Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review

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I remember pre-ordering Spyro a long time ago. I’ve played most of the games in the series and they were a lot of fun so why not right? After this trilogy I’m only missing one other trilogy and then I’ll be caught up with the franchise. The only real catch is that Spyro games are typically best when played one at a time. When you play all of them back to back like this then the issues start to show a little more. Still, this is a trilogy that has a lot of content for you to explore and it looks/plays pretty well. Certainly a must have for any big platformer fan.

The first game has all of the dragons get turned into stone. It makes for an intense start since if everyone else was taken down how does Spyro have a chance? Also you have to keep in mind the fact that Spyro’s basically just a kid and the villain beat everyone with ease. Still, Spyro never backs down from a fight and prepared to win right away. It’s part of what makes him such a quality character. Enjoy the intro though as this game’s plot takes a back seat for most of the game.

Spyro 1 has aged pretty well. Unlike Spyro 2 and 3 you won’t really need to back track in order to beat the game as long as you did a good job grabbing a lot of dragons and Gems. It didn’t feel like much of a grind at least. The 3D gameplay is quite solid and the level designs are on point. As this is the first game it got to experiment quite a bit and the sequels would tweak it all. The gameplay is pretty similar across all 3 games so I’ll mainly be tackling it here. You can glide for short distances and also shoot fire at enemies. Finally you have a ramming attack which can take down any enemy who has armor. Learn these combos well and you’ll be ready for the big time.

Spyro 2 ramps up the plot as our hero finds himself in a new world when his portal generator didn’t work as expected. Here we have Ripto who has decided to conquer this planet since no dragons are around to save it. Well, Spyro won’t be having any of that and he quickly gets ready for action. Compared to the first game the dragons get a lot more respect here. Spyro alone is able to turn the tides of a planet wide invasion. How’s that for power? We also get introduced to a slew of supporting characters who will stay important for the rest of the franchise like the Cheetah and a new heroine.

Spyro 2 is very similar to the first game in just about every thing from the level designs to the gameplay. It’s a fundamentally sound game, but the forced repetition starts to show up a bit here. If you want to beat the game you’ll probably have to go back to old levels to get a few more orbs. I like collecting things and earning trophies, but I always think that this should be a voluntary thing. When you start forcing players to go back and get various collectibles just to see the ending then the game starts to go a little too far. Still, there’s a good amount of content here and the controls are a little more streamlined.

Then we have the third game. Spyro is back once more, but now a mysterious villain named Bianca has appeared along with her master. They rule the original Dragon World and Spyro has to stop them to show that justice always prevails. This game has a full story that has even more cutscenes than the first two. It easily has the most enjoyable plot and the gameplay is at its tightest. Unfortunately it has the most forced grinding in the game. You’re going to have to grab a whole lot of collectibles if you want to see the ending here. Not necessarily the kind of thing you want to hear in a platformer to be honest. You won’t be able to enjoy the levels as much as you would like since you have to be focused on grabbing all the gems and eggs.

Throughout all 3 games the graphics are on point. Everything looks very sharp and modern. The developers did a great job modernizing the game without altering what makes it a classic. The soundtrack is less memorable, but it has some reasonable tunes thrown in. You’ll probably just forget almost all of them by the time you get through the game. On a technical level the game is good, but not amazing. As this is a collection is goes without saying that there is a lot of replay value though. The price is quite solid and it took me close to 13 hours to complete the game. If you go for all of the Platinum Trophies across the trilogy I expect you’ll be playing this game for close to 30 hours. The collecting will also be a lot more fun once you are doing it intentionally.

Again, the trilogy does suffer from a lot of repetition. All 3 games are basically the same game in many respects. Unless you’re a really big fan of the game this could easily impact the score for you. However, if you take a break between games that should help considerably. I doubt I would even notice the repetition much if I had played them individually when they first came out. It’s not enough to lower the score or anything, but I still hold my position that being able to just blast through to the ending would have been pretty nice.

Overall, The Spyro Trilogy is pretty fun. The game ultimately holds itself back from being great due to not being ambitious enough, but ultimately does what it sets out to do. The level designs are on point and you’ll be introduced to all of the big characters. I don’t think you’ll be able to find anything wrong with the level designs and the controls are quite easy to master. At the end of the day you may leave this trilogy feeling a little empty, but satisfied nonetheless. I still look forward to getting the final trilogy for Spyro one day, but it’ll probably be a little while. It was close between this game and the Crash trilogy, but I have to say that Crash ultimately did win the day. What it lacked in plot it made up for in gameplay.

Overall 7/10

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Secret of Mana Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Play Time 20h 3m
PS4 Trophies 30/38
669737 GP
Characters Met 41/46
Enemies Met 90/121
Weapons Unlocked 52/72

Character Stats

Terry Level 60
Masamune Level 6
Dragon Lance Level 2
Chakra Hand Level 0
Elf’s Harpoon Level 0
Frizbar Level 0
Wing Bow Level 1
Hammer Whip Level 0
Were-Buster Level 0

Terry Jr Level 60
Masamune Level 9
Dragon Lance Level 6
Chakra Hand Level 0
Elf’s Harpoon Level 0
Frizbar Level 0
Wing Bow Level 3
Hammer Whip Level 0
Were-Buster Level 0
Gnome Level 7
Salamando Level Max
Undine Level 0
Sylphid Level 2
Dryad Level Max
Luna Level 0
Shade Level 0

Terret Level 61
Masamune Level 0
Dragon Lance Level 0
Chakra Hand Level 2
Elf’s Harpoon Level 0
Frizbar Level 0
Wing Bow Level 1
Hammer Whip Level 4
Were-Buster Level 6
Gnome Level 8
Salamando Level 8
Undine Level 8
Sylphid Level 8
Dryad Level 8
Luna Level 8
Shade Level 8

Secret of Mana Review

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The Secret of Mana is an RPG that I had heard of in passing but never focused on too much. It just got lost in the shuffle next to Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Well thanks to the HD PS4 remake I have finally gotten to play it. It’s definitely a great RPG as you would expect and the real time/turn based mix will remind you of the .hack series.

I renamed the main characters so bear with me here. Terry is the chosen hero who is finally able to wield the Mana Sword. Everyone is shocked and dismayed because once the sword is lifted the world is supposed to fall into ruin. Terry meets a girl named Terret who needs help in stopping a witch to rescue the hero named Dyluck. Unfortunately this is a dead end but she must continue on her quest and since Terry has nothing more pressing to do at the moment he agrees to join her. Finally, they run into a sprite known as Terry Jr. who was scamming people for money. We show her the error of her ways and add one more member to the party. Now we must attack the enemy fortress and save the planet!

The gameplay is a blend as I mentioned earlier. You have a number under your character. Once it rises to 100 you are free to attack again and deal some damage. While you can attack sooner than that, it will almost definitely miss and even if the attack lands it will be weaker. Furthermore, the count will go back to 0 so waiting it out is just the better option. Also, you should start leveling up your magic early on as it is incredibly useful. Level them all up if you can, but you should focus on 1 in particular to get it to a high level early on. The Gnome magic was really useful for me, but each boss is typically a different element which is why you want a lot of them.

Equipment is extremely handy in this game as well and is basically mandatory to clear the game. You want the top of the line stuff and if you think you can beat an area without purchasing some armor then wait til the next village. Each village gradually adds better equipment options so you save a lot of money by just waiting. Of course, earning money is actually pretty easy in this game so it’s not something that you have to worry about that much. It will come naturally. Likewise, the EXP grind here isn’t bad either. It will go very quickly. That’s why you just want to stay at the top of your game since the A.I. won’t help much. They tend to just get crushed very quickly throughout the game.

Terry is a reasonably solid main character. He does actually talk and everything so he has a real personality. His personality is that he’s a hero and while that may not be all that deep or anything, the character means well. We do get a random plot twist involving his Mom which was kind of out of left field, but Terry took it in stride. Terret is a solid heroine. Her whole adventure is about saving the legendary Dyluck which is a nice twist of events. You rarely see the heroine have to go and save the famous hero and I can definitely get behind this. Shockingly they don’t even try to get you into a contrived romance with her as Terret only has eyes for Dyluck the whole game. I can applaud the title’s restraint here. Terry Jr probably has the least time to get really good, but she’s not a bad character. I still don’t get why she is referred to in the plural sense, but I don’t want to assume that it’s a translation error. Either way, she helped to raise everyone’s spirits.

As far as the villains are concerned, I would have liked them to have had more screen time. The villain group shows up out of nowhere and half of them are defeated quite quickly and without a chance to really show off their personalities. The King who makes a deal with the main villain wasn’t very smart, but made for a decent antagonist. Thanatos is the main villain to watch out for and he is definitely pretty strong. I like the design and he made for a cool antagonist. Then we have the Team Rocket trio who felt really out of place. They weren’t quite as hype as the others.

One major plot point is that you have to choose a side. Destroy the Mana Beast or destroy the Fortress. I felt like the game couldn’t really decide which the right option was as the Fortress is evil from the start, but by the end of the game we decide to destroy the Beast instead to balance things. This was part of the main plot and it made no sense. Now, I know a lot of behind the scenes stuff happened with this game and that is probably what made the plot feel rather off at times. It’s unfortunate but that’s also part of why I consider this RPG’s plot to be one of the weakest RPG plots in a while. It takes a little bit to get going and then once it does it’s like we’re playing an abridged game. Not to the same extent as Sonic Forces fortunately, but enough that parts of the plot feel weird like with the Beast. Personally I would have helped the guy, but apparently he was going to destroy the planet in the process so I suppose that wasn’t a viable option. Then we have a guy named Genma who talks tough throughout the game, but never actually got to do anything. Ah well, at least he looks rally tough.

The graphics were switched from sprites to 3D character models which usually works pretty well, but perhaps not in this case. The boss designs looked a little more intimidating in the original version and the colors were nice and sharp. As far as the cutscenes go, the characters don’t actually move their mouths while talking half of the time. Not a big deal I suppose, but basically it had the art style of World of Final Fantasy without the detail. I guess if this allowed the game to come out a few years early then it was probably worth it. As far as the soundtrack goes we have quite a few tunes. Each area has a different theme and they all work pretty well. They are classic rpg style themes so they should remind you of the good ole days.

The length of the main campaign is roughly 20 hours give or take so it’s definitely a solid amount of time for the rpg. You will almost certainly need to grind by the end so I’ll give you a pro tip here. Max out your Dryad skill since you cannot defeat is he final boss without it. I made it to the final boss without leveling it up at all which meant I had to go back and grind it out. If you level it naturally then it won’t actually feel like a grind. You’ll probably end up shaving an hour or two off as well. For replay value you can probably nab most of the trophies to end up with the Platinum. Out of the 38 in the game, I think around 26 are obtained just for completing the game. That’s a pretty solid number if you ask me. If you want to get the Platinum then you need to make a backup save before you beat the Blue Dragon as there are some rare item drops that you can’t go back for. It’s probably a good idea to defeat every new enemy you see as well to register them. Getting the Platinum here isn’t hard at all but it does take a little time and nobody wants to replay a 20 hour game just to get one missed trophy.

Overall, Secret of Mana was a pretty fun game. As far as RPG stories go the plot was rather weak, but the gameplay was still enjoyable. I just love RPGs in general as leveling up and grinding can be a blast. I can see why they got so big back in the day. Many RPGs will end up being quite solid by the end since you get used to the characters as you shared so much time together. This one is no exception and there is certainly a lot to do. Even without replay value, the story length justifies the price that you paid for it. Maybe I’ll get to play some more Mana games in the future. Until then, I recommend checking out this game and seeing what the Secret of Mana has to offer you. It’ll test your mettle one way or the other.

Overall 8/10