Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the sequel to 2015’s outstanding Ori and the Blind Forest. First announced at E3 2017, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is an all-new adventure where you assume the role of Ori, a small white guardian spirit. Your adventure takes you through exotic lands, past gigantic bosses and challenging puzzles.
Quite simply put, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is one of if not the best Xbox exclusive in recent memory. Let’s take a look and find out why!
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Details
Platform(s): Xbox One
Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher(s): Xbox Game Studios
Genre: Platform-adventure, Metroidvania
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
A wonderful, heart wrenching story
Ori and the Will of the Wisps tells a beautiful, yet heart wrenching story of two friends who are separated by a treacherous storm and the fight to survive. The game is narrated by the Spirit Tree of the Niwen Forest and takes place after Ori and the Blind Forest. Our story begins as we witness the birth of Ku, a timid yet lovable owl, who is born with a damaged wing.
As time passes, both Ori and Ku become best friends and Ori helps to get Ku a prosthetic wing. Encouraging Ku not to give up and to keep trying to fly, the two friends go off on a flight. However, things quickly turn dim as the two are separated on a distant island by a freak storm. Determined to find his best friend, Ori sets out to find Ku and save the island before it’s too late.
I can easily say, the Ori and the Will of the Wisps‘ story is one of the best this year so far. I loved the way in which the game’s story unfolds and gets you invested in it quickly. Honestly, it was just a few minutes before I felt a connection with both Ori and Ku. The story is filled with twists and turns, and even some parts that brought a tear to my eye. Without a doubt, Moon Studios did an excellent job of pulling me in from the very beginning and keeping me interested all the way through.
All the gameplay that made Ori and the Blind Forest a treat to play is here and more. Intricate platforming, challenging puzzles, and exploration return, all with precisely the exact balance of difficulty and fun. There is a huge map to explore, with inaccessible areas that require the right ability to advance.
In addition, there are some notable changes made to gameplay, one being the levelling system—it’s been completely removed. Now, to level up, you use the spirit energy you gather from defeating enemies to upgrade your abilities. Can you further refine your abilities by using crystal shards, a total of eight can be equipped at any given time.
Moreover, shards can be swapped out at any time allowing you to adapt your abilities to any given situation. Early on in the game, you discover just how important these upgraded abilities are as you will need them to advance in the game.
Combat in Will of the Wisps has been further refined and offers a ton of variety and tools. Ori begins with a pretty wicked looking and damage inflicting sword, which allows for quick attacks. As you progress you acquire new weapons such as a giant spear, a bow, a heavy hammer and more. And, some of these weapons will use your spirit energy every time you use them.
A richly detailed world
One glance at any of Ori and the Will of the Wisp’s trailers or screenshots and you’ll instantly see just how beautiful the game looks and is animated. These visuals are significantly better than the first game and the amount of detail included in each of the game’s areas is stunning. I’d equate it to watching a hand-painted canvas set in motion. Moreover, the personality and charm of both Ori and Ku is what helps to set this game apart from others in the genre.
Each area of the game not only has its distinct look but also sound. Further drawing you into the game is the orchestral soundtrack that heightens the mood, infusing each and every moment with even more emotion. You really do get the feeling that Ori’s world is a living and breathing world teaming with life.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps improves upon its predecessor in every way
It’s true, Ori and the Will of the Wisps improves upon its predecessor in every way and that’s saying a lot! Not only does Will of the Wisps offer enhanced gameplay, and a wonderful, yet heart wrenching story—it’s visuals are jaw droppingly gorgeous. Additionally, the game now offers an autosave feature that allows gameplay to flow more naturally and encourages exploration on a greater scale.
I really can’t say enough good things about this game. Moon Studios has done an outstanding job and should be commended. Overall, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a more accessible and friendly experience that can be enjoyed by all types of gamers—and I like that.
+ A captivating, heart wrenching story
+ Exquisite graphics and moving orchestral soundtrack
+ Enhanced gameplay with welcomed changes
+ Abundance of hidden areas and items
+ Charming characters throughout your travels
– Lack of challenge for some might be a turn off
– Occasional performance issues
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5