Review: “OlliOlli2”on March 19, 2015 at 8:00 am
And the thing is, “OlliOlli2” does the same amazing feat that “Tony Hawk 2” did, in that it completely blows the first game out of the water. The amount of flow and flexibility each of these sequels offered over their predecessor makes for an astonishingly improved experience, almost making the original game obsolete.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but “OlliOlli2” gives the player manuals, reverts, and grind switching. Three more things jammed into this control scheme that has been compacted into a tiny cube of dark matter. Small, but soooo heavy. And since this empowers the player even more, the game expects that much more out of you.
To truly be good at “OlliOlli2”, you have to be so dextrous, so focused, so in-tune with how this game functions that there isn’t a single moment in a stage where you aren’t doing tricks and increasing your multiplier. You don’t repeat a single flip trick or grind. You don’t miss a single perfect landing or grind. You find every single frame you can get away with doing something and then you do it, stage, after stage, after stage, after stage.
You do not finish “OlliOlli2” by being good at the game. You do not finish it by rote memorization. There are no cheap tactics or shortcuts to victory. There is no difficulty selector. You either have it, or you don’t.
Luckily, even if you don’t have it, it’s still a ton of fun to play, no matter what your skill level is. You just have to know where you limits are and quit there, otherwise it will frustrate you. The game doesn’t want to frustrate you. It wants you to relax, oddly enough. It knows that it’s hard. It does. But it does everything in its power to keep you calm and engaged.
It does this with its objective structure and allowing you to bounce around however much you want and try as many things as you feel you’re ready for. It does this by feeling REALLY GOOD to combo entire levels and best your high score. The game is positively oozing umami. It especially does this with its soundtrack, which is the polar opposite of “Tony Hawk”.
“Tony Hawk” prided itself on fast and loud punk rock. I loved it. You needed to get pumped up? The game had you covered. I had specific songs in those games that, whenever they came on, I knew I could do anything.
“OlliOlli2”? Nope. Try smooth jazz and trip hop. Soulful, downbeat ambiance. That’s what you get and it’s the perfect complement to the infuriating trials you’re going to endure. It’s meditative and allows your mind to wander off, while your body takes over. With your mind relaxed, your body is free to take everything it’s learned and apply it to achieving all of your “OlliOlli” dreams.
Well, as long as your dreams don’t involve going to the top of the leaderboards. And, remember how I said there were no shortcuts or cheap tactics? Eh, that’s not true, at the moment. I discovered a glitch that allows you to get your multiplier up to insane heights with almost no effort. I’m not going to explain how to activate the glitch, but it is extremely easy to replicate, if you know how.
Now, while I know that not all of the people playing the game are using this, it is being used. It’s not only muddying the leaderboards, but it’s trivializing the entire challenge of the game. It’s sad, but such is the plight of the online gamer. People will do whatever it takes to win, even if it means they don’t even play the game.
I contacted the developers immediately upon finding this, which wasn’t even 24 hours after the game was released, and they are working on patching it out. I don’t know if they’re going to reset the leaderboards or not. I know a lot of people have put a lot of really hard work into their scores, but some of them are absolutely ridiculous and it’s clear some amount of cheating is going on.
It really undermines the stunning effort Roll7 did to make the game and it also undermines the achievement of people finally accomplishing the game’s most taxing tasks.
Also, the game isn’t exactly perfect.
I’m not going to pretend that their control scheme is perfect, even after you get used to it. There is so much you’re doing with so little that you will find yourself starting to wonder why they don’t use more of the buttons. Of course, if they did, I think it might be even harder to control, but the game doesn’t always feel like it’s properly registering the flicks, so doing specific tricks under specific circumstances can be a hit or miss affair unless you’re SUPER precise.
The same goes for doing more advanced tricks using the shoulder buttons. Since they’re also used to spin your character in the air, if you use them at the wrong time, you’ll end up spinning, instead of activating your trick. This will often cause you to wipeout, ending your run.
Even though the game is very generous and lets you press △ to instantly restart a stage, it also means it’s really easy to accidentally restart a stage during the hectic frenzy of trying to flail your fingers around the pad quick enough to input everything.
These are minor complaints against an otherwise great game.
But, the real question is, does it make me lust for it the way I used to lust after Tony?
It’s because “OlliOlli2” plays so hard to get, that I’m intimidated by it. I can only keep up for so long before it wears me out. Olli just isn’t as generous and caring of a lover as Tony. I don’t lust after Olli in the same way. Olli only gives so much before it asks a lot more in return.
Olli is fantastic and a few people are going to be so enamored and overcome with feelings of giddy hornitude that they’ll get as much out of it as I got from Tony. I know they will, because Olli has so much to offer to those willing to truly dedicate themselves to it.
Me, though? That phase of my life really has passed. But man, I still appreciate Olli for giving me a chance. It’s been a wild ride, but Olli is a beast I cannot tame. Nor do I even want to.
My poor analog stick can’t take anymore abuse.