Very young in the video game industry, from the top of its 10 years of existence, Moon Studios succeeded in the feat of getting everyone to agree with a single game. It was in 2015 with Ori and the Blind Forest exclusively on Xbox One. The incredible and magical journey of a little spirit in the heart of a forest, once enchanted and now in the grip of an evil that prevented it from shining with its splendor. A sumptuous platform game, in the genre of "Metroidvania" which leaves us on our own, often punitive in mistakes and quite complex which had got the better of good numbers of players.
During E3 2017, Moon Studio announces its return with a sequel to Ori's adventures. This time, we are not going to save an enchanted forest, but Kun, our friend the owl who finds herself in difficulty. Here again, we are leaving on a long and magnificent journey full of pitfalls. Is the formula still as effective? Will the magic strike a second time?
Ori and the will of the fires
When video games become an art
You might as well continue to be in the thick of the subject to speak directly of the first crush. Art direction. It’s pretty incredible beauty with scenes, highlights, highlights where we put the controller and we admire the screen by reflex. Halfway between a video game and an animated film, we are amazed by the work of the developers of Moon Studios. Better yet, this show does not stop at cutscenes and the game is graphically sublime even during the gameplay phases. Ori and the Will of the Wisps will take you on a trip to a dozen different zones with their different styles. From the clearing, to the marshes, passing through the village of small creatures in the trees, the panoramas are numerous and varied.
The other great thing about this sequel is the soundtrack again. It is again Gareth Coker who takes care of this and the latter manages to seduce us just as much as he had seduced us with the first album in 2015. From calm music during your journey, to dynamic music of moments of actions, to the small melancholy melody during certain cutscenes, there is nothing to throw away. It is listened to with great pleasure and brings a real plus to the game.
Little onion gameplay
It was a great strength of the first game, it is necessarily in this suite with gameplay that is even improved. Because after all, Ori is a game that requires precision. So it is of course possible to control your clever mind very precisely, since certain passages will not be accessible by simple jumps. It will therefore be necessary to have patience to perfectly control your little hero and familiarize yourself with the many skills of the latter. Ori and the Will of the Wisps will train you to handle the LB, LT, RB, and RT triggers since it is with these triggers that you will achieve the most delicate combos. We feel that there has been a lot of work done on it with much better handling than in the first opus.
To face enemies and obstacles on your way, Ori has many weapons and skills. A spiritual sword, a bow, the possibility of throwing fireballs, making triple jumps… Some skills were already present in The Blind Forest, but many new possibilities accompany this sequel. You can arm yourself with three skills with the X, B and Y buttons and change them at any time during your journey.
But that's not all, Ori also benefits from powers (namely spiritual shards) which are to be picked up throughout your adventure or purchased. These powers will improve your skills. The possibility for example of shooting three arrows with the bow, of gaining points of life, etc… As much to say it to you, if some are not really useful (to the point of never serving in the adventure) some are very much more. In total, you will be able to unlock around thirty powers. Over the course of your adventure, it will be possible to accumulate eight powers at the same time.
The gameplay and in particular the combat phases are much more dynamic. Now your enemies have weak spots. Each type of enemy will have its weak point and be more sensitive to a type of weapon or skill. They are more nervous and aggressive which adds a lot of challenge. Little more for boss fights which are formidable and quite impressive.
The small innovation is the arrival of challenges. You’ll have to run circuits in a limited time to get from point A to point B to unlock some rewards. You also have shrines that offer waves of enemies to beat to earn many spiritual points. These will allow you to buy a lot of skills, collectible cards etc. The acquisition of experience points is therefore different from the first installment and it is a big plus. Because, experience and skills will be needed during your adventure. Suffice to say that the last sanctuaries offer waves of tough enemies.
The checkpoint system has also been revised and it is much less punitive than in the first installment. In the event of death, you will resume your game not far from your position. This avoids repeating long and perilous routes. With this choice alone, the challenge of Ori and the Will of the Wisps is much less robust than that of The Blind Forest. In case of an error, if you get lost, or if you are stuck in a too complicated passage, it is possible to teleport at any time in the game to a save point.
All of the main quests are pretty good, even if we feel that the narration is not always as good as in the first opus. But overall, we are facing really beautiful and touching moments. Only small black dot, the side quests which are not memorable and which require most of the time to chain back and forth to the four corners of the map to get objects. We could have done without it.
Ori and the wisp bugs
While overall we can have a lot of positives about Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the game is not without its faults. And the only ones we can cite are the many bugs. We carried out the test of the game via a dematerialized version sent by Xbox France shortly before the release of the game. Until the Day One patch (of 5GB), certain sequences of the game were unplayable with catastrophic framerate drops (which is quite tricky for a game that sometimes requires a lot of speed and dexterity). Once the patch is downloaded, the bugs are fewer, but still present. Two- to three-second freeze microphones, other framerate drops, characters hovering in the air, Ori passing through the walls, or a big bug where Ori’s skills will mix. When you press X, it is skill Y which is launched, when you press B, it is skill X etc … At that time, after several tries, the only solution was to restart the game. We also had the right to the black screen bug where again, restarting the game was the only solution. It is very unfortunate to see so many bugs in a game that requires so much precision, at times it really spoils the fun.
My opinion on Ori and the Will of the Wisps
It is without a doubt the most beautiful Metroidvania of the moment. Poetic at times, touching others, impressive on many occasions, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is without doubt one of the most beautiful nuggets of Xbox One in recent years and it will seduce more than one. In particular thanks to its low price (€ 29.99), but also to its day-one presence in the Game Pass. Whether you are a Metroidvania game lover, or a player who has never tried such games, we recommend it. Because the adventure is beautiful and deserves to be lived. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the concentrate of the good points of the first opus, all improved and sprinkled with new features that work very well.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps
- An artistic direction to die for
- A magnificent soundtrack
- A touching dreamlike game
- A very dynamic rhythm in the fights, posed as a whole
- Different choices of difficulties
We like less
- Big bugs throughout the game (even after the Day One patch)
- Although it is a "Metroidvania" genre, an option to activate (or not) aid for the objectives would not be refused to open the game to a wider audience
- Side quests not really necessary or exciting