mess that will not please fans of either game. The first title by French independent developer Redlock Studio, this Early Access game requires a lot of work before it reaches the compelling gameplay experience it is aiming for.

The game begins with the protagonist waking up in Limbo, with no memory of who they are or how they got there. A tiny creature named Yaak takes pity on the player, suggesting that maybe the king Hypnos can help. The problem, however, is that Hypnos is the titular Forgotten King—a godlike figure, who mysteriously disappeared after creating the world. In his absence, demons have taken over the realms. On a journey to reclaim their identity, the protagonist just might be able to save the world along the way to finding the forgotten king.

The frustration begins as soon as the player gains control of the protagonist. Movement in  Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King is floaty and imprecise. This annoyance might be minor in a platformer, but the inclusion of the punishing combat of a Souls-like makes it beyond frustrating. Enemy encounters are dangerous in this style of game, with the need to dodge, parry, and circle around combatants to avoid death. However, the controls simply do not have the precision needed for the task. When the game requires frame-perfect timing to parry an enemy’s attack but features a character that moves like molasses, more often than not the player will take a hit. Apart from the initial listless humanoids of Limbo, enemies are much faster and stronger than the protagonist, quickly taking down an unprepared player. The balance is so uneven that the first boss, a hulking creature with an enormous greatsword, feels like a fairer fight than the rooms full of small enemies since his attacks are slower and more clearly telegraphed. Often, the better choice is just to run past the enemies all together.

Should the player manage to defeat some enemies, they will gain essence, which is used in levelling up. Levelling up can only be done in Limbo, often requiring a fair bit of backtracking. Players can improve their vitality, stamina, strength, or mystic, but no explanation is given on what those statistics actually do. Putting one point into strength will result in the character doing one point of extra damage, but since even the smallest enemies have hundreds of health points, a lot of level ups would be required before the player would see any real benefit. 

The platforming aspect of the game fares little better. The player is given no indication of where they have to go or what they have to do, just the general imperative of finding the king. The Frontier D’Imbolt, the first real level in the game, has plains spread out in all directions, encouraging exploration. However, the map is also full of instant death; lava, spiky plants, ledges to be avoided, and, of course, aggressive enemies, making exploration much less inviting. The floaty controls cause problems here, too, with over-shooting a target platform a constant issue. This annoyance could be resolved somewhat with giving the character a shadow to see where they will land. The viewpoint will also randomly change from 3D to 2D, with no real change in gameplay. The change seems to be purely for aesthetics, which does not seem reason enough for including annoying running-towards-the-camera gameplay.

Aesthetics, in general, is a strong point for Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King, with interesting character design and a muted colour palette. The enemies have a cool ghostly appearance, all transparent with hard planes. The blockiness of the world has an appealing look but sometimes presents gameplay issues, with a lack of clarity on which blocks can be stood upon and which cannot. Music is a highlight throughout the experience, soft and atmospheric throughout the levels but clashing into something harsh and unfamiliar for the boss fights.

As an Early Access title, bugs are to be expected at this stage of development, and Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King has plenty to offer. Despite being set to English, Yaak would occasionally slip into French, along with tooltips and the occasional item description. The English translation in general needs some more work, with quite a few typos and some weird wording, like ‘Strenght’ in the character status screen and ‘Slained’ when defeating the boss Hob. Enemies have buggy AI, sometimes freezing in place if the player wanders slightly too far away. Some instant death obstacles seem misplaced, with death spikes jutting out of a random wall. Most devastating was the game failing to acknowledge that the boss was defeated, with the gate he was guarding refusing to open. Perhaps defeating him again would make the gate work, but few players would be inclined to do so after a tough battle. 

Shattered: Tale of the Forgotten King has the potential to become an interesting game but is simply not fun to play in its current state. The incompatibility of Journey and Dark Souls is the core of the game’s problem: it needs to lean more heavily on one concept or the other—make the levels more peaceful playgrounds for exploration, or tighten up the combat experience to reach that satisfying balance of hard but fair. Trying to have both leaves the game in this strange middle ground where no one is satisfied.

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