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It’s finally here, the sequel to the hit indie game Ori and the Blind Forest… Ori and the Will of the Wisps! If you’ve never played Ori and the Blind Forest, you may look at trailers for the sequel and assume it’s a simple and easy romp through a colorful and magical world.
However, the game is a lot more challenging than people realize. It’s more of a Metroidvania style game than a traditional platformer. This acts in the game’s benefit as it gives Ori and the Will of the Wisps plenty of depth and “meat” for gamers to digest.
It also makes the combat feel more purposeful and rewarding. Combat has been expanded, thanks to the addition of new weapons. Now, you have several ways in which you can approach fights and the dangers of the forest.
For example, you can snipe from afar with a bow, or get up close and personal with your Spirit Sword. You can also toggle between weapons with ease as you’re given three weapon slots to fill however you like. The choice and freedom to swap on the fly are amazing. Giving you the ability to carefully plan the best way to approach battles prepared like the boss encounters, where you will need it.
Speaking of which, there are far more boss fights in Ori and the Will of the Wisps than its predecessor. All of these bosses feel formidable without being impossible to defeat. One of our favorite boss battles is one where Ori faces off against a giant spider. Your heart hammers in your chest as you guide Ori through a mixture of dodging, weaving, climbing, jumping, and quick strikes. As a whole, it’s a long multilayered fight that never feels stagnant as you aren’t kept in the same area.
The terrain around you is equally important when it comes to defeating this creepy-crawly foe. In the end, when the spider goes down, you feel exhilarated. Maybe a little sweaty as well. No? Just us then?
If that level of difficulty in Ori and the Will of the Wisps concerns you, you’ll be happy to hear the game offers three of the usual difficulty settings for you to choose from including Easy, Normal, and Hard. On Easy, Ori and the Will of the Wisps becomes a lot more approachable for newcomers.
In regards to the story itself, it’s always better to play the first game as it adds context to the characters and setting in the sequel. That said, if you want to bypass Ori and the Blind Forest entirely and jump straight into Ori and the Will of the Wisps, you can totally do that with as this new entry acts as an independent arc.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a brand new adventure where Ori interacts with different characters and solves different problems than the ones present in Ori and the Blind Forest. While different, it’s an equally emotional journey, one that’s sure to leave you misty-eyed at the end of the game.
Overall, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a gorgeous game. The visuals are the same, though they’ve been updated to incorporate improved lighting, movement, depth, and dimension. The game’s soundtrack is easily one of the best to have released this year, adding emotional nuance to all of the beautiful scenery.
Yes, the combat and gameplay can be challenging, but never to the point where you feel frustrated or annoyed. It’s longer and larger in scale than Ori and the Blind Forest, but even with all of the additional content, it never drags or feels overwhelming. The pacing remains steady throughout.
We’re serious when we say that Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a videogame masterpiece. In fact, it may be the first game to have released this year worthy of a perfect review score. For that reason and so many more, you should be excited about Ori and the Will of the Wisps.
If you’re stuck at home looking for something to play, you should absolutely dedicate some time to this gem. Even better, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is currently free for Xbox Game Pass users so you don’t need to buy anything to enjoy it. If you aren’t a Game Pass subscriber, you can pick up a copy of the game for Xbox One or Windows PC (including Steam) for $29.99. What are you waiting for, go have fun!