The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning PS2
With the multitude of First Person Shooters and games where you take aim at people in numerous different ways, we here at DarkZero Towers (check Google Earth… it’s real!!) are not ashamed of opening our hearts to a cutesy platformer every now a then. The genre has being a bit barren recently with little to no interesting releases coming our way… that was of course until Spyro tired to reinvent himself. It may seem weird comparing little ole Spyro to James Bond and Batman but The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning is following the same line as Casino Royale and Batman Begins; it is not just another game in the long running franchise but a reboot for series. Did it work?
Well to answer the above question, A New Beginning is probably the best Spyro game in recent years but still only weighs in at being an above average attempt. Just like most platformers it starts of with a rather long winded tutorial explaining this that and the other… even if you are a fan of the series there is also some new info in here but overall the tutorial serves as a very boring start to the game. After 30 minutes of learning you are moved into an area called Dragon Dojo where you learn more things… albeit this schooling is more are more advanced. This takes about another 15 minutes so now 45 minutes after starting you adventure you finally get to make some decisions for yourself.
From there the story begins to unfold… and now I will try and sum it up in one sentence; you – as Spyro – think you are a dragonfly because you live with them, but one day a friend gets captured and you start to breath fire and figure out that you are a dragon. You then realize your “parents” are not your parents and thus an adventure begins! Simple really!! From there on A New Beginning plays just like a typical 3D platformer, ripping off some ideas and trying to add one or two of their own. Interestingly the game is very action based, in fact I think the game has more enemies to fight than jumps, and very little puzzles to tickle you brain. Speaking of enemies when you enter an area you must fight all the bad guys in a area, using those trademark breath attacks until a door opens to let you advance. It’s all very rudimentary – even for a game aimed at kids. As you would expect fighting the bad guys give you Gems to power up special attacks to replenish Spyro’s health.
Graphically the game is just as you’d expect; full with nice bright textures and vibrant colours. There is a nice selection of levels on show – each one different from the last with differing themes. As you can see by some of the screenshots, trademark platformer type levels have an almost cartoon-like feel to them which is a slight change for the series. The game also has a selection of nice looking but very long FMVs which help propel the story along. Bit I do wonder if some of the younger audience be able to sit through some of the longer videos as I almost gave up watching them!
As I said above the game is very combat-based and thankfully the framerate holds steady even when the action heats up – even with many particle effect being though around. Voice acting is also top-notch with the likes Elijah Wood, Garry Oldman and David Spadeof lending their voice to the game. However the script is hardly anything to write home about and the whole experience will most likely be forgotten a few hours after the end credits roll; incidentally this takes just around 7 hours, even if you are new to the series.
As most reboots to any franchise attempt to do Spyro: A New Beginning tried its best to reinvent an aging series, but even the most hardened fan would have to admit that the latest Spyro is no where near as good as it could have been. Even though the guys at Krome Studios tired their best the game is no where near matching what Insomniac Games begun way back in 1998. So now with three sub par Spyro games released from three different developers over the last few years it could well be time for the purple dragon to call it a day on consoles. It seems nobody but Insomniac could help Spyro get back onto the perch he was once on, but with Resistance: Fall of Man and a new Ratchet & Clank on the way to PS3 they are far too busy to even think about that.
Even if you are only buying this for the kids there are far better options out there to entertain them.