ORI AND THE WILL OF THE WISPS [Face-Off Review]: Me.Tried.Vain.Yeah!

Felipe “Deacon” Crespo

“DEACON” FELIPE CRESPO: HELLO-AH! TO THE.. CONGRE-GATIONNN-AH, Matt! Been a while since I did one of these. It’s the notorious F.E.L.I.P.E. and I’m happy to go the Nicholas Cage/John Travolta route with you on this highly anticipated Xbox exclusive, Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Now, I should remind you, man, that I didn’t want to rush through this gem and thus haven’t completed it. Why? Why? Why? I’m also playing Langrisser on Switch, this Friday Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal drop, and I still enjoy hunting dynamax pokemon. But, anyway, let’s get to it!

“Minister” Matt Robb

“MINISTER” MATT ROBB: Yes. Let’s. While Ori is not nearly the juggernaut of a franchise as, say, The Witcher or Fallout, Ori and the Blind Forest did release the same year as those titans and was still able to capture many gamers’ attention with its unique art style and engaging gameplay. And I’m happy to say that all of those elements carry over into the sequel and are even improved upon…

FELIPE: Yup. If you loved the first one, good news, geeks– you’ll love the sequel. The Will of the Wisps is absolutely gorgeous. It has even better storybook visuals than the original. A small detail I immediately noticed and greatly appreciated? The camera is zoomed-in closer. It’s great getting a better view of all the details and secondary animations of Ori and the world around him.

MATT: All the backgrounds look as if they were hand painted with loving detail and enemies protrude from the screen with lustrous colors.

Do you know where I can find this.. coronavirus?

FELIPE: Better, Ori‘s gameplay remains largely unchanged, but with RPG elements thrown into the mix. It also feels easier than the first, but I think that just comes with the territory of beating Blind Forest. As far as the new RPG flavoring, you have runes to give Ori certain bonuses (extra damage to flying enemies, better defense, etc), and offensive skills/weapons that you can both equip and upgrade (a drone to attack foes, an exploding attack, health regen, and more). My first impulse is to give this 5 keystones.. But no, no, no. Unfortunately, there is something amiss!

MATT: Oh no! Well, before we spoil your issue with the sequel allow me to break down this “Metroid-vania”. Nerds will explore a large map of varying terrains, gaining new skills used to help explore further (digging, dashing); some of these will expand the range of attacks (arrows, smash attacks), and some as modifiers (increasing difficulty for greater reward). But let’s also tack on an extra helping of some extreme platform action. Chances are players will die many times in trying to navigate the different styles of landscapes. Yet, never once does it not feel rewarding when you finally make it through an instance by the skin of your teeth.

FELIPE: Oh, Minister, I completely agree. The challenge is perfect, the array of enemies and bosses are a major plus, and the rush gained from conquering a H.A.F. level in Ori is unmatched. But what the f*** is this disgusting slowdown that’s plaguing this gem!?! I’m an Xbox guy and loved OaTBF, which spoiled me with its beauty and silky smooth gameplay… which is why it pains me so to encounter so much stuttering and just straight-awful slowdown in random parts. BTW, I play on an X1X.

MATT: It’s so sad! These sporadic performance issues pop up even when there is very little action on the screen, ranging from a dip in frame rate to the screen freezing for a few seconds. Worse, dude, I was also forced to reset the game when it was unable to keep up with my movements and Ori ended up inside a platform. These issues have been acknowledged by the developer and have stated they’re working on a patch…

COVID-19, here I come!!!

FELIPE: I don’t see the game losing or slipping on any of its pros, but until that unwanted bullet time is patched away, Matt, I can’t give it more than a “very good”. Then again if gamers loved the first one, I’d still tell everyone interested to buy it (also, it’s only 30 bucks and on Game Pass). But if you’re new to Ori, start with The Blind Forest. 3.5/5 Bibles.

MATT: Yeah, without the performance issues this game deserves a bible higher but it really does start to remove you from the experience in the late game.. But here’s where I edge a little closer to your score: if I’m being nit-picky, I would have liked for there to have been more side quests and collectibles to find, as it’s not too difficult to achieve 100% completion of the map. But as is, without a patch to fix existing issues, Ori and The Will of the Wisps is still a great addition to the Xbox library. 4/5 Bibles.

-Felipe Crespo & Matt Robb

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