Simple stories hit hard and that’s why Ori’s tale is as beautiful as its stellar art design.
Gorgeous artwork and stellar level design are just two of the many reasons to play Ori and the Will of the Wisps, and this one is the sequel to the beautiful and probably one of the best games of all time – Ori and the Blind Forest. We recommend picking that up too if you’re new to this series.
We can’t stress enough on how much we like it, but what makes the game so good and special?
Listen to the forest
The story picks up from where the previous game left off. Here, Ori and his friends try to help the cute owlet to fly, but things don’t go as planned and Ori along with the little owlet end up reaching on the other side of the vast waters and into a foreign land. It’s also where the spirits have long gone and the land has succumbed to decay and corruption, and Ori’s arrival is quite the prophesied one to get the wheel moving.
It’s not hard to describe most characters in the game by their physical appearance alone, but what drives the story forward is the communal relations of these characters. They’re more human.
Animals living across the forest of Niwen (the ones not attacking you) are under the fear of corruption which took over their once beautiful land. Most characters in the game share a similar docile nature, but each one leaves an impression with unique characteristics. Kwolok, the massive toad that protects Inkwater Marsh, is a humble giant but also comes across as a bookkeeper of the land – residing knowledge and having answers.
It’s also in these moments of interaction you’ll realise how much personality is given to some characters by actions and dialogues alone – even the little lemur-looking Mokis scattered across the massive map. Although they might not have more than three to four lines, it tells you more about the individual animal, and its species as a whole, very quickly.
You’re free to move however you want across the map, but certain passages are blocked and open up as you unlock more abilities. This metroidvania action adventure is filled with interesting places to explore and abilities to unlock.
Throughout its campaign, the game sends you to different places across Niwen. Each with its unique ecosystem and platforming puzzles. It’s not as challenging as Celeste, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps more than makes up for it with its beautiful story-telling, meaningful progress and creative combat.
The combat is fun because of Ori’s fluid and scurrying movement. It becomes better as you unlock new abilities and passive upgrades to make use of, and it’s in these moments the game starts feeling a bit more creative with its combat and platforming.
The enemies themselves ain’t much of a problem but can cause trouble when you have to deal with them during platforming challenges with limited abilities. It's only through newer upgrades you can scuttle and slice your way through them.
The forest lives
The level design and art is just fantastic. It’s a visual nirvana for anyone playing. Even the boss-based platforming is so creatively executed that it's hard not to get distracted while racing the clock.
There are moments where the game is able to reflect the mood from the tone and colour palette of the level theme, preparing you for what’s to come next. That in itself is quite an achievement. Although you may be thinking what’s the best way to get up to that platform above the low hanging roots, the game will sell you the ambience with lighting, sound and, best of all, the artwork.
Hook it up to a 4K telly at the earliest. The game can be played and enjoyed on 60Hz. There’s no rush to cram more frames if you’re thinking about forgoing fluid action for lower frames compared to your 120 or 144Hz PC monitor. The game is just as enjoyable and, honestly, quite worth the 4K spectacle.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
You get zippier as you unlock more upgrades, a healthy amount of which are combat centric but can be used for easing your way through platforming as well.
The game even treats you when you’re not paying attention to enemies, platforming or bosses. Its art and level design are as good as the previous title and this time the bigger map adds a special layer of separation between each zone.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a must-have for Xbox gamers. Even if the map is larger than the previous title, the game can be finished as quickly as Ori’s fine movements.
Its heart-warming story is beautiful and married to a fluid and engaging platforming action adventure game. It needs to be played.