Arguably the most beautiful new game released last year, Ori and the Blind Forest is getting a Definitive Edition release of the game this Friday, March 11. Ever since it was announced at Gamescom last year, I've been curious as to what kind of new content it would entail. The original game seemed like such a solid standalone experience, what kind of stuff would this little Metroidvania add to the mix?
In reviewing an Xbox Wire interview with Mark Coates, Executive Producer with Microsoft Studios, he outlines that the additional content focuses on two new areas in the game: Black Root Burrows and Lost Grove. While he did not go into detail on Lost Grove, Black Root Burrows will "use light and darkness to challenge the player to navigate with limited visibility," as well as fill out some character backstory with scenes featuring Ori's guardian Naru. The added content will also feature two new skills: Dash and Light Burst (presumably with one skill acquired in each of these two new locales). Dash is somewhat self explanatory while Light Burst effectively serves as a projectile that can be damage it's target or be detonated mid-trajectory, causing damage to anything nearby. Both skills will be upgradable.
These new areas will be accessible early on in the game, allowing a new way to navigate through the story for returning players. Moon Studios has also added in multiple difficulty levels for the Definitive Edition. Outside of the "Normal" setting the original game shipped with, there are now also Easy, Hard, and One-Life settings to appeal to a wider variety of skill-levels (I just hope the Easy mode makes the water rushing up the end of the Ginso Tree a bit slower - because that was a pain in the ass). As someone with a save already halfway through the game, another much-appreciated feature is the ability to Fast Travel between Spirit Wells. I fully intend to take advantage of this rather than slowly backtrack all over the game's expansive map.
Lastly, Mr. Coates highlighted an expanded Theatre mode. Similar to other Gallery modes, this will feature on-demand viewing of unlocked cinematics, promotional trailers, and concept art and behind-the-scenes clips from throughout the development of the game.
As someone who has needed a reason to revisit Ori and the Blind Forest, I'll probably take advantage of the chance to upgrade my version to the Definitive Edition for $4.99 starting Friday. And for those that haven't experience it, $19.99 is a steal for one of the best and most beautiful games of this console generation.
Note: While the Xbox One version of the Definitive Edition is launching on March 11, the Steam and Windows 10 versions have been delayed off that date. No new release date was given.