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OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood review for PS Vita, PS4


Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: Roll7
Developer: Roll7
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: E

I have to be honest: if someone were to place screenshots or videos of OlliOlli and OlliOlli2 next to each other and told me to pick which was which, I’m not sure I’d be able to tell the original from the sequel. I mean, there are some minor cosmetic differences here and there, but on the whole, the two games are basically identical.

That’s not the worst thing in the world, of course. The first OlliOlli was pretty phenomenal, so I’m not going to complain that Roll7 haven’t innovated all that much the second time around. OllliOlli2 may lack that thrill of discovery that accompanied the first game, but it makes up for that by being its equal in every way.

OlliOlli2_3

In fact, there’s an argument to be made that it might even be ever so slightly better. While the visual differences may not be too great, there’s at least an attempt to tell a story here — OlliOlli2 has borrowed a page from the Joe Danger playbook, and situates its levels on movie sets. Obviously we’re not exactly talking a huge narrative step forward, but it still provides a cohesion that may not have been there the first time out. (Not that it necessarily needed it, mind you — we’re talking about a skateboarding game, after all not some huge RPG where you need a story to sustain your interest through endless grinding.)

OlliOlli2 also tries to make its mechanics a little easier to understand. The tutorial levels hold your hand a little more than the first game did, which is nice; the original OlliOlli challenged players right from the get-go, so it’s great that they’ve tried to make the sequel a little more user-friendly. It’s still an insanely hard game to master, of course, but at least OlliOlli2 makes an effort to help you learn.

OlliOlli2_4

In the big scheme of things, though, the differences between the two games are pretty minimal. As I said, OlliOlli2 is still pretty darn hard; just passing each level requires you to whip your Vita’s thumbsticks around in a way that can’t be good for the system’s longterm physical health. And if you want to really master the game? You might want to invest in buying a back-up Vita, just to be on the safe side.

The good news (if that continued dedication to being insanely hard doesn’t count as good news for you) is that OlliOlli2 is also just as addictive as its predecessor. It really knows how to use stars as rewards, slowly upping the degree of difficulty for each star on each progressive level, until you look up at some point and realize the game is asking you to do some really insane stuff.

OlliOlli2_2

And you know what? You’ll want to do it, too, because OlliOlli2 is just that good and that fun. Eventually, of course, it would be nice to see what Roll7 can do when not making amazing skateboarding games (which is why I’m eagerly awaiting Not A Hero, which is due out in a few months), but for now, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be enjoying a talented developer refining their formula to perfection.

Grade: A-