Latest Ori And The Will Of The Wisps Patch Is Two Steps Forward, One Little Step Back

Illustration for article titled Latest iOri And The Will Of The Wisps/i Patch Is Two Steps Forward, One Little Step Back
Screenshot: Moon Studios (Microsoft Studios)

When the stunning Ori and the Will of the Wisps came out last month, for Xbox One and PC, it suffered its fair share of bugs. A launch-day patch fixed many of the major glitches—from severe framerate stutter to straight-up freezes—but anyone who’s played over the past few weeks could tell you that Ori wasn’t yet perfect. Loading the map would slow the game to a crawl. Sometimes buttons would stop working. In rare instances, the screen would randomly go black for a moment.

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Today, developer Moon Studios released a long-awaited update for its ethereal action-platformer. For the most part, this patch addresses residual performance issues: audio buzzing, start screen crashes, the map issue, that sort of thing. The game is far smoother for it. If you were holding off playing until the storm of technical issues cleared up, this is the patch you were waiting for, full stop. (And yes, you should absolutely play this game. It’s a delight.)

But beyond minor tweaks, today’s update also changes some key parts of the game. For starters, it now offers multiple HUD options. In addition to the standard HUD—which isn’t exactly busy but does obscure some of Niwen’s eye-popping beauty—you can choose to hide it entirely. This removes Ori’s health, energy, and Spirit Light meters, but doesn’t do anything for action prompts (example: “Press X to talk to the Moki!”). The HUD-free option is bound to produce some museum-worthy screenshots, so long as you’re not standing too close to a chatty Moki.

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There’s also a new dynamic HUD. With this one on, while you’re running and jumping around, your screen won’t have any clutter. But if you take any damage or use any energy, the HUD will pop up for a moment, offering the best of both worlds. You can switch between HUD settings on the fly. All you have to do is open up Options, from the pause menu, and direct yourself to Settings. You’ll see HUD near the bottom.

The other big change switches up how Ori and the Will of the Wisps handles fast travel. Before today, the fast travel process was cut-and-dried: Unlock a fast-travel spot (called Spirit Wells) and you could teleport back there straight from the map. Now, the ability to do this requires buying an upgrade. You’ll need to fork over hard-earned in-game currency to Opher, a staff-wielding primate who looks not unlike a certain grey-bearded wizard. For the game’s first few hours Opher is a wandering merchant; once you reach Wellspring Glades, the hub area, he’ll set up shop there permanently. If you don’t pony up for his upgrade, you’ll only be able to activate fast travel from the Spirit Wells, of which there are just a couple per area.

The ability to fast travel from anywhere is a godsend. Not only can it save you from precarious situations—if you’re, say, sandwiched between two F350-sized monsters on a tiny ledge—it can also save you from long stretches of arduous backtracking. (Ori completionists can attest to how much ground you can retread in search of that sweet “100%.”) This is one small way Ori and the Will of the Wisps is more approachable than its predecessor, 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest.

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Whereas much of today’s patch brings welcome changes to Will of the Wisps, shifting the fast travel feels like a regression, at least in terms of the game’s quality of life. Why gatekeep an ability behind a shopkeeper if it was already available in the base game? The good news is that, while early- and mid-game players might find themselves inconvenienced, those who’ve put in the work likely needn’t worry. I booted up a late-game save file—steps away from the final boss—and the upgrade had been retroactively applied to my character.

And, hey, newcomers won’t know what they missed. They’ll just find a truly transcendent platformer—one that, as of today, is largely and blissfully free of bugs.

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More Niwen adventures:

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Staff Writer, Kotaku

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DISCUSSION

Havn’t been following these patches but I scary complaint I heard was that the boss battles were buggy and not fairly balanced, has this been touched on?