With PAX West in full swing this weekend, we couldn’t be happier. Not just with the fantastic cosplay, but some of the games that are being released, or re-released.
If you’ve ever played the Spyro Reignited Trilogy, then you will know it feels like revisiting an old friend who takes really good care of themselves. But there’s a new coat of glitter that has been brought to the games in remaking them from the ground up. Which means, Spyro doesn’t look as good as you might remember, it actually looks better. You will be continually impressed by the level of detail and life Toys for Bob has brought to these games. The studio has done a tremendous job of filling in the gaps left by the technology of the original games’ times, building on clever level design and characterization first developed by Insomniac Games.
The game was first revealed earlier this year, and remake revealed the lengths to which the characters and the game itself have been given richer backstories and personalities. The same can be said of what we’ve seen in gameplay from levels like Colossus and in the animations of characters like those in Idol Springs. Their behavior is so much more richly detailed, animated to give them more expressive behavior and new life. They do it in a way that doesn’t betray personal memories of playing these games so many years ago.
What that often means is every level is so vividly colored and so adorably animated, that the hula dancers of Idol Springs or the baby dragons saved in Sunny Villa are at once both familiar and a delightful surprise of rediscovery. And while Activision has abandoned its stalwart skateboarding franchise in Tony Hawk, there’s a certain level of silly nostalgic glee as I controlled Spyro in my efforts to shred on some half-pipes in Year of the Dragon’s skateboarding section.
PAX West also brought us more Spelunky. Spelunky 2 isn’t exactly the same, as there are a ton of new enemies to fight, obstacles to avoid and treasures to collect. The new characters are charming successors to the originals, with the main character – Ana – being the daughter of the first games’ protagonist. The weirdest character, by far, is likely Roffy D. Sloth. Why is he the weirdest? He is a sloth who looks kind of like The Fonz. All that said, the game itself is hard to demonstrate on a convention floor because it’s unforgiving. That doesn’t mean that it won’t leave you wanting more.
Much like Spyro, Spelunky 2 will leave you wanting more. In this instance, it will also leave you feeling confident about where this sequel is headed. The few levels that were demonstrated were just unfamiliar enough to keep players on their toes and throw you off. It will be hard to surpass the original game because it’s the best in its class, but I think Mossmouth and BlitWorks stand a good chance of delivering.
Everything that we’ve seen so far looks really incredible, and that has me even more curious to see what secrets lie ahead for us when the game is officially released.