It’s only been a year and some change, but Roll7 is back with the follow-up to its game that revitalized the skateboarding genre. At first glance it might look like OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is the same old, admittedly great game with a fresh coat of paint, but once you actually start playing, you’ll soon realize that you’ve never been more wrong.
OlliOlli2’s visual style is a massive departure from the pixelated graphics of the first game. At first I wasn’t so fond of the idea, but once I saw it in motion, I did a complete 180. First off, the new hand-drawn look is animated much better than the old style. The intricate level of detail means you can actually see the difference between the tricks you’re pulling off. A double kickflip looks like a double kickflip and a 360 flip looks like a 360 flip, whereas before they were almost indistinguishable.
The levels themselves are divided by five distinct worlds, with the first four nudging you to use one specific technique and the fifth forcing you to be smart and tactical about using them all. Olliwood is designed to teach you the basics, with short grinds and long stretches of pavement throughout. Curse of The Aztec is pretty much all rails, giving you tons of space to work on nailing your grinds. Gunmetal Creek is full of rolling hills that are just begging to be manualed, which is expanded upon in Carnival of The Dead, which pushes you to throw reverts into the mix. Finally, Titan Sky forces you to be smart and mix it all together.
Speaking of manuals and reverts, they’re another place where Roll7 has taken a card from one of its obvious inspirations, the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. In the first game, the only way to keep a combo alive was by continuing to grind, and it got a little tedious in later levels because it turned the game into what felt like an endless runner. Here, thanks to manuals and reverts, you can keep your combos going from start to finish as long as you stick your landings.
There’s no better feeling in OlliOlli2 than completing an entire level in one combo. It’s tough at first, but thanks to the game’s incredible sense of progression, you’ll be a pro in no time. That’s mostly thanks to how much content is here. You get 25 amateur levels with five objectives each ranging in difficulty from getting a high score to collecting papa’s horseshoes and bringing them home.
Once you complete all five objectives in an amateur level, you unlock the much more challenging pro version. Then, once you finish the 50 amateur and pro levels, there’s 50 more high score spots to tackle. On top of all of that content is the addictive but infuriating RAD Mode and Daily Grind. Finally, the local multiplayer mode, Combo Rush, is absent at launch but will be added for free at a later date.
OlliOlli2 is what happens when a developer takes in feedback and does its best to employ the best of said feedback. There isn’t one aspect of the original OlliOlli that wasn’t improved in some way, shape or form in OlliOlli2. The new visual style is incredible, the mechanics are as close to perfect as you can get, the soundtrack is packed with amazing songs and artists that complement the gameplay and there’s exact parity between the PS4 and PS Vita versions of the game. In short, OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood is nothing short of a masterpiece.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita version, which we were provided with.
OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood takes everything that made the original great and improves on it. It's intricate, stylish and a blast to play, setting the standard for what a sequel should be.