Ori and the Will of the Wisps Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Ori and the Will of the Wisps RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Best Xbox One Platformers to Play On Xbox Series X https://www.gameskinny.com/ihj1g/best-xbox-one-platformers-to-play-on-xbox-series-x https://www.gameskinny.com/ihj1g/best-xbox-one-platformers-to-play-on-xbox-series-x Wed, 30 Dec 2020 15:13:20 -0500 Daniel Hollis

[{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a6fa0f3917549d2943aeac86e54fefb6.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/a6fa0f3917549d2943aeac86e54fefb6.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13639","description":"

Shovel Knight

\n

Another knight to feature on this list is Shovel Knight, an 8-bit adventure featuring a knight with nothing but, you guessed it, a shovel. Digging his way to victory and using the gardening tool to vanquish enemies, it’s a delightful little adventure.

\n

Not only that, but the Treasure Trove edition also comes with various new modes, including a multiplayer brawler. It’s a fantastic package and one that undoubtedly deserves your time.

\n

These are all fantastic platformers you can play on the Xbox Series X today thanks to the platform's backwards compatibility. What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b59953f536fe87ab3f841e24a4786ed9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/b59953f536fe87ab3f841e24a4786ed9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13638","description":"

Hollow Knight

\n

Often heralded as a masterpiece, Hollow Knight earns that title. With swift responsiveness that works well with the simplistic combat, exploring its labyrinthine world is full of mystery and wonder.

\n

It’s certainly a challenging game, but like many others on this list is insanely rewarding once the challenges have been overcome. With a sequel on the horizon, now is the perfect time to dive into the iconic game.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/581bc49690e244cc6550e5c27ed57bdd.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/581bc49690e244cc6550e5c27ed57bdd.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13637","description":"

New Super Lucky’s Tale

\n

Super Lucky’s Tale was already a fun little platformer, but the re-imagining does so much new it may as well act as a sequel. With brand new level variants, improvements on the original formula and tighter controls, New Super Lucky’s Tale feels like the game that was originally intended and a great inclusion into the Xbox Series X’s library of platformers.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1344d218a0232308ff744dcbc4daeaee.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/1344d218a0232308ff744dcbc4daeaee.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13636","description":"

Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair

\n

If Banjo-Tooie and Conker Live & Reloaded weren’t enough Rare goodness then Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible acts as a 2D spiritual successor to the developers previous games. As a chameleon, you’ll utilize an array of powers and venture out into worlds inspired by platformers of yesteryear.

\n

What makes the Impossible Lair so different is the ability to attempt the final level at any time, using the other levels as a means to power up your character. It’s a great mechanic and one that works extremely well for both newcomers and hardcore players.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/3d3b65869fd694e697191850d0ce2b15.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/3d3b65869fd694e697191850d0ce2b15.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13635","description":"

Rayman Legends

\n

When Rayman Origins released, it delivered a fantastic 2D platforming experience than none of us knew we wanted. With the sequel, everything is improved.

\n

Rayman Origins was already fantastic, but Legends adds more inventive platforming challenges, excellent co-operative play and immensely impressive music based stages. It’s a wonderful game and one that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5e06c2688d1a9bce28a5cc926a07fa5f.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/5e06c2688d1a9bce28a5cc926a07fa5f.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13634","description":"

Cuphead

\n

Speaking of brutally hard, Cuphead is one of the top contenders. Don’t be fooled by its 1930s animated style as each level is infused with a devilishly hard boss to tackle.

\n

Despite the difficulty, discovering each boss, learning their patterns and eventually overcoming them is an immensely rewarding experience, making getting to the end a satisfying adventure.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/df10bf80ce8d45b86911e2750ef89f2e.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/df10bf80ce8d45b86911e2750ef89f2e.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13633","description":"

Celeste

\n

Not many Platformers come accompanied with an emotionally charged story, but Celeste not only manages to do that, but also manages to embed it into its gameplay.

\n

Exploring themes such mental health and anxiety, the trial and error gameplay lends itself beautifully to the narrative situations it puts the players through. For once, a game being brutally hard has an actual connotation and creates one of the best platformers ever made.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/52b922f4ba10bbe41d0dda0cd1a7cf62.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/52b922f4ba10bbe41d0dda0cd1a7cf62.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13632","description":"

Conker Live & Reloaded

\n

Another classic platformer by Rare, the loud mouthed squirrel offers something more adult for those who are fans of the genre.

\n

Live & Reloaded is an updated version of the original Nintendo 64 version and while some of the content was cut, it’s spirit remains intact.

\n

The Xbox Series X does a wonderful job of bolstering it to the point that it could pass as a modern day release. Enjoy its crude humor and inventive ways it works with the platforming genre.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0882c1aaf69300c43f6a734f38d24e29.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0882c1aaf69300c43f6a734f38d24e29.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13631","description":"

A Hat In Time

\n

Invoking inspirations from industry titans such as Super Mario 64, A Hat In Time quickly manages to be so much more. The genre shifting adventure at one minute can be a fantastical platforming adventure, before turning into a murder mystery.

\n

Running throughout all of this is an enormously fun platforming adventure that you won’t want end, even after you’ve collected all of the collectibles

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/736a527c89c5229761ee5cf3ffbd86b9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/736a527c89c5229761ee5cf3ffbd86b9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13626","description":"

Banjo-Tooie

\n

Not only one of the greatest platformers to play on the Xbox Series X, but one of the greatest of all time. Banjo-Tooie builds upon its predecessor with a vast, open-ended way of tackling its various, colorful worlds.

\n

Each corner is brimming with personality and it’s collect-a-thon gameplay is addictive till the very end. Hopefully one day we receive another entry, until then, check out one of the original entries that defined the genre.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0c9892c6f2b068c25f87f97bf334e6b9.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/0c9892c6f2b068c25f87f97bf334e6b9.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13630","description":"

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

\n

Following on from the absolutely wonderful Ori and the Blind Forest, the sequel manages to create something truly special. It was always going to be hard following on from the original, but Ori and the Will of the Wisps does it with ease, with a breakneck pace that gives you more toys to play with at a faster rate.

\n

Accompanied by a beautiful art style and emotional storyline, it’s hard not be enamored the moment the game starts.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/94eddb9d3f56177783a380191f04a128.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/94eddb9d3f56177783a380191f04a128.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13629","description":"

Spyro Reignited Trilogy

\n

Speaking of classic platforming heroes returning, the Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a perfect example of another franchise being given a new lease of life.

\n

Massively easier than the Crash Bandicoot Trilogy, each game builds upon the previous with new mechanics, finer level design and more collectibles than you can imagine.

\n

Those with a 4K TV will also love the use of Auto HDR from the Xbox Series X, which makes each frame absolute ooze with detail.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/41ca4cd71713c74df10e4ab065feb821.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/41ca4cd71713c74df10e4ab065feb821.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13625","description":"

Psychonauts

\n

With the sequel making its way to the Xbox family next year, there’s never been a better time to dive into the weird and wonderful original version of Psychonauts, which is available via backwards compatibility.

\n

Even now its unique art style makes it an absolutely charming experience, blending classic platformer influences with an essence of Tim Burton. Not only that, but it’s emotionally charged story is an absolute treat. Check it out ahead of the sequel.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/52686c1432d7f90e623b0abdd353560d.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/52686c1432d7f90e623b0abdd353560d.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13628","description":"

Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time

\n

It’s unfortunate that Crash Bandicoot 4 was met with poor sales, as the game is actually a phenomenal step up for the original trilogy. Building on every facet possible, the pitch perfect controls, vibrant worlds and fantastic level design come together in one lengthy package.

\n

With an array of mirrored levels, gauntlets designed for genre veterans and a plethora of unlocks led, it’s the gift that keeps on giving and one that deserves more attention.

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d6647c5df5fdf413486eec65733e11e8.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinny/d6647c5df5fdf413486eec65733e11e8.jpg","type":"youtube","id":"13627","description":"

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy

\n

It’s no surprise that the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is difficult, brutally difficult intact. Yet, there’s something compelling about its loop that keeps you coming back for more. Containing the original three games, the whole package is here before, with a brand new coat of paint.

\n

While it doesn’t bring anything entirely new to the table, it manages to capture the sense of nostalgia whilst also feeling modernized. It would only be later another game would build upon it…

"},{"image":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_360,w_640/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/platformers-9ef80.jpg","thumb":"https://res.cloudinary.com/lmn/image/upload/c_limit,h_85,w_97/e_sharpen:100/f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto/v1/gameskinnyc/p/l/a/platformers-9ef80.jpg","type":"slide","id":"217468","description":"

Just got an Xbox Series X for Christmas? No doubt you're looking for some sweet new games to play on your new console. 

\n

One genre that's stuck with gaming since the beginning is platforming and the genre resurgence over the past few years and the Xbox brand is home to many iconic heroes, some of which are exclusive to the system.

\n

From fast paced 2D platformers to open-world 3D platformers with worlds begging to be explored, each of these games manages to balance something new and old to create a truly special experience. 

\n

So without further ado, check out this list of 15 platformers available on the Xbox Series X. Most are Xbox One titles, but some Xbox 360 and even Xbox titles made the list.

"}]]]>
How to Find Howl's Fang in Ori and the Will of the Wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/hckof/how-to-find-howls-fang-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/hckof/how-to-find-howls-fang-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps Mon, 14 Dec 2020 11:27:29 -0500 John Schutt

There are so many secrets to find in Ori and the Will of the Wisps and plenty of quests that point you to those secrets. One of the first “hidden” items you’ll be tasked with finding in Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the Howl’s Fang for Mokk the Brave.

This is part of the quest " A Little Braver, and finding the Howl’s Fang isn’t too difficult. You can get the item early on, so long as you make a point to fetch it. If you're having trouble locating it, the quick guide below tells you everything you need to know. 

How to Find Howl's Fang

Fight Howl, Get Double Jump

Past the Ori and the Will of the Wisps prologue, you’ll arrive in Inkwater Marsh. Your only option will be heading to your right, where you’ll eventually run into the great beast Howl, who will chase you to a campfire.

Pick up the torch and fight off Howl. From there, progress through the game until you find Spirit Edge and descend into the Howl’s Den section of the Marsh.

One of the two paths at the bottom of the chasm is blocked by a Keystone door, so head right until you reach a way down. Use the save point as a waypoint, and jump across to a long path leading left. Continue going left until you reach a Spirit Tree. Commune with it to receive Double Jump.

Backtrack for Howl’s Fang

Double Jump will allow you to head back toward the top of Inkwater Marsh. You’ll find a Moki named Mokk the Brave just to the right of the intersection where you ran from Howl. Speak to him to receive the “A Little Braver” quest, which asks you to find a Howl Fang.

Mokk will tell you he heard the howler fighting to the east, so make your way back to the Howl boss room to the right and use Double Jump to ascend past the arena.

You’ll come to an orange and green room with multiple hanging platforms and death vines on the floor. Jump across until you reach a set of branches holding up an item. This is Howl’s Fang. Run over it to place it in your inventory and head back to Mokk the Brave to complete the quest.

That’s everything you need to know about how to get Howl’s Fang early on in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. If you found this guide helpful, consider giving it a share! 

]]>
Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Best Abilities and Upgrades https://www.gameskinny.com/isn4e/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-best-abilities-and-upgrades https://www.gameskinny.com/isn4e/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-best-abilities-and-upgrades Mon, 16 Mar 2020 22:25:20 -0400 John Schutt

As we discussed in our Ori and the Will of the Wisps review, traversal and combat are better here than they ever were in Blind Forest. Plus, Moon Studios added a ton of new abilities and upgrades players can use to make themselves even more powerful. 

This guide will show you which of these new tools are the best of the best, where you can find them, and why they stand above the rest.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps: Best Abilities and Upgrades

Twillen in the Wellspring Glade.

Triple Jump

There's nothing like a straight upgrade, and Triple Jump is as simple and powerful an improvement as it sounds. The only catch is that it's expensive. You'll need 2,000 Spirit Light Orbs to buy it, and you won't have that until Twillen (the merchant shown above) moves to the Wellspring Glade. 

You won't regret the extra time you'll need to take to make the extra cash. Triple Jump makes much of the game exponentially more manageable, and just as much more enjoyable. 

Finesse 

Another Twillen purchase, Finesse is another straight upgrade, though not quite so reliable as Triple Jump. It gives you a 10% chance to do 50% more damage. When upgraded, that percentage jumps to 20%, or one out of every five hits. That might seem like too few at first, but when you'll be hitting most bosses several dozen times, the bonus damage adds up faster than you'd expect.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps ancestral light location map.

Ancestral Light

Here's another flat upgrade: Ancestral Light gives you 25% increased damage, full stop. Don't think you'll make this ability part of your arsenal without working for it, though.

You'll need to complete one of Will of the Wisps' most complex puzzles to acquire it. Or should I say, you'll have to complete the puzzle backward. Let's look at how to solve it below.

Play the song backwards to solve the puzzle and get the ability, ancestral light.

The stones in the image above represent musical notes, and the flowers to the right of the stones each play an individual note. The stone's height corresponds to the depth of the note, and the shape on the stone represents each note's length. You'll have to be quick, accurate, and, most of all, musically inclined. 

Completing the puzzle earns you entrance to the Burrows. Doing it backward rewards Ancestral Light and the knowledge you have a good ear.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps resilience Inkwater March location map.

Resilience

One of the earlier upgrades you'll find in Will of the Wisps, Resilience is in the Inkwater Marsh. It's yet another flat upgrade (yes, there's a pattern here), giving you a 10% reduction in damage from all sources.

You can upgrade Resilience four times for a total of 1,600 Spirit Light Orbs, giving you a whopping 30% damage reduction from all sources. This ability is more useful for the early game or on harder difficulties, but you can't beat just tanking attacks that would otherwise kill you.

Jump over the water in Inkwater March to get resilience.

If you want it at this early stage, you'll need to make use of the blue moss and carefully time your jumps over the deadly thorns. If you've not purified the water yet, don't fall into the pink stuff, either. That's a quick way back to the checkpoint. 

Magnet ability location map.

Magnet 

Magnet is more of a quality-of-life upgrade, as it increases the screen distance you'll pull in health and energy orbs. It starts at 50% increased distance, then goes to almost full-screen by it's third upgrade. 

This ability is most useful in boss fights and during tough, ability-based platforming challenges. You won't have to worry as much about collecting health and energy orbs, ensuring you can stay on the move as much as possible.

Go past the spirit edge ability tree in Inkwater March to find Magnet.

You'll find Magnet in Inkwater Marsh, just past the Spirit Edge ability tree. Keep heading to the right and up from said tree, and you'll arrive at a brief platforming section where you'll make a Z shape upwards. Eventually, you'll reach the area shown above. 

Catalyst ability location Baur's Reach.

Catalyst

Both this upgrade and the next (Spirit Surge) are later-game abilities. You need the Light Burst ability to reach it from the Wellspring Glades, but it's worth the wait.

Catalyst is another quality of life upgrade, as it turns a portion of your melee damage into energy. It's improved form increases the amount of energy recovered. This ability will come in especially handy during boss fights when you'll be spending a lot of your time wailing on their health bars. Couple it with Magnet, and energy will rarely be a problem.

Catalyst location in near the frozen hearth.

To acquire Catalyst, head to the top right of Wellspring Glades until you see an NPC with a pot. Go past the NPC until you see a frozen hearth. Light it, then swim down and to the left, revealing a secret area with the upgrade shard.

---

If you're looking to up your power and general effectiveness in Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the abilities and upgrades listed above are your go-to sources for both. We could spend ages talking movement tech, efficient use of energy, and other general skills, but those are often better built on your own. 

]]>
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review: Discovering Destiny https://www.gameskinny.com/fro1u/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-review-discovering-destiny https://www.gameskinny.com/fro1u/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-review-discovering-destiny Wed, 11 Mar 2020 10:16:38 -0400 John Schutt

Ori and the Will of the Wisps builds on everything that made its predecessor a beautiful, challenging Metroidvania.

The game has what you've come to expect from Moon Studios: amazing visuals and a moving, technical masterpiece of a soundtrack. It has the movement and tight controls you'll need to conquer its new world, too, and there are welcome surprises, as well: a combat overhaul, mechanically challenging boss fights, and plenty of new abilities and environments to test your skills.

Will of the Wisps is, in short, better than the original in almost every way. Its story remains somewhat rote, and much of the game creates an illusion of choice rather than offering real choice to the player. Don't worry, though; these minor scuffs do not dampen the game's shine much at all.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a gem, and it's one you won't regret adding to your collection.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review: Discovering Destiny

This game is too beautiful for words, but I'll try. 

The first thing you'll see when you boot up Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the peerless artistic style Moon Studios is now famous for. A dusky sky overlooks a vast forest, a great tree stands tall, shining lifegiving light onto all who can see it. 

The game then wastes no time showing off how much it's grown since Blind Forest. The color palette in Will of the Wisps is much broader than the one found in its predecessor, and as such, it opens up opportunities for new environments, new systems, and enough eye candy to put anyone in a permanent sugar coma.

Will of the Wisps takes place across every zone type you can imagine: water, snow, desert, swamp, forest, ashen wasteland — you name it, it probably has some representation here. The developers spared no expense in making sure each one of them is in stark contrast to all the others. No matter where you are or what you're doing, you and everything around you will look great doing it.

That's not to say there aren't some genuinely gloomy and depressing locations scattered throughout the world. The ashen graveyard is a reminder of how much the world's lost, and what might be at stake should you fail in your quest. In its desolation, there is perspective.

Gareth Coker, the composer for the Ori franchise, worked hard to ensure you'll hear the desolation, too. Even the main menu screen sounds somber and distant. Then there are the levels where hope lives, and their sound is airy, bright, and filled with a lingering sense that even at the worst of times, there is something to cherish.

The game's water level, in particular, strikes me as something Coker and his orchestra enjoyed creating immensely. The upbeat melodies jive perfectly with the blue waters and bright skies. The innumerable thorns are only a mild irritation in the face of a soundtrack this good.

It's a nice problem to have, actually. There are parts of Will of the Wisps that are horrendously difficult, requiring precise timing and control to complete without dying. They can be frustrating to fail over and over again.

There were several points during my playthrough that would have ended my session in any other game. 

Not in Ori. The music is good enough that I powered through the tough parts just to hear the strings swell or the horns take over. I'd even go so far as to say that the music in these games is a gameplay mechanic all its own.

In a Dark Souls game, all you have is the memory of your failure to keep you company as you make your way back to your bloodstain. In Ori, you have a lovingly crafted orchestration pushing you forward and celebrating with you when you succeed. 

Suffice to say, Ori music good. Listen more.

Going to War

There are many great things about Ori and the Blind Forest. Combat, however, is not one of them. Engagements boil down to spamming a button over and over again when you're somewhere close to an enemy, maybe using an ability or two to spice things up. 

Enemies aren't challenging once you know their attacks, and avoiding them is even easier than fighting them. There is little incentive to master any particular skill beyond maximizing your damage and your ability to maneuver-dodge telegraphed attacks. 

In Will of the Wisps, that all changes.

Your first ability is a fast-striking melee attack that does decent damage in a four-hit combo that has knockback. It's possible to fight through the entire game with just this one ability, not that you will. 

Other abilities augment this core skill, provide additional opportunities for damage, affect the environment, or even change how you move around the level. 

You'll need every advantage, too, because enemies in Will of the Wisps are more mobile, deal more damage, and can take more punishment than you might expect.

Standard enemy fare has nothing on this game's boss fights, however. All of them require you to use the key zone ability in new and inventive ways to survive, all while dealing damage and avoiding it yourself. Fights are often riddled with hazards, and the bosses each have significant health pools. Taking a cue from Souls-likes, you won't be beating these bosses your first go around. 

You'll need to learn their phases first. Each boss has at least two, and as you progress through the game, you'll be using more and more of your kit to work through them. 

Satisfying Traversal

The same is true for how you move about the levels. Each zone has a key ability you'll use more than any other, but by game's end, you'll be asked to use everything in your arsenal to navigate. 

Thankfully, each movement upgrade is as satisfying to use as the last. And their effectiveness stacks across zones. Act 2 of Will of the Wisps is a more open affair than its first, and what you learn in one of the required zones will carry you farther in the ones you've not yet visited. 

Don't think all this tech is just for the various platforming challenges, either. The escape sections from Blind Forest make a return in Will of the Wisps, and they're as treacherous as you might remember from the first game. That is, no checkpoints, no saves. It's just you, a horrible monster, and about a minute of high-intensity platforming, give or take. 

The whole affair is a stress-fest, but thanks to the music and tight controls, you can and will eventually flee, and you'll feel incredible for having done so.

A Few Cracks

Sadly, Ori's blemishes stand out as much as its beauties. They don't ruin the experience. Far from it. It's just that everything else is so well done that you can't help but to see where the game falters.

First, let's talk narrative.

In Blind Forest, we spent the first seven or so minutes with some of the most heart-wrenching storytelling of the time. The conceit was simple: the loss of a parent in lean times forces a weak child from the nest. Yet it was this simplicity that allowed for the scene's nearly flawless execution, followed so poorly by a standard Metroidvania experience. 

Moon Studios heard the complaints and made their best attempt to act on the criticism. Instead of forcing emotions down our throats at the get-go, in Will of the Wisps, the story spans the whole game, told through in-engine cutscenes and gameplay sections.

An admirable effort, but sadly hampered by the somewhat mediocre storytelling. You can predict the "twists" from at least 10 miles away, and all the talk of light and hope quickly grows tiresome.

The characters don't offer any surprises either, nor do the big narrative beats. Everything happens how you think it will, and choice isn't the player's prerogative. 

My only other big complaint about Will of the Wisps is its sheer reliance on platforming challenges to fill content. The combat systems are so good, but beyond grinding for currency or collectibles, they're only good for boss fights. You would almost be better served ignoring enemies entirely and focusing on the platforming if they weren't always getting in the way.

I'm also sad that the first act is as linear as it is. We've seen a lot of great Metroidvania titles since Blind Forest, and many of them offer the player a lot of control over where they go and when. The first third of Will of the Wisps learned nothing, instead keeping the player to a reasonably clear critical path.

The second act isn't nearly so linear, but the feeling of being led by the nose is never a good one.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps Review — The Bottom Line

Pros
  • Gorgeous world, music, and animations
  • Satisfying mechanics that reward skill and clever play
  • Expansion and improvement of just about everything from the first game
Cons
  • Endless platforming puzzles and challenges
  • Rote story and lacking characters

If you want to play a beautiful, often difficult Metroidvania with some of the most satisfying combat and traversal mechanics the genre has to offer, Ori and the Will of the Wisps will give you plenty to be excited about.

It has its flaws, but none of them get in the way of this being one of the better games to come out in an already-packed 2020.

[Note: A copy of Ori and the Will of the Wisps was provided by Microsoft for the purpose of this review.] 

]]>
Ori and the Will of the Wisps Escapes the Quagmire of Delay https://www.gameskinny.com/qzjkb/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-escapes-the-quagmire-of-delay https://www.gameskinny.com/qzjkb/ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps-escapes-the-quagmire-of-delay Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:10:39 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Ori and the Will of the Wisps has officially gone gold, according to Moon Studios. That means it's all set for its promised March 11 release for Xbox One and PC.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is the follow-up to 2015's successful Ori and the Blind Forest, and it's been in development since 2017. Originally set for a 2019 release, Will of the Wisps was delayed twice along the way, most recently at The Game Awards 2019.

However, going gold means the game's reached its shippable, final form and won't encounter any more production issues along the way, unlike some other games we could mention.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps follows the light spirit Ori on its journey of self-discovery. Along the way, there will, of course, be the massive foes, tight platforming, and gorgeous environments we've come to expect from Moon Studios.

Yes, it's yet another March title — but it's one we're more than happy to have vying for our attention in that busy month.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Ori and the Will of the Wisps as it swings our way.

]]>
Creating a Stronger Narrative in Ori and the Will of the Wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/6p9y6/creating-a-stronger-narrative-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps https://www.gameskinny.com/6p9y6/creating-a-stronger-narrative-in-ori-and-the-will-of-the-wisps Thu, 23 Jan 2020 17:58:59 -0500 John Schutt

Few games in recent memory have had the kind of emotional gut-punch as Ori and the Blind Forest.

The first seven minutes is a heartwrenching sequence that can leave players in tears. It effectively sets a game filled with memorable, heartstring-pulling moments. It also creates an expectation that players will experience additional heartache later in the story.

Though, that's not what happens. Despite a beautiful art style, fantastic music, and quality Metroidvania design, Ori quickly devolves into a well-constructed but narratively-lacking game.

In just a few months, we'll be treated to a new tale with Ori at its center: Ori and the Will of the Wisps. The sequel looks to double down on the early promise of Blind Forest, with its focus on Ori's need to protect a child of his own.

The question becomes: how can Will of the Wisps avoid the mistakes of the past?

The Failed Setup

For some perspective, here's how Ori and the Blind Forest opens.

The story is straightforward enough. Ori, a young fragment of the Spirit Tree, finds his way into the care of a creature Naru, who adopts him and raises him as her own. Together, they build a life of peace and happiness, until one day, the fruit they relied on to live begins to run short. 

Naru foregoes eating for Ori's sake, assuring him that she's fine and can live with less. Ori begins exploring for food a little farther afield, returning home with a meager but welcome relief from their hunger. Instead of finding Naru awaiting him, starving but happy, he finds that she's passed away from starvation in his absence.

Ori has no idea what to do, or really what it is he's looking at. He nudges Naru again and again, hoping for some response. In despair, he eats the last of the fruit he found and settles down to die beside his mother. 

Just before leaving this life himself, Ori awakens to a sound outside his den, and in short order finds himself on a journey to not only save himself but the world at large.

Where to Start

It might seem counterintuitive, but I think Will of the Wisps needs to start the same way as Blind Forest: with a few tear-jerking moments to set the pace. Part of the reason I kept playing the first game was to see if it ever reached the narrative payoff those first moments set up. 

While I don't think the opening cutscene needs to be seven minutes long, it needs to focus on Ori and his new charges: a single owlet orphaned due in some part by Ori himself.

We need to see not only Ori's lingering guilt at what saving the world did to these newborns but also his determination not to fail them.

It also needs to be clear that the owlet is initially unaware of what orphaned them, and that their trust in Ori is absolute. Such a setup ensures the inevitable showdown between the foster parent and his children, and a possibility for reconciliation.

Ori also needs to appear unsure about his fitness to raise his chosen children in a world where death and suffering await around every corner. Creating that kind of moment is no small feat, but one option is to have Ori alone, clearly contemplating the journey ahead of him, reflecting on the past and what his experiences taught him the first time he had to leave the safety of his home.

How to Improve

Once Ori and the owlet set out, Will of the Wisps should not devolve into a standard Metroidvania experience. Nor, however, should it be a continuous escort quest. Instead, Ori and his charges should find ways to work together to solve problems.

Such a setup should put the owlet in danger that requires Ori's help, but never often enough that the situation loses its emotional punch.

I don't think the first time that happens warrants a cutscene on its own, either. Rather, one should occur the first time Ori is genuinely helpless to save the creature he's sworn to protect. I'm not sure whether I want that owlet to die or not, because such a move can sometimes feel like a cop-out.

Of course, if Ori can get the owlet out of any situation, that has problems of its own. They need to become self-sufficient, and I expect there to be at least one sequence where we control them in some fashion, either to save Ori himself or to find a way to help him. 

If we do get something like that, I think it necessary that the owlet learns of their past, or at least have some moment of reflection about their current situation. Any child who looks different from their parent begins at some point to question their heritage.

We're lucky, then, that the world of the Ori franchise is filled with ancient magic and fantastical creatures. We know Ori and the owlet come across some forgotten ruin telling his mother's story or that of his race's past. He might also find some hidden secret about Ori and his creator, the Spirit Tree.

In any event, there needs to be some conflict between adopted parent and child, and it needs to play out through gameplay. A chase would be the most likely avenue for such a situation, but some sort of non-combat boss fight might also be interesting.

It should be clear by this moment's end that the trust and love between Ori and the owlet is vulnerable to shattering. Were I in charge of the story, reconciliation would be impossible. The gulf created by earlier events should be too high.

Story beats like those above should be a mix of cutscene and gameplay, though I think Will of the Wisps could undoubtedly do with additional cutscenes. One of the strengths of the opening to Blind Forest was its focus on straight storytelling. Players could identify with the characters because their struggles were familiar, without the trappings of a vast fantasy world to burden them.

Will of the Wisps needs to recapture some of that magic. Give us a few three-to-five minute story sections where the difficult platforming and beautiful world take second fiddle to quiet character-building moments.

Another weakness of Blind Forest was how little we got to know Ori himself. He's determined, of course, and driven, capable and caring, but what he wants, what he cares about, his hopes and dreams — we lack the core concepts that define him.

Will of the Wisps has a chance to explore these topics in real detail, and additional cutscenes are a great way to accomplish that. Ori himself needs to be more emotive in gameplay, as well. Let him react to the challenges that face him, to the damage he causes, or the creatures he has to kill. Maybe his design changes as the story goes on, growing wearier and beaten down.

Part of me wants the game to end with Ori's death, or at least some sort of personal sacrifice, maybe as penance for what he perceives as transgressions. The ending ought to be hopeful, admittedly, but it should not come without cost.

Nothing ever does.

Seven Minutes

We'll see if Will of the Wisps can build on both the solid gameplay and the narrative punch of its predecessor's introduction. It could yet be that developers are more concerned with a good core loop than they are in building a memorable narrative. Something tells me, though, that there'll be more going on than just a beautiful Metroidvania game.

Whether developers can pull it off is another matter. Ori and the Will of the Wisps is set to release on March 11 for PC and Xbox One. 

]]>
Mark Your Calendars: Every Release Date Announced at E3 2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/ad6d6/mark-your-calendars-every-release-date-announced-at-e3-2019 https://www.gameskinny.com/ad6d6/mark-your-calendars-every-release-date-announced-at-e3-2019 Fri, 14 Jun 2019 14:32:51 -0400 Mark Delaney

At E3, it's not just about the games we can play. It's just as much about when we can play them. E3 2019 was no different.

With hundreds of games shown off on stage and at the show floor in Los Angeles, it can be dizzying to keep up with every launch window and specific release date announced at E3, so we've done the hard part for you.

Use our recap of every release date announced at E3 2019 to see just when you'll be calling in sick to work over the next several months. 

June 2019
  • The Last Remnant Remastered (Switch): June 10 
  • Collection of Mana (Switch): June 11
  • Contra Anniversary Collection (Switch): June 11
  • Cadence of Hyrule (Switch): June 13
July 2019
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (Switch): July 19
  • Wolfenstein: Youngblood (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): July 16
August 2019
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): August 6
  • Oninaki (Switch): August 22
  • Astral Chain (Switch): August 30
  • Blair Witch (Xbox One, PC): August 30
September 2019
  • Conan Chop Chop (Mobile): September 3
  • Gears of War 5 (Xbox One, PC): September 10
  • Daemon X Machina (Switch): September 13
  • Police Stories (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC): September 19
  • The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch): September 20
  • Contras Rogue Corps (Switch): September 24
  • Code Vein: September 27th
  • Dragon Quest 11 S: Echoes of an Elusive Age (Switch): September 27
  • FIFA 20 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch): September 27
October 2019
  • Ghost Recon Breakpoint (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 4
  • The Outer Worlds (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC) - October 25
November 2019
  • Death Stranding (PlayStation 4): November 8
  • Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): November 15
  • Doom Eternal (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): November 22
Note: No New Dates Announced for December 2019 or January 2020
February 2020
  • Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Xbox One, PC): February 11
  • Gods and Monsters (PlayStation 4, Xbox One Switch, PC, Stadia): February 25
March 2020
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake (PlayStation 4): March 3
  • Watch Dogs: Legion (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): March 3
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Switch): March 20
April 2020
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC): April 16
May 2020
  • Marvel's Avengers (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia): May 15
Holiday 2020
  • Halo Infinite (Project Scarlett)
2020 (Unspecified)
  • Crossfire X (Xbox One)
  • Dragon Ball Kakarot (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Dying Light 2 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
  • Tales of Arise (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)

As you can expect, this calendar will be further filled in as months go on, but even right now, there's quite a range and number of major releases headed our way. Which games have you marking your calendar?

Be sure to check out our complete 2019 release calendar to see all of the games releasing this year. 

]]>
E3 2019 Microsoft Press Conference Recap: Team Xbox Unveils Project Scarlett and a Whole Lot of Game Pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass https://www.gameskinny.com/9eg1g/e3-2019-microsoft-press-conference-recap-team-xbox-unveils-project-scarlett-and-a-whole-lot-of-game-pass Sun, 09 Jun 2019 20:47:53 -0400 Mark Delaney

Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference just wrapped after nearly two hours of new trailers for games like Gears 5 and Halo Infinite, world premieres for games like Miyazaki and Martin's collaborative Elden Ring, and more than a little bit of info on the next Xbox, which is now officially being referred to as "Project Scarlett," after rumors have long suggested so.

If you missed the whole show or maybe just bits and pieces of it in your excitement we've recapped every moment, every reveal, and every trailer into this handy round-up. Of course, if you'd rather watch it all from start to finish yourself, that's fine too. Check that out below!

If you want to take it bit by bit with us, here's literally everything Microsoft announced at E3 2019.

The Outer Worlds

The Xbox presser kicked off with the next game from one of their new first-party studios, Obsidian Entertainment. While the space RPG The Outer Worlds isn't being published by Microsoft — it was already in development from 2K's Private Division label before the 2018 acquisition it will still be premiering in Xbox Game Pass at launch, the same as so many more games to come in this roundup, as you'll see.

The trailer avoids the game's cynical humor for the most part and depicts a more serious version of the capitalist hellhole the game was made famous for when it debuted last December. You can look forward to playing the game on October 25.

Bleeding Edge

Following quickly from The Outer Worlds, two of Ninja Theory's developers came to the stage to introduce their next game, Bleeding Edge. If you think of a melee-focused Overwatch, you're not far off. The game was in development before Microsoft came calling with big wads of cash, so the June 27 technical alpha may seem like a quick turnaround, but really this has been their project for a few years already.

Bleeding Edge pits two teams of four into maps that seem conducive to many playstyles, which should benefit players no matter which of the many teased heroes from the new trailer above. Like The Outer Worlds, it'll launch directly into Game Pass at an unannounced date.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Before we had even seen Phil Spencer hit the stage, a third Xbox Game Studios project came to the stage. The Ori sequel delivered a new trailer that showed off a ton of new environments and several enemy types that are hopefully bosses otherwise, Ori may be vastly unprepared if these behemoths are to be commonplace.

It launches on February 11, 2020 -- and yes, directly into Game Pass too.

Minecraft Dungeons

One of two new games in the Minecraft universe coming soon (though the only one shown on stage at the presser), Minecraft Dungeons' trailer highlighted brand new gameplay moments, including character loadouts, combat, and four-player co-op, which can be played either locally or online. It didn't get a firm release date but it did get a window of spring 2020.

I bet you can guess whether it's coming to Game Pass day and date with retail. If you're really stuck, here's a spoiler: it is.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

As promised, Jedi: Fallen Order made its second appearance in as many days on a pre-E3 stage. This time, new gameplay segments were shown off in the trailer on Xbox's stage, including more interaction with a familiar character from the film's universe. Remember, the game is officially canon now. Take that, Force Unleashed! 

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order arrives this year on November 15.

Blair Witch

After the power fantasy of Star Wars concluded, it was time to flip game mechanics on their head with a horror game that leaves you almost completely helpless.

What looked a bit like Outlast 3 at first was soon revealed to be Blair Witch, a first-person horror adventure from Bloober Team, the same studio behind recent horror games Observer and Layers of Fear.

Though it's not a first-party title, Blair Witch will be coming directly to Xbox Game Pass on August 30.

Cyberpunk 2077

After last year's exciting stinger, CD Projekt Red returned to the Xbox stage and they brought John Wick with them. Well, sort of. Revealed at the end of the trailer above, Keanu Reeves is portraying a character in the much-anticipated cyberpunk title.

He took to the stage to reveal the game's release date too. Despite what we heard about the game being too powerful for current generation consoles, Cyberpunk 2077 hits next spring, April 16, 2020, on all the platforms you'd expect.

Spiritfarer

Yet another Game Pass-at-launch title is this indie, Spiritfarer, which bills itself as a "cozy management game about dying." Well, okay then. Seems like a strange, almost contradictory setup, but I bet that's the point. get comfy with losing your loved ones, folks. This is going to be cathartic.

No release date was given yet, but the trailer does offer some cool gameplay detailing how you can customize your boathouse together with your everpresent cat companion.

Battletoads

"Do you have Battletoads?" Yes, and so will Game Pass at launch. The revived brawler from yesteryear only got a teaser last year and didn't show us any gameplay, so this cartoony melee combat is our very first look at what the hokey series can be in a contemporary setting. It feels like a game that knows it's absurd and that's exactly how you'd want it to be.

No release date was given just yet, so maybe keep calling your local game retailer for now.

The Legend of Wright

One of the cool things Microsoft has done a lot lately is make time on their massive stage for some tiny games. Hand-drawn indie The Legend of Wright is another example of that. The shifting aesthetics of the game are glorious and confusing at once. What's going on in this one?

We can't be sure yet, but we'll find out when it launches in 2020.

ID@Xbox Sizzle Reel

Speaking of indies, the annual ID@Xbox sizzle reel was up next and showed off over a dozen games, all of which will be you guessed it coming to Xbox Game Pass on their respective launch dates.

One of them, Riverbond, is even out today. I know because my wife and I spent all of our morning before the show playing it. It's fun! Check out the trailer for the rest of the games.

20+ Game Pass Titles Added Today

I don't know if you've heard by now, but Microsoft has this service called Game Pass...

Yeah, even more Xbox Game Pass titles were announced, all of which came to the service today. Big hitters like Batman: Arkham Knight and Metro Exodus were supplemented by indies like Hollow Knight and Old Man's Journey. Here's the full list of what's new to Game Pass today:

  • ASTRONEER
  • Batman: Arkham Knight
  • Battle Chasers: Nightwar
  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection
  • Bridge Constructor Portal
  • Everspace
  • Guacamelee! 2
  • Hollow Knight
  • Lightspeed: Double Speer Edition
  • Metal Slug X
  • Metro Exodus
  • Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
  • Moonlighter
  • Neon Chrome
  • Old Man’s Journey
  • Riptide GP: Renegade
  • Riverbond 
  • Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun
  • Shenmue 1&2
  • Silence – The Whispered World 2
  • Smoke and Sacrifice
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • Supermarket Shriek 
  • Thimbleweed Park
  • The Turing Test
  • Wizard of Legend

Xbox Game Pass Comes to PC Today, Included in Game Pass Ultimate

As the company revealed last week, Game Pass is coming to PC. In fact, you can join the open beta today. The PC version will feature its own list of "over 100 games by August" including all Xbox Game Studios titles on day one just like its console counterpart. 

Subscribers to Game Pass Ultimate (Game Pass and Games with Gold combined) now also get Game Pass PC included with their $14.99/month subscription. You can also sign up for your first month of Game Pass Ultimate right now for $1.

MS Flight Sim

Coming directly to Game Pass PC, and seemingly consoles for the first time, is the latest edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The ever-popular sim has been a PC staple for years, and the trailer implied it'll be coming to Xbox One as well.

In the time since the trailer was shown, some are saying that's inaccurate, though Microsoft has said no such thing themselves yet.

Age of Empires II Definitive Edition

More surely coming just to PC is Age of Empires II Definitive Edition. You can see the remastered classic in action in this brand new trailer.

I probably don't need to say it again, but lest we forget, it's coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one next year. Who would've guessed it?

Wasteland 3

Another title from a newly acquired studio, Wasteland 3 continues Inxile's tradition of keeping CRPGs alive. This time it's to the cold Rocky Mountains of Colorado, giving an aesthetic makeover to the series.

Tonally, it's probably right where fans want it to be, with a similar humorous cynicism as The Outer Worlds from Obsidian and the previous Wasteland games.

Microsoft Acquires Double Fine Productions

Matt Booty twerked to the stage to reveal yet another Microsoft studio buyout. This time it was Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions.

The studio famous for games such as Psychonauts and Brutal Legend got to celebrate their new parent company with the first-ever gameplay trailer for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga

It was a bit weird when The Force Awakens got a LEGO game but The Last Jedi didn't. Well, now it has, along with every other mainline story in the Star Wars universe. 

The Skywalker Saga depicts all nine films, including the yet to be released Rise of Skywalker in brick and minifig form. It arrives next year, after the final movie in the Abrams run has made a billion dollars.

Dragon Ball Z Kakarot

Once known as Dragon Ball Project Z, the action RPG based on the hugely popular anime series is now Dragon Ball Z Kakarot. 

The combat of Kakarot resembled something closer to the past games in the series rather than last year's 2D fighter, though the label of "action RPG" should mean it's ultimately quite different from anything else in the franchise. It arrives in 2020.

12 Minutes

If I'm allowed to editorialize here (if you're reading this, I am!) 12 Minutes was one of the coolest reveals on stage during the Xbox show. Presented in top-down format, the entire game seems to take place in a small apartment where players control a man stuck in a Groundhog Day-like time loop, only it's one that tends to end much more tragically. 

I won't say anything else on it, as it's so stylish and well done, you should really see it for yourself.

Way to the Woods

Up next was Way to the Woods, an indie about a pair of deer, father and fawn, exploring a world, presumably to return to the woods. It has the air of a game that will be at different times uplifting and tragic, and it has me wondering which note it will end on.

*Gulp*

Stay safe, little deer!

Gears 5

The stage presence for Gears 5 was rumored to be heavy before the show, and it turns out that was correct. It got the longest time on screen of any game, featuring multiple trailers. The first, above, depicts the psychological tormet of new protagonist Kait Diaz. 

The game will be coming to Game Pass at launch on September 10, but you can access it four days early with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription or if you buy the game's Ultimate Edition.

The versus technical test will go live on July 19 during which time players can take part in a new arcade mode. Later this summer, beginning in August, players can regroup for an early look at the game's Horde mode. 

Rod Fergusson also hit the stage to unveil a brand new mode called Escape, which has players infiltrate an enemy encampment, plant a bomb, and escape amid the chaos.

Anyone who pre-orders the game or plays within the first week via purchase or Game Pass will also gain access to a character pack featuring a T-2000 robot from Terminator Dark Fate.

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Rumors of a new controller were loud for weeks and they were proven right on stage. Microsoft unveiled the Elite Series 2 controller, featuring "over 30" new ways to customize your experience, including new trigger sensitivity settings, new wraparound rubberized grip, and game profile settings that you can set for up to three games so each plays how you like it.

You can see all that and more in the tech-heavy trailer above.

Dying Light 2

Following the news that it's going to be published by Square Enix, Dying Light 2 got a new trailer during Microsoft's show which included a release date and some more pondering on how player choice affects the world.

You can play nice, be the bad guy, or (a gaming favorite) exist somewhere in the gray area when it hits stores next spring.

Forza Horizon 4 LEGO Speed Champions

Another one that was heavily rumored was the Forza DLC featuring LEGO. Right again! An all-brick McLaren Senna was this year's token on-stage vehicle and helped introduce players to Forza Horizon 4's second expansion: LEGO Speed Champions.

If you're a fan of both the game and the toys, it seems likely this partnership will extend to physical playsets in the near future just as it has when Forza teamed up with Hot Wheels.

Gears POP!

Returning to the stage after last year's reveal was Gears POP!, a mobile strategy game which brings together an unlikely pair of properties.

Pre-orders go live "soon" and players can pre-register (pre-pre-order?) the game starting today. 

State of Decay 2

We already knew State of Decay 2 was getting a Return to Trumbull Valley DLC. What we didn't know was it had been reworked or just expanded into the Heartland story DLC, which is out today for $9.99 and a 10% discount if you have Game Pass.

The DLC offers two parallel storylines featuring new characters in both cases. It seems likely their stories will converge, but thankfully we haven't been spoiled yet.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Japan's premiere online MMORPG is coming to Xbox as a free to play title next year. A new trailer highlighted a lot of the tropes we've come to expect from the genre like big hair and bigger swords, so even if you're new to the series, it may feel familiar.

Crossfire X

If you're going to go and get Japan's premiere MMO, why not snag China's premiere shooter too? That's what Team Xbox did with Crossfire X, a rebranding of China's most popular FPS. It's coming to Xbox next year and will launch directly into Game Pass.

They didn't reference it in the show, but this is also the game for which Remedy wrote the story content, so fans of their games may want to take a closer look when it arrives in 2020.

Tales of Arise

A new Tales game is coming, and that would've been a huge reveal if it wasn't for the fact that Bandai's site was scraped earlier this weekend and all their news were leaked.

Still, fans got the full trailer on all its glory. Watch it above if you're ready for another adventure.

Borderlands 3

A new stylish as ever trailer was shown for Gearbox's Borderlands 3 and it introduces the four primary character classes on offer in the third go-around.

What's even better is Gearbox confirmed the leaked Fight for Sanctuary DLC is real, out today, and free in Borderlands 2. The DLC is meant to bridge the gap between the last game and this September's so if you're one of the few in it for the story, this one is for you.

Elden Ring

Perhaps no game would've received bigger applause than this one if it weren't for the aforementioned Bandai Namco leak. The Miyazaki-George RR Martin collaboration, Elden Ring, is real.

No release date was mentioned, but the trailer definitely feels like something spun up from precisely these two creators, which makes for an extremely exciting prospect for fans of either and perhaps a literal dream come true for many who admire both men's work.

Project Scarlett Revealed

Phil Spencer then returned to the stage to discuss the future of Xbox. In the near term, your Xbox One will be updated this October to allow you to stream games completely for the first time ever. 

Speaking farther down the line, Spencer also introduced Project Scarlett, the next-gen Xbox project being built by the same team that created fan favorites such as the Xbox One X, the Elite controller, and more. He stressed it will be a games machine first and foremost, obviously still trying to clear away the smears left by Don Mattrick's failed vision. 

Together with AMD, his team has created a custom processor that is four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. Many of the project leaders are seen in the above trailer mentioning things like 8K resolution and near-total removal of loading screens.

The console will launch at the end of 2020. They chose to not yet confirm if there will really be two versions of the console as other rumors have stated, but we image a reveal event next spring may eventually tell us what's true or false in that regard.

Halo Infinite 

Though it's almost a year and a half away from launch, Project Scarlett has already been given its first launch title reveal, and what else would it be? 

Halo Infinite closed out the Microsoft E3 2019 press conference with an extended cinematic trailer featuring our hero, Master Chief, who awakens from near-death and immediately straps in for the fight. He doesn't waste any time, does he? 

That's everything from Microsoft's E3 2019 press conference. What was your favorite announcement?  

Be sure to check out our other E3 2019 coverage below: 

]]>
How Nintendo Changed the Meaning of Indie https://www.gameskinny.com/ugccx/how-nintendo-changed-the-meaning-of-indie https://www.gameskinny.com/ugccx/how-nintendo-changed-the-meaning-of-indie Tue, 09 Apr 2019 11:55:03 -0400 Michael House

Only one video game series lets me beat up industry icons like Pikachu and Donkey Kong as I play as Super Mario, the biggest icon of them all. Of course, this description can only fit Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. franchise. As absurd as its concept is, though, I’ve never thought twice about it  as with many other video game fans, the series has been a regular part of my life since childhood.

However, there’s something about the latest Super Smash Bros. entry that made me do a double take. As I struggled to take down an especially tough Zelda, I employed an assist trophy for help. Expecting a big-time video game character like Waluigi or Bomberman to appear from the trophy capsule, I instead got indie character Shovel Knight.

On top of being a popular fighting series, Super Smash Bros. serves as a  who’s who in video games. I was surprised, then, to see an indie game character alongside classic figures such as Mario and Zelda. Considering the current state of the industry, though, my surprise was unjustified, as to be indie no longer means to be separate from mainstream gaming.

Although Shovel Knight’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is indicative of the indie scene’s growing prominence, it’s also representative of why this trend exists  since the beginning of the Switch era, Nintendo has treated indie games with almost as much importance as its own franchises.

Such a focus on these games is not only evident in the Switch’s large number of indie games but also in Nintendo’s marketing operations. After its Switch Presentation in January 2017 left many wondering what other first-party games were in the system’s pipeline, some hoped for immediate answers. While a Nintendo Direct broadcast in the same month revealed Fire Emblem Warriors, the company had a different priority.

Shortly before the Switch’s launch, Nintendo aired a presentation similar to a Nintendo Direct but under a new label: Nintendo Switch Nindies Showcase. Rather than information about first-party games, this broadcast was dedicated to news regarding indie games bound for the system  and yes, Nintendo even created a word for indie titles available on its platforms.

Though this presentation was a first for the company, it was not the first indication the indie scene would play a major role in its plans for the Switch. As Nintendo made the system’s 2017 release schedule more transparent in early February, it became clear it wouldn’t come out with another major, non-port title until months after the launch of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. However, Nintendo made sure fans would still have many other games to play until the next first-party one.

While some of these games included third-party games from major publishers, nindies did more of the heavy lifting, as they not only outnumbered the former but also filled the Switch’s pressing genre gaps. For example, Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove made up for the absence of 2D platformers like Mario and Donkey Kong, and titles like World of Goo and Snake Pass gave players their puzzle game fix.

By letting these games provide the essential experiences that would otherwise be missing, Nintendo not only demonstrated its favor of the indie scene but also legitimized it.

As the company continued to foster the indie community via more Nindies Showcases and other promotions, it began to create a distinct identity for its new console. Whereas video game companies had traditionally flaunted the number of high-budget titles on their systems, Nintendo saw a selling point in the Switch’s growing indie catalog.

With one of the three main console makers treating indies as more than just supplementary content, these games gained exposure among video game fans at large, as the subsequent actions of the other console makers can attest.

For example, Microsoft’s heavy promotion of Cuphead shortly before its 2017 release would’ve been hard to believe if it weren’t for the indie scene’s heightened popularity  in previous years, such pride in a 2D, hand-drawn title as a console exclusive would’ve been unusual.

Additions to Xbox’s indie library continue to receive fanfare from Microsoft. In its 2018 E3 briefing, the company demonstrated its attitude toward these games by following the reveal for the major Halo Infinite with a trailer for the upcoming indie title Ori and the Will of the Wisps. Furthermore, it considered its acquisition of independent developer Compulsion Games so important it announced it during the presentation.

When it comes to Sony, the company’s free PlayStation Plus offerings reflect its increased focus on the indie scene. Considering its recent reduction of six free choices per month to two, many would assume it would prioritize AAA titles over indie ones. However, in both months since the reduction occurred, one of the two options has been an independent title. In the eyes of Sony, then, such games are of comparable value to that of their bigger-budget counterparts. 

Though Shovel Knight’s appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a clear manifestation of this entrance of indies into the mainstream, this phenomenon is most apparent in Nintendo’s announcement of Cadence of Hyrule in March. By allowing an indie developer to utilize elements of the classic Legend of the Zelda franchise in its own game, the company continues to show “indie” and “mainstream” are no longer opposite terms.

Currently, Nintendo shows no signs of slowing down its support of the indie community. As the Switch library develops further, it will be interesting to see how the company will keep pushing the envelope regarding the definition of “indie.”

In any case, though, it’s safe to say it’s already changed the name of the indie game.

]]>