OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood Review

2 GR8 2 SK8.

As far as skateboarding video games go, OlliOlli is certainly one of the better and more original titles in recent years. With addictive, side scrolling gameplay on a 2D plane, as well as the stick controls allowing for some smart tricking, it just fell short of the mark with some clunky control options, lack of leaderboards at launch, and a handful of bugs.

But OlliOlli 2 looks to fix all of that, and in the process it succeeds, making the original title look like an early prototype of what we have here. The first thing you’ll notice is the aesthetic changes – OlliOlli ran smoothly enough, but with the sequel’s streamlined graphics and animations, it makes it feel like a more fast paced affair, and one that flows superbly. The character represented as a 2D sprite rather than a blob of pixels.

Deeper down, though, there are plenty more changes which will either play out subtly or change the way you play the sidescrolling skate-em-up entirely. Those more subtle changes include new tricks to pull off, curved patches of ground, launch ramps, and split routes. It’s not that these go unnoticed, just that they feel like natural additions and as if they should have been there in the first place.

The combo system has been refined, which is a real game changer, in combination with manuals which allow you to keep your combo ticking over while between grinds and pulling off tricks. Now, you’ll be trying to complete every level in one smooth combination of tricks and moves, and it really ups the “one more go” factor as you press triangle to instantly restart after failing to perfect what you were trying to do.

Those fails will feel like they’re your fault though; the game will punish you, but you’ll never get to blame the controls as they’re pretty much spot-on in this second iteration. When you play the PS4 version it may feel somewhat clunkier with the bigger stick, and you’re able to notice just how useful the small Vita nub is for quick tricks, but each of these control options has its pros and cons, and it’s just a matter of getting used to them. There is a point where an environmental lighting effect may unnecessarily throw you off-guard, but aside from that it’s fair game.

olliwood-1

OlliOlli 2, at its heart, is all about perfecting those combos throughout the levels, and getting the high score before moving on to the next one. These levels are all designed wonderfully to slowly introduce the mechanics, before making you use them all in quick succession in the later levels. It becomes insanely hard, and that’s just when playing the 25 Amateur levels, with a further 25 Pro levels beyond them taking it even further. Just as before, they all have five objectives to complete, ranging from big combos to pulling perfect tricks, or even tasking you with grabbing collectibles in the level.

Combo Rush multiplayer mode

Though it didn’t quite make the cut for OlliOlli 2’s initial release, a patch in the not too distant future will add a new local multiplayer mode called Combo Rush for the PlayStation 4 version of the game.

It’s effectively a party mode with four player split screen and four different game types that can be played on any map. Time gives you a set time on a level in which to get your best score, One Shot is a single attempt at the same thing – just like a Spot – Score is first past the post on a particular score, while Race is all about the first person who can reach the finish line on a level. How you place in each round nets you points towards a chosen target.

It’s quite brilliantly flexible and puts a frantic twist on the usual OlliOlli gameplay as you go head to head. Set a score target of 10,000 and a round is over in seconds, Races require you to forget about Manuals and just stay as fast as possible, and there’s always the pressure of trying to match up to your opponents, amidst some friendly banter one would hope.

The only downside, of course, will be that it will require players to be of a similar skill level with the game’s slightly unusual control scheme – especially as this game adds new tricks to the system. A great party mode, then, but choose who you play with wisely to have the most fun.

Stefan L

You’ve also got another fifty Spots based on those initial levels. These are shorter, but must be completed in one combo, with your score registering as soon as you’ve landed your barrage of tricks. Daily Grind makes a return too, and in this you’ll be able to practice a new level multiple times, but only have one attempt to register a score and try to get to the top of the leaderboards. Beyond this, there’s RAD mode, unlocked by completing all objectives on all levels, which will be an even more masochistic experience for veteran players only.

olliwood-2

That’s a lot of content, but it’s how these levels are presented that’s the best bit: rather than the somewhat less exciting environments – despite the last one showing promise – in the first game, these are based on more outlandish creations, with the titular OlliWood being the LA-like city that you’ll first tackle. Parallax buildings, palm trees, and your usual city attractions will be seen in these levels, as well as movie style posters for the other environments.

Those range from an Aztec land to a zombie-infested carnival, and provide plenty of new features as well as some rather amusing quirks, such as a giant bullet being fired from the revolver launch ramps in the Western levels. These environments allow for some extraordinary track design, not confined to what you’d expect in a skateboarding game. This is reflected throughout this sequel; it feels like you have much more freedom, particularly with multiple routes, and it feels like a better game for it.

It succeeds in presentation, aesthetics, and sound design, with a colour palette as varied as the soundtrack, which has a brilliant selection of electronic music and easily outdoes the original. Yes, some of the animations can be a bit wooden, and the template of the game does feel very similar to the original, but there’s very little else to complain about here.

What’s Good:

  • Smooth visuals and animations create a better flowing game.
  • The environments are a bit more out there, allowing for some superb level design.
  • New additions genuinely change the game for the better.
  • There’s so much to do across all of the levels and spots.

What’s Bad:

  • It follows an extremely similar progression path to the first game.
  • A few animations don’t match up.

It’s always good when you can see exactly where a game has improved over its predecessor, and even better when every part of the game has improved in some way. OlliOlli 2 fits into the latter camp, bringing some brilliant new mechanics to the table and creating a much faster-paced, better flowing, and downright addictive game with some slick presentation and awesome new environments.

Score: 9/10

Versions tested: PS4, PS Vita

10 Comments

  1. I was looking forward to this tomorrow, but now I’ve read the review I literally cannot wait, so I’m taking a sleeping pill, wake me tomorrow afternoon.

    3 games to get your teeth into, olliolli 2, Nazi Zombie Army and Helldivers. Tomorrow is a good day to spend.

  2. As far as skateboarding video games go, OlliOlli is certainly one of the better and more original titles in recent years.

    What other skateboarding games have there been in recent years??

    • Well there’s of course Activisions Tony H… Oh, wait.

      Ok, so there’s also EA’s Skat… Oh.

      Yep aside from this, people see to have completely abandoned skateboarding games in general. Which is a shame, as I can only imagine the potential for one of the above on PS4/XBone.

      • Well Tony Hawk is working on a new game for the new generation of consoles, to be released this year. So there’s that, at least.

      • Yeah there is that & it is welcome news, but let’s not forget the last couple of projects he has been involved in. Ride & Shred come to mind.

        The last decent TH game was one he had absolutely no involvement in (not that I am saying it’s all his fault of course) & was a remaster of the original games.

        Still don’t get why EA aren’t looking into Skate 4 though. Considering Skate 3 was still selling well up until recently (might still be?), that one seems like a no-brainer to me.

  3. I remember really enjoying the Tony Hawk PSone demos back in the day despite having no real interest in skateboarding, so will definitely load this onto the Vita and give it a go.

  4. Well, I’ve just given this a go, since it’s free. It’s certainly an improvement over the first game. But…

    The controls are still very, very flakey. But then, when there’s an hour of gameplay there, why not extend the time by making the player fail at random due to failing to press buttons at the exact moment the game thinks you should, which may or may not bear any relation to what’s actually happening on screen.

    It looks better than the first game, but that’s not exactly difficult. I know, it’s an art style choice. Not one I’d agree with.

    The music is terrible.

    On the plus side, it’s free. And some people might repeatedly trying the same levels until they get lucky and win. That “Those fails will feel like they’re your fault though” line in the review is quite obviously not true.

    I shall give it 3/10. And that’s only because it’s free this month.

    • Nothing more to say. These were my feelings about the game as well. So excited to try it out, and such a let down.

  5. Let’s be real, TSA were always gonna score this highly.

  6. Loving this game. And free. Noice!!

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