Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition Reviews

  • LifeExpectancyLifeExpectancy1,672,302
    12 Mar 2016 17 Mar 2016
    39 9 2
    As beautiful as ever.As beautiful as ever.

    Those of you who know me, know that I am a huge fan of Ori and the Blind Forest. I heaped praise upon the original, despite some niggling flaws gamers weren't happy with, because no game is perfect, and it was close enough. I won't spend oodles of time going into great depth about the game in general, as that can all be found in my review of the original HERE. I will instead focus on the changes that were made, and how it has improved from the original release.

    For those new to the game, a brief summary: Ori and the Blind Forest is a platformer/metroidvania where players take control of the titular character, Ori, a forest spirit torn away from the Spirit Tree by a storm at the game's outset. The forest is dying, and Ori is out to save it, in a sense. The platforming elements are smooth and crisp, and you always feel as if your every twitch of a thumb is captured and faithfully recreated in the game. It's rare that a game has such precise controls, and they work flawlessly here.

    Although unforgiving for the novice, Ori's difficulty is fairly steady, meaning that once you gain practice, the deaths you may suffer don't feel cheap. It is a visually stunning masterpiece, with painstakingly hand-drawn art throughout, where no assets are re-used other than enemies and interactive objects. Each piece of the beautifully tiered backgrounds is original, unique. Check out the original game's review if you'd like a more in-depth look at the overall game. On to the DE changes...

    Once more unto the breach...Once more unto the breach...

    Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition brings with it all of Ori's original charm, with a few key changes and additions.

    First and foremost, a new area is included, Black Root Burrows. Upon entering, and within the area, players are given more insight into the game's lore via scenes akin to those included in the original. There are two distinct phases to this area, the first being a very dark platforming section where visual cues give you a sense of where to go. Once you've made it through, you'll gain one of the two new abilities, Dash, which will allow you to access the 2nd phase of the area. Here, you'll get more back story, as well as the 2nd of the two new abilities, Light Burst. The Light Burst ability can be used as a weapon or a tool, and is essential for 100% exploration. Some areas have now been walled off, and you must use Light Burst on hanging torches in order to remove the barricade nearby.

    Dash isn't essential for game completion, but adds a new layer of complexity to traversal and combat, and should make for some very interesting videos from the speed running community. While Black Root Burrows can be entered VERY early in the game, as all you only technically need Wall Jump to enter, it would behoove novice players to return to it at a later time. Its initial section may prove to be some quite challenging platforming when you don't have all of your abilities, especially Bash and Double Jump. You'll also need the Stomp ability to break through to the lower portion where the Light Burst ability resides. Spoiler-tagged shot from the latter half of the new area:

    *** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

    Another addition to the game is the difficulty modes. The original was a single difficulty, but the Definitive Edition has four modes: Easy, Normal (akin to the original), Hard, and One Life. One Life mode provides the ultimate test, as it restarts you back at the very beginning of the game if you die. You can save your game and return to it later, but said save file is reset to the beginning when you die. Both Hard mode and One Life mode have achievements tied to their completion, but with enough practice (and possibly some achievement hunter ingenuity), they can be bested.

    Added to the list of fan criticisms corrected in this edition, the ability to fast travel makes an appearance here. Players can warp from any Spirit Well they have accessed to any other Spirit Well. Not only that, but areas you have previously completed will now be able to be revisited, meaning that you don't have to worry about passing up collectibles or secret areas. To that note, a few of the collectibles have moved to new locations, and there are a handful of new Secret Areas to discover.

    This area should look familiar, but this is how it looks AFTER the escape.This area should look familiar, but this is how it looks AFTER the escape.

    Thanks to said backtracking addition, though, 100% map completion now requires you to obtain all of the items on the map in each area, even the smaller spirit energy orbs that weren't always necessary to collect in the original. Lastly, an expanded theater mode allows you to view all of the games cut scenes, as well as behind-the-scenes videos, promotional videos, and concept art. For die-hard Ori fans, the behind-the-scenes videos are especially appealing.

    As for achievements, as I mentioned the heavy hitters will be the Hard Mode and One Life Mode achievements. Other than that, the list is identical to the original, with a few minor additions such as using the new abilities Dash and Light Burst to kill enemies. Listening to achievement hunters' complaints, Moon Studios has also ensured that the secret areas faithfully register. If you have the achievement app snapped, you might not see the progress bar go up, but rest assured it is there. Just unsnap the app and re-snap it, and the progress bar for No Stone Unturned will have adjusted itself accordingly. It took me approximately 12 hours to get the full 1250gs, but I would estimate the completion more along the lines of 15-20 hours for most folks, assuming the workaround in my solution for Unhinged works.

    I've fallen in love all over again...
    Showing both comments.
    darthmarticusWas no fast travel really a complaint? I've never had fast travel in any of the metroidvania games I've played, would seem like cheating.
    Posted by darthmarticus on 17 Mar 16 at 18:09
    LifeExpectancyYeah it was a complaint by a vocal minority. Still, good of Moon to add it. We can choose not to use it, of course. ;)
    Posted by LifeExpectancy on 17 Mar 16 at 19:28
  • Uzumaki DKUzumaki DK290,466
    22 Mar 2017 17 Aug 2022
    5 2 0
    Ori and the Blind forest: Definitve Edition is my first encounter with Ori and the forest. When it launched to the Xbox One I stumbled across it and decided to play it - and I'm very happy for that. Here are my thoughts on the game.

    We follow the story of Ori, a tree spirit guardian, who fell from the Spirit Tree during a terrible storm. Ori is fortenately found, taken care of, and raised by a creature named Naru. An event suddenly happens and the forest is dying. You soon find that the Spirit Tree's light is stolen by no other than the giant bird, Karu. It is now up to you to return the light, save the forest, and find the reason for Karu's actions.

    The story is good and very sweet and as we play through the tale of Ori in the blind forest, we start to feel connected to the characters.

    Score: 4.5/5

    The game is a 2D platform game where you play as Ori with Sein as your companion, who guides you and is your weapon against creatures of the forest. You learn new features along your journey, such as double jump and wall climbing, by finding the light of other smaller trees. You also have the opportunity to upgrade your attributes by gaining XP points.

    It is fairly straight forward and easy to get started. You have a map you can use to see where your next stop is and find your way around, though you have to explore the areas before they are visible or find a map piece.

    The saving system is rather unique; you have to save the game manually by creating a saving portal. This needs to become a habit while playing, unless you're willing to play sequences over and over again - and you will die many times in your first playthrough. This is not a bad thing since it is nice to save your game whenever you want to.

    The game is challenging and and full of minor puzzles - simply how can we get from here to there. Ori is very fragile, so you have to be very precise at times and be calculated when you jump around or face an enemy. I especially liked the escape sequences where you have to run for your life. It gave me that feeling where I sat totally focused and thought to myself "this is pretty awesome".

    The bosses, although some may argue there is only one, were a little underwhelming. I think they could have done a little more for the player to get that satisfying feeling of victory.

    Score: 4/5


    Here is where the game truly shines. The graphics are art and music is awesome. Sometimes I would turn on the game just to hear the intro music. Considering the art style I have to give it full house, well done.

    Score: 5/5

    I am generally not a fan of games that forces you to complete it all over again multiple times, and this game falls into that category. Especially the achievement for completing the game on "One-life mode" is brutal and I have yet to achieve that after nearly 30 hours of total playing.

    Score: 3.5/5

    I enjoyed it, it was fun, beautiful, and challenging.

    Score: 4.5/5

    The game is a solid platform game, it's fun and player-friendly and has a lot of good things going on and I can definitely recommend it if you like platform games.

    + Good/sweet story and characters
    + Stunning graphics and music
    + Good difficulty (a little hard)
    - Hard achievements that requires multiple playthroughs
    - Bosses underwhelming/missing

    Final score: 4.5 (4.3 rounded up)

    Feedback is welcome.