After playing a good handful of hours in Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the sequel to Moon Studios’ lavish Metroidvania in 2015, it’s clear that a lot has changed. It’s bigger, deeper, and even more lavish, but one thing stays exactly the same: it’s still a video game capable of making me cry in its first five minutes.
Ori and the Blind Forest first did this with the spell of Naru, a character portrayed so fondly that it was impossible not to remember a loved one. This time, everything revolves around Ku, the owl who was born at the height of the blind forest and who quickly realizes that he has a handicap, a handicap that his adoptive family will try to help him.
It’s an introductory sequence in which not a single word is spoken, but is full of humanity, affection and that warm emotion that makes you see how people come together and bring out the best in the world. ‘themselves to face adversity. I can’t imagine any video game that will excite me this year, and judging by its creation, Will of the Wisps is going to be as wonderful as its predecessor.
Of course, there is much more. Much more, because for that lead they let us play about five hours in what is only the first act of the game, which should give you an idea of the size of the final match. But it’s not just a question of size, because the changes in this new Ori are, as we said, more profound.
The first – and perhaps the most important for what they played the original at – is combat. The Blind Forest match seemed oddly out of touch with the rest of the game, which the producer himself admits. “The first Ori was primarily a platform game,” says Dan Smith. “Exploration was also very important, but I would say combat was just a small slice of that pie. “
This is not the case here, as within minutes you are introduced to a much more direct type of combat where you have a melee weapon and shortly afterwards a bow with arrows that you can shoot with precision (which is linked to delicious puzzles). All of this produces better physical quality, something that was appreciated a bit in the first Ori, but is now more pronounced when you change glorious storylines with your gloriously animated character. That’s wonderful.
This sense of movement is vital for Ori’s attractiveness and is complemented by a greater diversity of your abilities. “Our community really likes speedrunning“Admits Smith. They continue to post new hours. I think the fastest in the world is around fourteen minutes, which is crazy. But when we got back to the design office, we didn’t necessarily want to reuse things and make an Ori 1.5. We wanted to do something big and make a real sequel. ”
“You can now choose a lot of skills on the fly,” says Smith. “Another thing that’s very different is that we’ve really leveled the skill tree system. In Blind Forest, we had a more or less linear skill tree. If you wanted something that had five positions beforehand, you had to invest four minds in the previous ones. and it made the game a bit smoother. Now you can freely equip Spirits at any time, even in the middle of a combo, and you can re-specify yourself to give yourself a different set of weapons and abilities. We’re really giving players a much deeper, more contextual layer of customization. ”
But the most fundamental change may not necessarily be the most obvious. “Technically, the original Ori was a traditional 2D game,” says Smith. “Yes, we had 3D models, which we animated and exported to import as 2D sprites into the game. But now we have a fully 3D stream. And that gives us a lot. I would say, above all else, Blind Forest was a sixty fps game, but the character animations were thirty. We now have sixty frames per second also in the character animations. ”
All of this explains the sweetness you will experience playing Ori and The Wisps. It’s a sequel in the traditional sense, bigger, better, and resolves the issues people had with the original. But what’s fascinating is how it elevates the format of a metroidvania to look and play like a triple A production, where skill trees stretch in exciting new directions, where there are tons of quests. secondary and where, in short, even so much game. It’s fascinating to see what’s possible when the might of Microsoft is behind a metroidvanie like this, and it’s not hard to imagine that we’ll see more of it. ‘Ori in the future, because he will become one of the proper names of Xbox, although for the moment the developers are not talking about payments.
“We’ll have to wait and see what happens, but I can tell you I can draw a huge smile on my face from the fact that I can tell Ori is now a franchise, you know?” Smith said. “A long time ago, we signed up as an Xbox Live arcade game. It was nothing like what it is now or what it was when we signed with Microsoft when we released Blind Forest. All of these things came together and formed this powerful formula. To be able to sit here, To be able to say that we released the final edition, which added more content and things that people love, and now be here. to make a real sequel. You know, we don’t reuse anything. We are trying to do it in a big way. I’m very proud of the fact that we can now say it’s a franchise. ”
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