Ori and the Will of the Wisps

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JaySevenZero
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Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by JaySevenZero »

Here's where you can contribute your thoughts and opinions for Ori and the Will of the Wisps for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

A friendly reminder that where the feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but keeping it brief is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mostly reading out essays. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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RadicalDog
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by RadicalDog »

I'm jealous of everyone for whom this is their first Ori game. It's really beautiful! The mechanics are refined from The Blind Forest, and it's categorically a better game. However, the way it completely retreads the same story points was a real disappointment.
Spoiler: show
If a series brings a character back from the dead, it works once, but "dying" stops being an interesting plot point. Ori did the whole loop twice without any sense of irony!

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Seph
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by Seph »

We really have been spoiled in the last few years with the abundance of genuinely incredible 2D Metroidvania games, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps is very close to being at the top of this new wave; maybe only beaten by Hollow Knight.

This builds on everything the first game did, and added so many cool new moves and abilties that felt fun to use. The traditional style boss fights were a great addition and fun to play, but this series still shines with its nail-biting chase sequences. I found the sandworm one incredible frustrating at times, but, much like the Rayman series, I can't help but feel a great sense of achievement when they're done.

This might be a bold claim, especially in the ray tracing era of the next gen consoles, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps might just be the most beautiful game I've ever seen. The artstyle is perfect and full of character, and made me want to explore the world more to see what other locations I could discover.

If there's any criticism I'll say about this game it's about performance. I'm not sure if it has been fixed now, but when I played this game originally on the Xbox One S via Game Pass it ran into a lot of slowdown and lagging issues. For a game that relies a lot on precision and timing, it made some sections almost unplayable. Thankfully this game's use of autosaving helped somewhat with the unforced errors. While it was still a complete game and not completely broken, I'd rather they had ironed out the creases than rushed it out to hit an arbitrary date.

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sam_c
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by sam_c »

I played the demo of Ori and the Blind Forest, but its gameplay didn't really grab me even though I usually like platformers. But seeing the rave reviews of Ori and the Will Of The Wisps led me to give this sequel a second chance. I'm glad I did, because this was a really great game. The smooth movement and tight level design makes for some great platforming. I particularly liked the bosses, which are visually imposing but are usually defeated by escaping through a nailbiting platform gauntlet. Being rewarded (with more than just a strawberry) for reaching hidden or inaccessible areas always felt good, too.

I remember the combat being the weakest part of the original. It feels like since then, the developers took inspiration from Hollow Knight, resulting in a much tighter combat system, with a quick sword as the main weapon, augmented by an array of other unlockables like arrows and a massive hammer.

The world is big and beautiful, but even after playing through just once I felt I'd really seen it all, except maybe a few nooks and crannies holding extra health and mana. Not enough to motivate me to keep exploring after the credits rolled, anyway. I never felt I could stumble on a particularly interesting secret -- no secret characters, bosses, bits of lore and so on, unlike other exploration-heavy games like Dark Souls.

On the whole, it was the gameplay that carried this game for me. It's obvious that a huge amount of effort has gone into the art and graphics, but it's not a style that appeals to me. The animation does bring a welcome fluidity to the combat and platforming.

Though the story drives the gameplay forward adequately, it was a little heavy handed, with every emotional beat a bit too obvious for my liking.

Nonetheless, it's a fine addition to the pantheon of great modern metroidvanias.

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Sasquance
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by Sasquance »

Echoing what some of the other correspondents have highlighted, we have indeed been lucky to have so many great metroidvania titles coming out in recent years.

Hollow Knight, Ori and Carrion have each been a blast for me to play. Ori and the Will of the Wisps, though, has truly stuck with me, even more than the best takeaways from the others I just mentioned have.

It was an emotional thrill ride similar to its predecessor. I laughed frequently – occasionally because I was bouncing around, wall to wall, loving Ori’s carefully-animated actions – teared up more than once, and ultimately felt like I was actually satisfied when I came to the conclusion of this great title.

If I had to sum this up quickly, I’d say this: Ori and TWOTW hits a perfect note of Ghlibi feels, emotion-evoking music, tight controls, lively animations and – most importantly – frustrating difficulty levels, at times.

Although I found the difficulty level very enjoyable*

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Kasuga-san
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by Kasuga-san »

I find that it's hard for me to separate Blind Forest and Will of the Wisps. I'll think that one battle was in one game only to realize it was in the other. It's not bad that Will of the Wisps treads a lot of the same ground since they did a good job of refining some of the gameplay elements from the first game. Still, I find it hard to think of the second game as fondly as I did the first. In Blind Forest, there were sections where the game truly made me feel like I'd mastered the mechanics as I flitted around and escaped areas. Will of the Wisps' escape sections in particular I remember as being brutal. Maybe some of the movement wasn't quite as responsive since it did have some slowdown at times, but some of those timed sections felt like they could have used a little bit more TLC. I want to say the roughest one was in a snow area? Once I finally beat it, it didn't feel like an accomplishment. Instead it felt like pure dumb luck. It kind of dampened the brilliant boss designs, gorgeous animation, and yet another great soundtrack from Gareth Coker; but it's still one of my favorite platformers of the past decade. I mean, if you have Game Pass, even if you're not into platforming games, you should do yourself a favor and download it just to see the kind of artistry that can be done these days.

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MarkHoog
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by MarkHoog »

Ori and the Will Wisps came at a time when the country went into lockdown, my relationship had just ended and I had switched from a steady hotel job with colleagues to freelancing from home. The atmospheric environments and precision-based gameplay - that I knew from the previous game - provided me with just the kind of distraction I needed. It was a real comfort to get lost in game, focusing on one challenge at a time - chunks of escapism similar to those offered by Soulsborne in the past. The moment the familiar music kicked in during the first big chase scene is one I'm not likely to forget anytime soon.

WotW is much larger than its predecessor in multiple ways, and it can sometimes feel a bit less focused because of it; there are a few areas that feel like they would fit better in, say, a Rayman game, and some of the fetchy side activities feel like padding, but overall this game expands on Blind Forest in gorgeous fashion. I'll admit I was a bit worried about the addition of boss fights this time around, but instead of being stressful they turned out to be quite fun to do.

I'm sorry to read about performance issues others have had; fortunately, I can't say I've experienced a single frame drop during either of my playthroughs (on PC at release, and on Series S about 6 months later). I'll just chalk that down to luck and, in the case of the Series S, some patching that may have been done since Day 1.

Oh, and did I cry? No, of course not. I just have a very dusty house.

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Mr Ixolite
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by Mr Ixolite »

*My first impressions of Ori and the will of the wisps were not great. One of my problems with the original game quickly resurfaced, where I wished it would stick with the effective silent storytelling rather than adding slightly overdone narration, and now also cute but stock NPC dialogue. On the gameplay front, the unique “save-point-as -resource” mechanic was gone, as was the experience-based skill tree. Now auto-saving, ability-modifying badges and vendor-purchasable skills were in (with the currency bizarrely still being the abstract concept of “spirit light”). Combat was also overhauled, and I felt a big disconnect watching cute wispy little Ori now assaulting foes with furious sword strikes and giant warhammers. It felt like a bit of an identity crisis.

Ultimately the main story of Will of The Wisps never really connected with me, least of all the ending which I felt wasn’t supported by a cipher character such as Ori. On a micro-level I did enjoy the basic pleasure of “help these cute forest critters out”, but not so much the macro-story and lore, especially once it went for a needless “prophesized chosen one” beat.

But man did I ever come around on the gameplay. One of my biggest problems with past metroidvanias is that engaging with the world quickly can become dull and repetitive, but In this regard, Oris world feels far more varied and less rigid than many of its peers. It is capable moving, breaking, changing, and lending itself to thrilling setpieces. Rather than a series of simply “connecting rooms with enemies”, the world feels like if you took a bunch of challenges from a more traditional, level-based 2D platformer and sprinkled them across a “metroidvania” structure. And I loved it. I would seek out each little spirit light orb with glee, just for the joy of besting the platforming challenge guarding said paltry reward. Ori is a joy to control with some of the best 2D movement I’ve ever experienced- between double and triple jumping, bashing, air-dodging and grappling, you feel constantly compelled and empowered to keep Ori off the ground. When I got the lategame “Launch” ability my face broke into a huge disbelieving grin, amazed at the sheer freedom of movement the game had provided me with.

While combat is a bit fiddlier, I also grew to enjoy it, and in its best moments it can be a satisfying rush to juggle enemies, switch skills on the fly, and then nailing a foe with a time-slowing energy lance. The act of clearing the games various challenges is so fun that even with the game freezing up on average once per playsession for me, I kept coming back. Weaving through the air before smacking an enemy with the ridiculous Warhammer just felt too good.

3wr: Jumping for joy


* feel free to skip this paragraph if need be, just including it for the sake of context.

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Toon Scottoon
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Re: 495 - Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Post by Toon Scottoon »

Thomas Quillfeldt convinced me to finish this game. My original intention was to tackle it on release, and for four nights after it came out I spent my free time joyfully zipping, flipping and floating through the game's landscape of luminescent grandeur while gathering four of the five wisps necessary to progress the story. I was about to collect the fifth one, which for me was supposed to come from the poison excreting spider-monster Mora, when between the first and second stage of that battle my screen went black, and my living room was filled with the plaintive screams of the big arachnid. Not sure how I'd halted the game, I rebooted my save file, returned to fight Mora a second time and...same thing. Frustrated and certain a patch was coming I put Ori and the Will Of the Wisps aside.

The next day in person instruction at the high school where I teach and the elementary school that my two children attend was halted due to COVID-19 for the next 15 months. Suddenly I was trying to figure out how to teach my 17 year-old students in a fully online environment, while simultaneously supporting my two elementary school daughters in their growth, and so Ori's adventure drifted further from my mind.

Then over the summer, driving across the Mojave from Phoenix to Oakland I booted up a special episode of Sound of Play where Thomas Quillfeldt interviewed composer Garth Coker and spoke about the Will of the Wisps soundtrack, and decide I should go see what was happening with my little tree sprite and that big spider that gave me such a hard time.

Going back to the game the controls were not as intuitive as I remembered, and Mora pummeled me into spirit dust a fair amount of times, but I made it past her, and onto Shriek and found the ending satisfying, if perhaps a little forgettable, not because what took place wasn't interesting, but because my journey had been so disjointed by time and circumstance. Still I'm glad I got back to Ori, and I appreciate the role Thomas played in making that happen. Thank you. I know Sound of Play is a lot of work, but I do miss that show, and I hope you all pick it back up again when the time is right.


Three word review - Great artists steal

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