This is a preliminary to a more in-depth article I might do later

It’s almost the end of the year, which for folks who play games mean one thing, among others: Game of the Year! award, list, nominations, et cetera.

I was planning to make one (with slots filled by The Final Station and Hyper Light Drifter and some), but then, after this semester’s classes are over and I actually have some free time to delve into games, I finally tried out Ori and the Blind Forest after a friend’s recommendation.

And this game just completely, utterly, throw all that nominations out of the water.

It’s a metroidvania game with a heartful story, gorgeous presentation, and solid, solid, so solid it’s shining, gameplay. It gets the basic right: controls, feedback, level design. I’m kind of too tired to really make a write-up about it, but what I find most impressive about it is how it’s able to gradually give you new mechanics and arrange its level structure to have you learn by playing with it. Each new area is challenging not just because of the addition of tougher enemies and other number-based increment, but also because it challenges you to play with the new mechanics and your newly-learned capabilities with those new mechanics.

It’s sorta like Portal; how the entire game is really just a tutorial, but a very fun one. Ori and the Blind Forest is sort of like that; its levels are designed for you to learn its many mechanics without ever holding your hand. It’s so damned clever; I thought it really should be a thing in metroidvanias or other games where you learn new abilities as you progress, but I honestly can’t think of any other games that does it so well and so cleanly-cut.

The game’s released last year, so I’m definitely late to the party. It also means I’m too late to start yelling at people at how it’s an undisputed GotY.

Ah well. It’ll be on my list, at least.

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