When I was invited to the Xbox E3 2018 showcase event, the first game I played was Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The sequel to Moon Studio’s 2015 title Ori and the Blind Forest, this demo drops Ori in the middle of a vast desert joined to a cave network of sorts. Additionally, while I played the game, my comrade Lord Cognito of the Iron Lords Podcast interviewed one of the developers and captured some off-screen gameplay. You can check that out right here or below:

With all that in mind, let’s dive in. Here’s my Ori and the Will of the Wisps impressions!

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Impressions

Now if you’ve seen the trailer then this goes without saying but I’ll say it all the same: Ori and the Will of the Wisps is gorgeous. The stunning art style, the wide variety of detailed environments, it all looks incredible. If you’re playing on Xbox One X, it looks even more impressive with an excellent implementation of HDR and 4K resolution. While I didn’t get to hear much of the soundtrack in my gameplay demo, the track playing was soothing and in line with the fantastic music from and sound effects from the first game. Gareth Coker is returning as the composer for the soundtrack, so I have no doubt it’ll be anything short of phenomenal.

If you’ve played Ori and the Blind Forest, you’ll instantly be familiar with the controllers. Ori can still cling and clamber up surfaces, platforming with ease across vines, walls, bridges and rocks. A big addition to Ori’s moveset however, is the addition of the Burrow ability. Ori can dive into the sand, tunneling through and launching out at great speed. This adds a new layer of moves on top of the already impressive verticality, as well as new options for exploration. By launching out of the sand, you can also take enemies by surprise or reach otherwise-inaccessible locations.

The biggest change by far is in regards to combat. Instead of using Sein, Ori now has access to a variety of weapons. One is an energy sword that can chain together different moves for combo attacks. Combined with the movement system, it’s incredibly easy to rapidly chain effective attacks. Another new addition is the energy bow, which fulfills Ori’s new ranged moveset. All of these abilities can be augmented, with different slots for rune-like modifiers which let you adapt Ori’s abilities to your personal preference.

I’m definitely looking forward to this and if the rest of the game is in line with the demo, Moon Studios has another masterpiece on their hands. Ori and the Will of the Wisps releases on Xbox One and Windows 10 sometime in 2019. It’ll be Xbox One X enhanced, running in native 4K with HDR support.