It didn't take a lot of imagination to picture Ori and the Will of the Wisps. After all, we had played in the noble Metroidvania for several hours in advance and it was already becoming clear that Will of the Wisps is a fantastic sequel. One that delivers only a few real innovations, but brings back all the strengths of the predecessor and also fuses a few old weaknesses. This is exactly how we had imagined an Ori 2! However, the game was not completely flawless. In the test, we clarify where Will of the Wisps leaves at least a little room for criticism – and why the Xbox One version took our nerves.
Note: A video test has so far not been possible due to time constraints. In our preview video you already get a very good impression of all important innovations and content. The game scenes are from the first three hours of the PC version.
Our advice: If you haven't played Ori and the Blind Forest yet, you should do so now. Because Will of the Wisps builds on the first part as successfully as if little time had passed in between. In the fantastically staged intro we meet again our beloved forest spirit Ori, who takes care of a newly hatched family member together with his friends Gumo and Naru: the cute baby owl Ku. It not only represents the emotional link to the previous game, but also sets the next adventure in motion: When Ku crashes over a dark forest during a daring flight lesson, Ori immediately goes to his feet to save the poor owl child.
Source: PC Games
It's a simple story that gets under your skin: Moon Studios stages its plot again with poignant cutscenes, gripping chases, calm dialogues and touching moments in which the film-like orchestral soundtrack takes over the storytelling. Again, it's about loss and family, grief and hope, so the developers are very close to the first part, but they put their story into action with so much heart and sensitivity that it hardly bothered us. If you are built near the water, you should take precautionary measures: It is also best to play Will of the Wisps with a handy handkerchief pack. You will need them at the latest in the credits.
Despite the intense story moments, Will of the also shines as a typical Metroidvania with a high jump-and-run percentage. From the side view you can explore a connected world with your little forest spirit, you are traveling in dimly colored forests, colorful oases, snowy peaks, dark caves and sandy desert areas. Each zone is magnificently designed, peppered with animated details and wonderfully illuminated, the three-dimensional backgrounds ensure spatial depth, they make Ori's world appear alive and as if from a single source. In short: Will of the Wisps is one of the most beautiful 2D platforms ever, and the competition will have to measure itself against it in the future.
Source: PC Games
By the way, the game is not only more beautiful, but also a little more extensive than its predecessor: Even Ori connoisseurs can plan 10 to 15 hours here until everything is done. While Will of the Wisps is still much more manageable than a Hollow Knight, for example, the adventure never felt too short for us.
As good as its predecessor
Hopping, jumping and climbing is just as precise and smooth as in the first part, Ori connoisseurs should feel at home immediately. This also includes learning new skills in order to make further level areas accessible. However, we already know a lot of this: after all, we made extensive use of the double jump, the spring as a paraglider or the opportunity to push off on projectiles. The new additions include above all a kind of energy lasso, with which Ori can pull up at anchor points, as well as the ability to dig through loose sand in the Affenzahn. Although these features fit in well and are not used excessively, they are somewhat less precise than Ori's other abilities – practice is particularly important here. Finally, extensive sections are waiting again, in which you have to steer Ori precisely through prickly passages, shoot through portals or bend past lethal energy beams. Ori veterans also get their money's worth.
Source: PC Games
Unlike in the previous game, you can no longer set your save points by hand. Instead, the developers use automatic checkpoints this time, but they are placed fairly, especially since there are no annoying loading times if Ori bites the grass again. In the test, the skill sections never frustrated us. At the start of the game you can also choose from three levels of difficulty, which determine how much damage Ori can take and deal. But be careful: this setting cannot be undone after the game starts! So if you already thought the previous game was too tricky, you should rather choose the easy mode.
Greatly improved: battles and boss opponents
Source: PC Games
Ori connoisseurs also have to rethink the fighting, because this time we are not accompanied by a shooting spirit of light that automatically cleans up enemies for us. Instead, Ori receives several new combat devices during the game, including a ghost blade, a bow or a magic hammer, which is particularly effective against thick chunks. The dealer also offers other skills such as an energy spear or a type of boomerang, which we found to be unnecessary in the test – the other weapons are simply more practical. But Ori's normal arsenal already significantly enhances the fights and ensures that Will of the Wisps feels a little more demanding than its predecessor. We just wished we could improve some weapons even further. Ori's standard light blade, for example, could have used a few more upgrades so that it still hits properly towards the end of the game.