I make no apologies for my review of OlliOlli at the start of 2014. I played it, I loved it and had none of the major crashing issues that others seemed to get. It wasn’t just a flash in the pan title either, as I can say I was still dipping in and out right up until a week before OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood landed a 360 Kick Flip into my lap.
So let me be brutally honest about OlliOlli before I go into my review. OlliOlli 2 isn’t going to change many minds. If you found enjoyment from the first game, then you’ll do so again here. If you just didn’t like it, then don’t expect this to suddenly open your eyes.
The first thing that struck me about OlliOlli 2 was that from the moment i picked it up, it fit like an old glove, it felt comfortable and safe. I knew this game, I could blast through the tutorial levels and jump straight back in almost where I left off. Early on it feels just like an expansion rather than a sequel.
But that feels harsh, like I am doing it an injustice though, because after being eased back in, there are a lot of subtle changes and whilst these mainly affect the level design, they do also seem to have a fundamental affect on how you play. There are minor changes to the locales and even a tweaked new mechanic that gives you a visual indicator as to the best point to leave the edge of a ramp, plus lots of nice new visual effects that bring the game even more to life. Some of the later levels are beautiful to see, but for me it still feels like an expansion.
Now maybe that is because I knew many of the levels from the original like the back of my hand, or maybe it was something else.
What do I mean by this though? Well, all of a sudden I was finding myself lacking the momentum to get past some grind rails, meaning I would fall off and that run would end, which was frustrating, but that good kind of frustrating, like you’d get in a game such as Trials HD. I knew it just HAD to be something I was doing wrong. Well sure enough, after many repeats of the same level, I had found the optimal route and beat it.
What’s that? Damn my ignorant bliss of the first game with the lack of leaderboards that reminded me that just being the best in my own home was no longer good enough, I was actually crap compared to another few thousand strangers. I got through, but at least 179 people so far had done it better than me.
That’s not fair, I was able to just run through the first game and beat the levels, that was it, they were the only thing standing between me and greatness. Now I am nothing but mediocre, getting the five stars in the level meant NOTHING….DO YOU HEAR ME…NOTHING!!!
WHY? Because RodneyMullenFAN2987 has done better than me. What’s the point, if this random faceless name is better than me? I see him there looking at the same leaderboard as me, all smug and happy, just wait until he looks up though and sees RogerRamjet1965 doing better than he is, then he’ll know how it feels!
I joke of course, having leaderboards in from the start shows that the team at Roll7 have been listening and have learned from one of the few mistakes they made with the first game. The leaderboard integration is well done and adds a hell of a lot of longevity to a game that already has a lot of content.
You have the main mode which follows the same sort of path as the original, getting stars unlocks new areas and new levels, as well as pro levels for each too. There is also the return of the spots and daily grinds from the original too, which does a great job of padding out the game and giving you a distraction should the main path get too hard or frustrating at any point.
But that’s it really, the tutorial stuff is in an area called Skate Park, but that’s your lot. There are new modes still to come, but I can’t review those yet, no matter how good they may end up being. So what you have here is a sequel that is in a tough position.
OlliOlli 2 doesn’t and can’t reinvent the wheel, it changes very little which means it is still the same game you love (or despise) from before, but at this moment you feel a little short changed, because the new locations and minor new mechanics don’t quite make this stand up above its predecessor but at the same time it clearly isn’t a massive fall from grace. It is simply more of the same and where you fall on that discussion is up to you.