OlliOlli2: XL Edition Review
Posted by Tyler Treese
Skate or Die
It took over a year for OlliOlli2: Welcome to Olliwood to make its way onto Xbox One, but now it's here and is packed with bonus content. The delay isn't surprising, as the original OlliOlli didn't come to Microsoft's home console until after the sequel had released elsewhere, but it was disappointing nonetheless. Was the wait worth it for the extra levels that have been added to Roll7's skateboarding game, or is it just filler?
Roll7's philosophy to sequels seems to subscribe to the theory that if it isn't broke then you don't fix it. The original release provided an already solid base, where players perform tricks by making motions with the analog stick à la Skate and nail landings with a timed button press, so the UK studio has decided to build slightly upon it. The only real change is that players can now extend tricks with a manual. That might not seem like a huge change, but anyone who played Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 knows how much that changed the game's trick system.
This has opened up the game substantially when it comes to keeping a trick combo active for an entire level. While it was sometimes possible to have a perfect run in the original game, it was entirely up to the level's structure, and if Roll7 had enough rails set up for players to constantly be grinding. This now doesn't matter as a talented player can now trick their way through every level of the game in a single combo.
Unsurprisingly, it feels sensational to combo an entire level on your first try. It's also equally as heartbreaking when you end up screwing up the landing on the final jump and see your level-wide run amount to a mere 5,000 points. Being able to manual provides a unique risk/reward dynamic to OlliOlli, especially since manuals cause you to slightly decelerate, which can lead to you crashing. Now more than ever, OlliOlli is about nailing a perfect run from start to finish.
Like its predecessor, the bulk of the game will be played in its career mode that's comprised of five separate themed worlds. The locales are much more interesting this time around, as they are all takes on different movie motifs. You've got a haunted theme park to skate through, and you'll even manage to time travel to the Old West in order to shred some railroads.
While players only have to make it through a stage without bailing in order to clear it, each level also features five goals for players to complete. These goals are similar to what you'd find in old Tony Hawk games, and will require players to collect items or perform a specific trick. This is the bulk of the game's replayability, as OlliOlli veterans will be able to clear the 25 initial levels in an hour or two.
Don't let that number fool you, though, as OlliOlli2: XL Edition is packed with content. Additional levels, which present even more challenging objectives, are unlocked by perfecting the first 25 levels. There's also leaderboard support, which provides a simple Trials-like joy to topping the score of your gaming rivals. Throw in a daily challenge mode, where you only get one shot at nailing a run, and there's enough reasons to continually keep Roll7's game installed on your hard drive.
What's most interesting is exclusive to this version of OlliOlli2: free-skate mode. These are five lengthier levels that are based around each of the career mode's worlds. Since these will take longer to skate through (although it still only takes a minute or two to combo through them), there's a relaxed ruleset that doesn't punish players for not nailing their landings. This addition turns free-skate into a decent practice mode, but it really isn't anything compelling.
The 4-player local multiplayer mode, which was patched into other versions of the game after release, also finds its way here. Called Combo Rush, it's just as underwhelming this time around as it was elsewhere. Playing OlliOlli with friends sounds fun, and probably would be online, but doing so in a small corner of your screen just isn't something that's particularly enjoyable.
OlliOlli2: XL Edition is the best version of Roll7's stellar skateboarding game, although just by a smidge. The addition of manuals to the core game is a huge boost to the trick system, and makes it possible to combo every single level from start to finish. Throw in the five lengthy free-skate levels, and you have the best 2D skateboarding game ever made. The extras don't make it enough to double dip if you already own it elsewhere, but those who haven't picked it up should grab their deck and get ready to shred.