Ori and the Will of Wisps, the perfect …

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Can a video game be as immersive and emotional as a good book, movie or series? If the new Xbox title, Ori and the Will of the Wisps is anything to judge, the answer is a resounding “yes”!

  • Played on: Xbox One S
  • Available on: Xbox and PC
  • Developed By: Moon Studios
  • Posted By: Xbox Game Studios
  • Genre: Metroidvania / Platform

Five years after the launch of the critically acclaimed film, premium (including a BAFTA for Artistic Achievement) Xbox 2015 Exclusive Title, Ori and the Blind Forest, developer Moon Studios released the long-awaited sequel, Ori and the will of the wisps, the 11th of March.

I played the first one, which was developed over four years by a remote team of 20 people across different countries and continents, in September 2016 for the first time. At the time, I had just bought a game console to while away weekend time at home, after about six years since I hadn’t owned a game console.

Weekend Game turned into a nighttime game after work as I lost myself in the adventure of Ori and the Blind Forest. According to the game’s stats, during those weeks I played a combined total of 30 hours. That’s not to say it should take that long. According to the game tracking website, How long to beat, the game takes an average of 10 hours to complete and 20 hours for the carefree gamer. So 30 hours reek of underperformance. But the game is such a joy, I’d be willing to bet slower players will get the most out of the experience.

Ori, a shiny, somewhat genderqueer little guardian spirit that appears to be made of brilliant white light, exists in the beautifully crafted and detailed Nibel Forest. Without going through spoiler territory – and at the risk of oversimplifying one of the most compelling storylines in recent gaming history, I can say that through a series of events the darkness has defeated the forest of Nibel and many of its creatures; fruits no longer grow on trees; the creatures of the forest die; our protagonist is an orphan.

It’s up to the player to solve puzzles, jump, climb, shoot and use many other abilities to play through the game and reveal their emotional story. Empathy runs through history and is particularly visible in the way key figures are portrayed. Even his antagonist isn’t just demonized as a malicious villain and as the story unfolds and the antagonist’s motives are revealed, we are reminded that even some of the gravest consequences can result from bad decisions made in times of panic and difficult circumstances by those with good intentions.

Work on the 2020 sequel began in 2017. This time, Moon Studio’s remote 20-person team had grown to 80, across 43 countries.

“It wasn’t something we necessarily planned. But in the end, it became a really effective strategy for us because we could hire the most talented people. We hired people far away from Blizzard, Riot, Disney and so on… and the pitch we made was just, “Hey, we’ve got a good paycheck, but the good thing is you can work from home. People didn’t have to relocate or uproot their families. Doing this has really helped us attract this talent pool ”, said game director and CEO of Moon Studio Thomas Malher in an interview with jeuxindustrie.biz on building up the company’s remote talent pool.

As technology has advanced, so have the game mechanics. While platform titles from the 80s and 90s like the Super Mario games locked the player into a two-dimensional world of left, right, up and down movements, the most popular titles of the 21st century are increasingly integrated open worlds. , where players can go in any direction they want, and plays in a non-linear fashion that lets them choose when and how to explore the story.

That’s not to say that console-level two-dimensional platforms have been absolutely non-existent. In fact, the Ori series builds and excels on innovations from many titles in the genre. However, the incredible global development of Ori and the Blind Forest through a combination of a touching storyline, game art, moving soundtrack, and expertly timed game mechanics, has been a important moment that triggered an avalanche of worship. Comments. Mahler announcement that the game had generated profits within a week of its launch, enough to cover years of development.

The sequel begins immediately after the events of the first game. And while it starts in Nibel Forest, it takes players far beyond. A new member was born to Ori’s unlikely family, Ku, an owl with a damaged wing. Again, spoiler-free: With Ori’s help, Ku learns to fly. In flight, Ori on Ku’s back, a storm separates them, and so the adventure begins as Ori searches for Ku in the woods. However, the story that will unfold is not that simple and sharing it here would be like spoiling the gaming experience.

The premise of evil over good, light over darkness, is nothing new. In fact, this is the standard premise for a lot of fiction work. What often separates the great from the good is the balance between imagination, innovation, execution and relevance. This Ori does this in a way that it achieves a resonance that few games have been able to achieve.

While games have been a part of my life from time to time for three decades, I can’t say that there are many storylines that have managed to make me feel as emotionally invested as I could be in a book or a really good series.

The difference to the game as a fictional consumption mode is that due to its interactive nature, the player’s actions are an integral part of the unfolding of the story, and Ori and Will of the Wisps have no shortage of action. . There is a lot more combat than before as Ori slashes enemies with the help of his Sword of Light and a much larger arsenal of weapons. It is sometimes a difficult experience, especially when it comes to the timed jump mechanics. A player may be on the verge of giving up, wondering what he is doing wrong. But once you understand that split-second difference in jumping or attacking, the feeling of accomplishment is that much more special.

The new title also contains several side quests which, while not necessary to complete the game and reveal the main story, are also worthwhile as they encourage the player to explore the game world. , such as the new abilities resulting from these quests, also greatly improve the gameplay of the main storyline. They are also radically transforming the way a player can interact with the levels in the game. A level you might have thought you completed earlier can reveal crucial secrets when revisited with enhanced combat, climbing, and skill levels. of grappling and jumping, making exploring the world especially rewarding.

Another new addition is how much the world is made richer by new characters that Ori interacts with along the way, both in the main story and in the side quests.

I have not finished yet. I’m at a point in the game where Ori is literally surrounded by darkness and with just one little light. If they come out of the light, they die; still, they have to figure out how to proceed in the dark, but somehow never come out of the light.

Fast players say the game should take 15 hours. I’m sure I put in more, but based on the game’s stats I’m only 40% of the way. I don’t feel rushed at all. In these days, when circumstances beyond our control sometimes lead to bouts of mass anxiety and sometimes reveal cracks in the delicate fabric of society, the challenges of Ori’s world, the empathy with which history addresses even the worst of us, and the many victory moments for the lingering spirit of light in moments of darkness make this the perfect interactive escape. ML

If you would like to share your ideas or suggestions for games we should try, please leave a comment below or email us at [email protected] and [email protected].

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