Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review

Ori and the Blind Forest was a stepping stone for me, it opened me up to a world that I had forgotten about.

Ori and the Blind Forest was a stepping stone for me, it opened me up to a world that I had forgotten about. Whilst metroidvania is a term highly debated, they were games that I loved as a child. I somehow over my gaming career, got lost in the never ending dribble of Triple-A and shooter games. I’m not putting these games down, but I somehow forgot what I played games for, an adventure. Ori provided a break and a realisation for me, It was one of my early reviews and I will sing its praise forever. When a sequel was announced at E3 2017, I was over the moon! And boy did Moon Studios deliver.

Developer: Moon Studios
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platforms: Steam, Xbox One
Release Date: 11 March 2020

Ori and the Will of the Wisps picks up after the first game. Your family reunited and with the addition of Ku, an owl with a broken wing (Whose back story I will avoid spoiling because the first game deserves to be played). Ku throughout the opening is shown looking to the sky, watching other creatures with the ability to fly soar. Ku tries and tries but the broken wing will not allow flight, until Ori gift a feather as a gift. Once slightly confident, Ku joined by Ori go forth to explore the sky that was out of reach. A storm, proving too difficult throws them both into a dangerous place, Niwen. With Ku now injured, Ori must face destiny.

Gameplay

One complaint of many with the first game is that the combat was lacking. I never included it in my review but it was something I noticed in my recent playthrough. The game has taken a clear route into exploring combat and it works, with a few different weapons the game feels fluid and combat is nothing but satisfying. The first attacking ability is a sword of light to fight your enemies, which works well and served me throughout the entire game. You can also get a hammer, which I used post-game and I wish I used it throughout my playthrough because it is so satisfying landing hits on fast enemies! There are a few different options when it comes to combat, so when you get the chance I recommend exploring your options and picking what is right for you!

The combat pairs itself very well with your abilities, specifically bash. For those who haven’t played the first game, bash is an ability that allows you to propel yourself off enemies, projectiles and environmental objects. It allows you to fire back projectiles from enemies, gain higher ground, combo enemies or escape if needed. I still vouch that bash is one of the most satisfying abilities of any game that I have played.

Something new the game has added is the use of spirit shards, which allow you to change Ori in a way that will suit you. Are you the type of player that prefers to have a higher defence? Then you can build Ori this way; or do you prefer to out damage opponents? after all, a great offence is a great defence…  For me, I had two different styles. One would focus on the ability to move around and explore, I would have a triple jump and climbing that allowed me to move easily. Secondly, I would have an offensive build for big fights, that focused on defence and a few additions to combat skills to help fend off bosses and bigger enemies.

There are however some problems. I did experience some frame drops and stuttering when the game was doing too much, which could be annoying. It was never enough to get me killed or put me in danger, but the game’s graphics and design are so well done, that a small frame drop is unfortunately noticed.

The world

The world in Ori is incredibly well designed, like many other games in the same genre, it uses abilities to lock out certain parts of the world. You have to keep coming back to certain areas to find all its secrets and complete the side quests. The map is split up into a few distinct areas that you have to visit to restore the forest and they do not stray too far from your traditional areas you come to expect in Metrovanias. What is specifically special about the world of Ori is the way the game uses natural hazards to force you to think about what you are doing. For example, spikes and enemies are placed in certain ways to force you to platform in ways you would not have originally thought of. The game trains you to use abilities without thinking, blending your gameplay in a fluid way, unique to the Ori franchise. There is a learning curve present, one that will not hold your hand but will allow you the satisfaction when you fluidly move through areas that once troubled you.

Bosses are again well designed as much as they are difficult! Some bosses you have to fight, some you have to escape, either scenario is satisfying. But the escape sequences are breathtaking, seriously! The way the game uses the escapes to test all your skills and seeing Ori move so fluidly is without equal! The fights usually have stages, which drastically change the way they attack and the area, being able to adapt on the fly is something the game wants you to be able to do. The final fight within the game combines everything in perfect fashion, so pay attention when playing, you may need to call on skills you’ve used in the past to defeat Shriek.

Those are not the legs of a friendly Owl….

I do want to mention the characters within the game also, there is a clear drive towards community within the game that I feel that it would be unfair not to mention it. You have the option to help build up the Wellspring Glades, which becomes your hub and the living place of all the friendly creatures. You become invested in the creatures living there and genuinely want to help them get new houses to live in or clear out hazards within the Glade. Your not just restoring the forest as you was within the first game, you are actively trying to help others survive what is happening within Niwen.

Ori has a special way of humanising villains. Well since they are creatures I suppose humanising is slightly incorrect, but it works for this point. They are not just evil because they are evil, they have been either corrupted or in terms of the main villain within the game Kwolok, have been rejected by their societies and forced to hate others. One thing that designated with me from the first game is that the main villain Kuru, was not 100% ‘evil’ at all, she was just trying to do what was best for her family. Which tugs at your heartstrings. The game does character well, without over-explaining them, they have their own needs and wants, which sometimes affects others and Ori. You truly empathise with them. Shriek is the same, an owl that was born under her dead parents, born different from the other owl and the elders shun her and leave her to die. The conclusion of her story, whilst admittedly we only see little of it, is heart melting and gut wrenching.

Music

I rarely mention the music to a game within my review because most of the time it does nothing to add to the experience. This is not the case for Ori. The music is well thought out and well placed to help give the place the emotional ques that the developers and story designers were looking for. I do not think I have played a game in which this has been done more successfully. The OST to the game is as breathtaking as the original game, which I never thought could have been accomplished.

Very reminiscent of the first game, with all the emotional power.

Overall, my final thoughts on Ori are simple, if you are on the fence about playing it… don’t be. This game is 100% worth the play through and will easily be the contender to my game of the year, the emotional connection this game conjures is truly special and one you will not want to miss. You can grab Ori on Xbox One and the Microsoft Windows marketplace. It is also available on Game Pass, so if you have it, I HIGHLY recommend you play it.

E3 Round-Up: Lloyd’s Turn

That time of year again where E3 comes to a close and we start placing those pre-orders for the next couple of months. Here’s my top picks from E3 and the games that are top of my pre-order list.

That time of year again where E3 comes to a close and we start placing those pre-orders for the next couple of months. Here’s my top picks from E3 and the games that are top of my pre-order list.

The Outer Worlds

This is the game I’m most excited for this year, Dale mentioned it in his post, but I generally can’t wait for this and is top of my list of pre-orders. Obisidian’s 2010 Fallout: New Vegas is possibly still one of my favourite game of all times. Obisidian tend to offer quirky and interesting worlds with loads of depth and it looks like this is the case with Outer Worlds.

My favourite line from the whole of E3 was “Some who can be a villian, a hero or a….. physcopath.” This just describes exactly what I expect from this game a character that you completely create and how you interact with things shape the world around you. You’re going to take on a corporation (a common theme this year), who have taken over the planet you arrive on and well pretty straight forward you’re going to free that planet. Or work with the corporation.

Just every thing the colours, the graphics, the monsters.. the weapons, I can’t wait for it.

Blair Witch

Now I’m a huge horror game fan but this game looks like it could top the rest. I just about made it through the film and I don’t know how I’m feeling about the game. Of course, you’re going to want optimum experience from this so chuck you headset on and turn off the lights.

Horror’s are typically set in narrow hallways with a lot of jump scares but this being set in a forest just gives it that edge, I remember watching gameplay on the Slender Man and it just aboustley terrified me. So I think this is one for all your adrenaline out there and is out pretty soon, August 30th.

Star Wars: The Fallen Jedi

The gameplay showed at E3 didn’t look too great and as per usual the graphics are due a downgrade from Alpha footage. But I’m still really excited for The Fallen Jedi. The combat looks exactly what you expect from a Star Wars game. The force powers are fully up to date allowing you to stop bullets and throw your lightsaber about. Respawn have said though that the combat will be very “melee focused”, but hopefully combing the force with lightsabre combat will just make the experience that bit more fun.

Although I’ve been a bit disappointed with the last two films in the franchise, I’m always looking forward to the next addition to the Star Wars story. There’s the whole thing surrounding microtransactions and loot boxes or whatever It’s getting me seriously excited about slicing up some storm troopers.

Astral Chain

Astral Chain in another I’m excited for on the Switch, combining action (which looks cool as hell) and detective investigation. It looks like there will be a lot of variety in gameplay in this game as each fight will even be different. You play as a Police Officer with the use of a legion, a cyber creature that well basically does your bidding in any situation.

The game opens with a bike chase scene which just instantly caught my attention. Dodging and weaving between the highway traffic just seems like so much fun. And being chucked in the deep end is something I love. The game provides a really colourful futuristic setting almost akin to something from Tron.

There’s a lot of other games that could have made the list but these are definitely the top 4 I’d pick but overall E3 was pretty awesome with a new Xbox coming next Christmas, which I’m going to start saving for now.

Any games that we missed, let us know.

E3 Round-up: The Dale edition!

E3 has sadly finsihed and whilst I believe it wasn’t the best we’ve seen, it did have keanu Reeves, which is always a win. There were a few surprise announcements, probably the biggest surprise is that Nintendo are working on a sequel for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I was going to write a piece for each press conference, but now that it’s over and the hype has settled I think a round up will be suitable.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

I’ve played an animal crossing game, not sure which one, but not to the point where I would consider myself a huge fan. I certainly love the idea of the game… It’s peaceful and it really allows you to loose yourself in its world. The game appears to have a big focus on the ability to farm and make your own furniture, to eventually pay off Tom Nooks extortionate vacation prices. The game looks beautiful and it scares me a little, with the amount of time I spent in Stardew Valley, I can see this being a game that will eat up a good chunk of my free time… sigh… gotta farm for that sweet money though!

But it’s not just on my list for the game itself, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been delayed until 2020, it was originally late 2019. Nintendo has stated that they don’t want to rush it and they want to ensure a good work life balance for the developers working on the game. I respect this so much, in a world full of horror stories about game devs working extortionate hours… It’s nice to see companies who are not afraid to delay games to ensure the health of their staff. I’m really not a fan of this “Crunch” Culture that the gaming industry seems to force, so it’s nice to see one of the big companies take a hit like this for its staff… Kudos Nintendo.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 looks absolutely absurd… and I love it! Being a franchise that sat on the back burner in my mind, Borderlands 2 was a game that I put some serious hours into as a kid… seriously… I’m pretty sure me and my brother played it non-stop for months. Providing me with one of my favourite protagonists, Handsome Jack and also my favourite robot ever… Claptrap.
Providing us with four new vault hunters to play, I’m sure that Borderlands 3 will be just as crazy as its past games. One thing that was interesting to me is that it looks like we are going to visit more than one vault in this game, with the developers hinting at multiple huge boss fights that I’m sure will be completely blown out of proportion and overly absurd, its exciting!
Also, there’s meant to be over a billion different guns, that a lot of ways to kill psychos… I’m happy with that!

SilkSong

Anyone that has read my blog knew that this was going to make an appearance… Silksong is the sequel to Hollow Knight created by the wonderful Team Cherry. We did not get a release date… However we did get a little bit of game play and I have to say it looks fantastic. Hollow Knight was a smooth and beautifully crafted experience that really got me back into the metroidvania genre. Hornet, the main character looks to be just as in depth as the Knight was, with new abilities and a whole new world which looks enchanting.
One thing that caught my eye was the amount of musical references within the game, for example there were enemies that wore bells and musical instruments spread all over the map. This gets me excited for what Team Cherry have created, the music within Hollow Knight was breathtaking and from the snippet we have of Silksong it looks to further that musical nature of the game.
Hopefully we get a release date soon, by the looks of it the Nintendo Switch will be a launch platform for Silksong… since the game play was provided by Nintendo.

Outer Worlds

I never played Fallout: New Vegas… I should probably get on that before Outer Worlds comes out. Obsidian, the creators of Lloyd’s favourite Fallout: New Vegas returns with a game that appears to take everything that people loved about New Vegas and implement it into a new world.
From what we have seen, Outer Worlds shows so much character and depth that I can’t help but fall in love with the fun characters and the way that it doesn’t take itself so seriously, but still have a serious world… I can get on board with that… I love a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening

You know… I’m not really into the Zelda universe, not that I don’t like it, it’s just a game that as a kid slipped past me. I’ve always wanted to dive in, but never really had an opportunity. Until Breath of The Wild, possibly one of the greatest games made, but it came at a time where I was feeling a bit of burn out with Open World games, I would get bored quickly and just give up. It didn’t help that at the time I was falling in love with Metroidvanias.
Links Awakening, firstly looks absolutely beautiful… its adorable and full of character, so that instantly attracts me. The way that fans are anticipating this game really gets me excited to experience it for the first time, I’m really looking forward to throwing myself into it.
Also, the trailer showed off a dungeon creation system, where you can create a dungeon out of the ones you have played, that looks so much fun and challenging. It appears that you can challenge yourself and earn rewards for completing your monstrous dungeons, but from what I’ve seen it appears there is no function to share the dungeons. If they don’t, they could be missing out on a huge opportunity… With the success of Mario Maker, wouldn’t it be interesting to have a Zelda game where you could create and share dungeons? Now that would be awesome.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Since Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favourite games, I’m really excited to play this game! From the trailer that we saw at Microsoft’s conference, it looks to keep its beautiful visuals and captivating music. Both music and visuals combine in to one surreal experience that will leave you wanting more and pondering on the deeper meanings of the game.
From what we’ve seen however this game looks to be much more focused on boss fights, we saw a few in the trailer and I’m down for that. The last game had a way of making you feel small in an expansive world, add giant bosses to the mix that I’m sure will make you feel even more helpless and force you to fight harder.
All this talking about Ori makes me what to play it again! If you havn’t I suggest you do, its fantastic!

That’s not everything that I’m excited for from E3, but its the main games that I personally cannot wait for! I’m hoping that a few of these games will be playable at EGX in London this year!

What did you guys think of this E3? who do you think ‘Won’? Personally I think Nintendo blew it out of the water this year, whilst Bethesda was the worst for me… “But Blades is a true Elder Scrolls experience” … Jesus christ, whats happened to Bethesda?

Anyways enough from me,

Thanks for reading!

E3 wishlist

With E3 just around the corner, we thought it would be a great time to share the games that we are excited about and talk about games we hope will be announced. Firstly, Pokemon Sword and Shield is a game that both of us are extremely excited for but since we will be getting more information of the 5th of June, we will be excluding this from our list. The same applies to Mario Maker 2, which has had a Nintendo Direct already dedicated to it.

Ori and The Will of The Wisps

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Last year we got to see some gameplay for Ori and The Will of The Wisps and I’m really hoping that we get a release date confirmed. I’m praying for a shadow drop, just like EA did with Unravelled 2, but that might just be a little too hopeful. Ori and The Blind Forest will forever remain in my top ten games and I’m expecting the sequel to do the same. The music and the visuals alone are enough to attract many people to the game, but Ori has a special way of showing not telling when it comes to its story and I really enjoy that.

If your interested in my opinions on Ori and The Blind Forest click here.

-Dale

Hollow Knight: SilkSong

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Hollow Knight, just like Ori, is amongst my favourite games. I love the world, the art style and the challenging Metroidvania gameplay. It all merged together into a beautiful experience that really opened the doors back up to platformers and Metroidvania for me. During my review of Hollow Knight, for the Welsh Gaming Network, I highlighted that Hornet was my favourite character from the game. Her design, story and fighting style was enchanting to me and to see that she now has her own game, well that makes this sequel that much better for me.

You play as Hornet a skilled hunter and the princess-protector of Hallownest who has been captured and brought to a new kingdom. From the trailer, we can see that there are new bosses and enemies to fight and Hornet has kept her fighting charm. I’m overly excited and eager to find out when Team Cherry plan on releasing Silksong.

-Dale

The Outer Worlds

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One of my favourite games of the past decade must be Fallout: New Vegas by Obsidian, so to see they are releasing The Outer Worlds this year is something I’m quite excited about. Set a variety of colourful, retro-futuristic worlds that the player must traverse the outer rim of the universe and take the fight to a big bad cooperation. We know that Obsidian can make one hell of an RPG with quirky characters, great environment and an expensive universe ready to be explored. Oh, and plus they love to let the players chose the outcome of the game, all I’m really hoping for is to be able to play past the end credits this time. I’m hoping for a definite release date at E3, so I can get my greedy hands on the pre-order and prepare myself for hours of saving the future. – Lloyd

Star Wars: The Fallen Jedi

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I’ve been waiting for a new Star Wars game for, well, since I can remember and it’s finally coming in November. The Fallen Jedi is set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and a New Hope, following the infamous Order 66. You follow Jedi, Cal Kestis on his journey as he avoids the Empire attention. It’s been confirmed that this game won’t be an open world game, so will take a linear approach to the game, I’m assuming something similar to the Force Unleashed. The combat in Star Wars has always been relatively fun but I got a feeling this will take to the next level, being a next-gen game after all. I’m hoping for more lightsabre and force power combos, fingers crossed we’ll get some gameplay to witness how good this is going to be. – Lloyd

These are just four of the games that we are excited about, but there are many more games that will be at E3 and we’re really hoping that we get some unexpected announcements. We will be paying close attention to the Nintendo conference as we believe that they will knock it out of the park this year, with Pokemon Sword and Shield, Luigi’s Mansion 3 and the new Animal Crossing game… we know they will have a great list of games.

AND PLEASE RARE A NEW VIVA PINATA PLEASE!! – Dale

What do you guys think about the games already announced for E3 this year? are you excited? what are you looking forward too? If you want any more information on E3 Click Here

-Dale & Lloyd