By: Casey Curran
I’m the kind of person who generally rolls their eyes whenever I hear every game in X series is the same. I received different experiences from nearly every Legend of Zelda game and whenever I want to replay a new Pokémon game, I first consider what kind of experience I want out of the series before popping it in my DS. So when I say OlliOlli: Welcome to Olliwood 2 is too similar to its predecessor, a game I adored, I mean it. Is it worth picking up despite this? Well… that’s a really tough question.
OlliOlli 2 controls identically to the first game. The left analog stick is the bread and butter, as you move it in different directions to choose your skating tricks. Releasing the stick will have your character jump, where you can move the stick down again to grind if there’s a rail, move to the left or right while holding X to manual, or just press X to land. Flicking the left stick performs simple tricks while curving it in different directions will perform more complex moves, while holding L or R mid-air will allow you to spin. Your timing on landing and your chain of tricks will then determine your score once you land it.
This control scheme worked fine, albeit with a few faults, in the first OlliOlli. It was a good initial effort, with some room for improvement. In a sequel, however, I was expecting more precision and polish. I didn’t get either of them.
The original OlliOlli looked like a GBA game on the Vita screen. The sequel, however, looks like a Vita indie title, which is actually quite a difference. Edges are smoothed out, colors pop out more and backgrounds are busier, all of which adds up to a much better looking game. The character models are still too basic and the graphics will not wow anyone, but graphics are the one area that is improved over the original. Sound effects are the same, and they do a good job of standing out, but the music is just as forgettable as the last game.
As with the controls, the main levels are pretty much the same as the last game. OlliOlli 2 is an auto runner where you perform tricks until you reach the end of the level. There are a variety of objectives for you to pull off just like the original Tony Hawk games, some trick based, others collectable based. The trick system is very deep here, which combined with the scoring, allows for a lot of replay value.
Which, as it turns out, is part of the problem; new areas aside, there’s nothing in these levels that the original did not offer. Ideas like being able to change directions or completing every objective in one go are absent, which could have provided something different. The skating even remains street based, with no kinds of ramps to throw some vertical skating into the mix and vary the gameplay more.
There is a selection of new modes, however. There is a daily grind, which offers something new to try to go for each day. If these kinds of incentives excite you, this could be enough to justify purchasing the sequel as these objectives do enough to continuously offer new content. There is also a mode called Spots, based on keeping one long trick going. This is not an endless one, however, making it feel just like a weaker version of the main game.
A few new features aside, OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood is mostly a game on cruise control. It doesn’t feature any new ideas with objectives, level design, or the controls to justify offering a whole new game — in fact, everything here could have easily been DLC. And though I loved the last game, the title also raised my standards for what I wanted from the sequel… only to have the sequel deliver the same thing. So while I still enjoyed my time playing OlliOlli 2, I would have been about as happy to just play the original some more.