A most worthy successor.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps is, just like its predecessor, a 2D Platformer with Metroidvania-style progression. Platforming puzzles, secrets and this time enhanced combat are all over the place. Just like before the game is focussing on creating a breathtaking atmosphere all throughout the story, though this time the actual storytelling part has been notably extended.
Gameplay & Quality
The journey's end.
The gameplay generally stayed the same as before - you are controlling our little spirit of light, Ori, through the vast and beautifully designed open world while fighting enemies, gaining and leveling new abilities and so unlocking new areas to go to. But aside from this core concept, almost everything else changed - for the better, I'd say.
The open world now has an actual "open" world feeling to it. Instead of the linear story to follow we rather get a quest system with main story and optional side quests to follow as we find them. At some points the main quest just tells you to go to certain areas, but in which order is up to you - of course for some you still need certain abilities to get there first.
Alongside the side quests comes a whole bunch of NPCs to meet throughout the world, turning the subtle background narration into actual storytelling at the cost of lots and lots of dialogue to read, because everyone is still talking in an unintelligible language.
The exp and leveling system has been replaced by something that can be seen on other modern titles of this genre, e.g. Hollow Knight, as we just collect spirit light as some sort of currency. With this currency we can buy and upgrade new skills, spirit shards - which are equipable passive abilities, limited by the amount of slots you have - and even build, with resources found in the world, our own village.
Speaking of abilities, they have been reworked too. Instead of one set of fixed abilities we get three slots to equip three different ones at a time, changable anytime. The Soul Link has been replaced by a normal heal because this game now features auto-saving.
With all of these new abilities, combat changed a fair bit too. Instead of that one spammable auto-aim ranged attack we focus on melee fighting now, with some mostly manual ranged attacks later on. Of course you can get by just fine with only the default attack, though the new skills have their fair share of uses and are fun to use overall. Most utilized are the bow and, known from the previous game, the throwable light orb which you will need a lot to solve certain puzzles.
And the most drastic change: We now have actual boss fights!
New mechanics like climbing on and grappling toward walls and even roofs wherever blue grass grows, moving map elements and digging through sand and snow walls also make an appearance.
And finally, teleporting to warp stones is now possible from anywhere and maps are bought from an NPC you can find in every area.
Talking about performance and bugs for a moment, there are two things I noticed.
First off, the game has two FPS settings. One is for the "target FPS", meaning that the game utilizes automatic resolution and quality downscaling to reach this number when your PC is unable to keep up. This is set to 60 by default. The other is the hard enforced FPS limit. This is set to unlimited by default, using all available resources on your PC to reach unnecessary FPS ranges, creating audio and visual errors in at least one crowded area. Turning that down is highly recommended.
Second, the game seems to be a bit wonky with granting collector achievements. For me it only granted those achievements after I went to the main menu and loaded the save file again after completing the conditions.
Otherwise the game runs smooth as usual, and while the controls are different from before on the fixed keys, taking some getting used to, it's comfortably playable with a controller.
The new menu, showing all your progress, and the new digging mechanic.
Story, Content & Runtime
What can you expect from this game?
An epic and emotional sequel and conclusion to the story told in Ori and the Blind Forest.
Following the events of the predecessor, our new journey begins where we left off - after the forest of Nibel was saved and Kuro's final possession, the last remaining egg, hatched. Ori and the newborn Ku, who sadly suffers from a deformed wing, live a happy life as a family until with the passing of time Ku's yearning for the sky grows ever stronger.
Finding a makeshift solution to fix her broken wing and enabling her to finally fly, Ori and Ku set out on a journey. Though this happy day and their newfound freedom soon turn dark, as they get into another heavy storm and get separated in a faraway land.
Will Ori be able to find Ku and get them safely back home before anything happens? And what is the story of this dark and desolate forest devoid of light?
Once again we get a beautiful, emotional story told along the journey of the player, through interactive cutscenes, lots of dialogue with NPCs and whatever remnants of the past this new world has to show. Of course the on-spot and meaningful soundtrack can't be missed.
Completing this journey fully took me short of 15h, 100%ing the game. Compared to the predecessor we only get the default three difficulties to choose from, taking away notable replayability, but instead we get a few racing minigames with ingame leaderboards dedicated people can compete in.
Sadly we don't have a gallery for all the cutscenes or addional media anymore. I'd have loved to re-view all those important story moments.
Is this game worth it?
Yep. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a beautiful and worthy standalone game, even more so if you played and enjoyed the predecessor. Naturally you should have played the predecessor before taking on this one, and the huge price increase compared to the little increase in playtime might sound bad, so I once again recommend buying the bundle with a little discount.
Because the next sale is always around the corner!