Game review: Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One)
FYI, this story is more than a year old
Moon Studios hit the big time when the development team released the excellent Ori and the Blind Forest game back in 2015. After a very long development cycle, Moon Studios has finally released its direct sequel in 2020 called Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Ori and the Blind Forest was innovative because the Xbox brand didn’t have its own platform style game at the time of its release. The 2D game proved to be a hit and I’m glad Moon Studios waited patiently before releasing Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
Ori and the Blind Forest was one of the best looking games I played back in 2015, although I only got a chance to play it back on my original Xbox One console. Graphically, Ori and the Will of the Wisps gets a huge visual improvement because I now managed to play the game on my Xbox One X console with a 4KTV.
The one thing I love most about Ori and the Will of the Wisps is its 2D style graphics. The game reminds me of the classic Disney animated movies before they all used 3D animation. The look of the game brings me back to my childhood and it’s always nice just to pause the game and marvel at the graphics.
Another feature that makes this game feel like a Hollywood movie is its gorgeous-sounding soundtrack. I have to admit that the game’s soundtrack is memorable and I’m sure a lot of other people will agree with me on this statement.
As for the game’s story, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will expose you to a load of different emotions both happy and sad while you’re playing it. I won’t spoil anything here, but at the start of the game Ori gets separated from his owl friend named Ku. Ori then ventures off on an adventure in order to find his friend.
There are only a few video games out there that made me cry and Ori and the Will of the Wisps joins that small list. The story is just as beautiful as the graphics and it’s guaranteed to touch the heart of any gamer that plays this game.
In terms of gameplay, Ori and the Will of the Wisps features fast and excellent combat. This is all thanks to a very helpful spirit sword that Ori unlocks at the very beginning of the game. As you progress even further, even more abilities and weapons are unlocked giving you more options in battle.
That being said, you can only attach three abilities at a time so you have to pick and choose the right one depending on your current situation. This becomes important mainly because some enemies are harder than others so you will need to pick your abilities carefully every time you play.
The game is also quite challenging from both a combat and exploration standpoint. What I admire about most the game is its very clever level design. The game is inspired by older games such as Metroid and Castlevania so you will need to explore every nook and cranny of a level in order to progress further.
For example, you may not have an ability yet to climb a steep hill. You will then need to find a new ability and then come back to that same steep hill now that you have the ability to climb it. There are also lots of interesting and smart puzzles that you need to solve during Ori’s long journey.
A major addition to this game is also the epic and hard boss fights that you have to face. Some bosses are very challenging because they can have the ability to wipe you out with just one hit in some instances.
There are also many awesome set pieces during boss fights because in some battles you will need to run away from them. These chase sequences are always fun to play as they will make your heart race every time the boss gets so close to Ori!
While there are not many flaws in Ori and the Will of the Wisps, there was one thing that still agitated me and that’s the backtracking. There’s a lot of backtracking that you need to do which can be frustrating if you just want to proceed to the next area.
There are also some moments in the game where it’s hard to know what you need to do next. It would have been more helpful if the game gave you some more guidance or clues sometimes to aid you in its navigation system.
Despite these minor flaws, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is still one of the best Microsoft exclusives out there. If you are a PC or Xbox One owner, you do not want to miss out on this rare masterpiece.