OK, I finished Ori and the Blind Forest. Then I finished the sequel.

Final stats:

77% completion, 9:45:15 played, 478 deaths.  That’s one death every 73 seconds, which means that I started dying even faster towards the end.

I put off playing Ori for a long time, because it had a reputation for extreme difficulty and because its fan base was very vocal about how it was intentionally hard and how you weren’t entitled to finish every game and git gud and all that.

Fortunately, the developers decided that people who were not all that good at games ALSO liked to buy games, and that money was good, so the “Definitive Edition” adds an Easy mode. Not that it’s terribly easy, but apparently it adds some checkpoints in the middle of sequences that previously needed to be done in a single stretch.

Anyway, I’m not sure I could have made it through if it had been any harder, but it was a stunningly pretty game and I am glad that they put the mode for older gamers in.

The sequel came with an Easy mode from the get-go, and it was appreciated.  If I am to believe the in-game counter, I only died 138 times in the 14-and-a-bit hours it took me to finish the story and reach 80% completion.

I don’t actually believe the in-game counter.

Anyway, Ori 2 was even prettier than Ori the first, and had some really nice quality-of-life changes, like having checkpoints roughly every five seconds and much-improved fast travel.

Much like the first game, it revels in throwing crazy platforming challenges at you, to the point where you start thinking that you are obviously pulling off moves that are SO brilliant and SO inspired that you MUST be jumping and dashing and climbing your way into an optional secret area and then you discover that, no, it’s the way you were supposed to go and the optional secret area is actually on the other side of the screen behind the whirling flame blades.

That’s actually kind of fun!  Except for the bits when you get stuck somewhere for ages because you’re sure that you are getting closer to figuring out a tricky platforming bit and eventually you realize that the issue isn’t your platforming skills at all and that actually you needed to hit a switch or something.

That happened a few times.

It DOES have some performance issues, at least on console and even though I was playing on a One X.  Most of the issues seemed to come from the constant data streaming, so I recommend that you install it to your Xbox’s internal hard drive or to an external SSD.  It also crashed occasionally while loading the game, and it has some problems with achievements unlocking.

On the other hand, the cloud save syncing worked flawlessly and I was able to go back and forth between the Windows 10 version of the game and the Xbox version of the game seamlessly.

So.  Two games down, both quite fun, both maybe just a LITTLE harder than they really needed to be, I have a sense of accomplishment, AND I didn’t have to actually buy either because they’re both on Xbox Game Pass, which is turning out to be one of the best deals in recent memory.


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