The Xbox One may not have a lot in the way of exclusive exclusives anymore, sharing all of its games with the PC platform. That doesn't mean that it hasn't had fantastic games, even as it begins paving the way for the newer Xbox Series X. While many will think of Halo or Gears of War when they think of Xbox, one of the publisher's most endearing characters is rapidly becoming Ori.
Ori and the Will of the Wisps takes the foundation set by Ori and the Blind Forest and builds upon it in grand fashion. It's a far bigger Metroidvania than Blind Forest, taking players through new environments and intense new challenges. It's easy to let your guard down looking at the visuals. Ori's world is a level of beauty rarely achieved in video games. The natural lighting effects, both from the outdoor sun and the natural lighting inside the game's various caves, for example, are something to behold. Our own Chris Jarrard speaks more to the PC version's visuals in our review, but it's still a marvel to see on Microsoft's console.
But the world's visual splendor is partly there to ensure you let your guard down, because Will of the Wisps is tough as nails. There's serious challenge in Ori and the Will of the Wisps. There are platforming challenges, intricate puzzles, side-quests, speed trials, and some cruel death traps. Moon Studios took a step forward for the sequel, granting Ori some new moves and abilities, but the challenge level has ratcheted up, too. Don't let this world's brilliance fool you, it is brutal.
I haven't even gotten into this game's story and the way it tugs at the heartstrings. The Shacknews staff has had a lot to say about Ku, the owlet with a level of cuteness that rivals Baby Yoda. The story leaves its mark on you as it goes along and it's one that must be experienced.
The Xbox One had some hits and misses this year, but Ori doesn't just send the console off on a high note, it's probably one of the best games to ever grace it. That's why it's the Shacknews Best Xbox One Game of 2020.
Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.