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OlliOlli Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . OlliOlli was great on the PS Vita, and just as much fun on the PlayStation 4. While it doesn't add any new content, this PS4 port does improve the leaderboard functionality. Unfortunately, the graphics don't look as good and the picture had problems fitting my HDTV. Even with these problems, OlliOlli is the most addictive skateboarding game in years. Rating: 85%
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For as exciting as skateboarding is, adapting it to the game screen is about as easy as landing a heelflip body varial frontside 540. Company after company has tried, but few seem to get it right. For every Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, there are at least a dozen mediocre games like Street Sk8er and Evolution Skateboarding. And with titles like Skate or Die and Tour de Thrash, there's very little respite in the old school.

Perhaps that's why I was so excited when OlliOlli came to the PS Vita back in January. By mixing a familiar 2D side-scrolling world with the trick-focused gameplay of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, Tom Hegarty has managed to create an extreme sports game that somehow feels fresh. Now that it's on the PlayStation 4, an even larger audience will discover just how addictive Tom's extreme sports game really is.

OlliOlli (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

OlliOlli is split up into 100 stages spread out over five separate parts of the world. We start in an urban setting, full of slummy apartment buildings and dumpsters to grind. From there it's on to the junkyard, complete with garbage trucks and destroyed cars. Another level takes us to the port, where we can see boats and seagulls in the distance. The final two stages take our skater to a snowy army base in Russia and a Japanese location called Neon City.

While the action may be entirely 2D, that doesn't mean OlliOlli is simplistic. There's a learning curve when it comes to pulling off big tricks for huge points. The first rule you'll need to learn is that all tricks, no matter how big or small, require a proper landing. You complete a landing by pressing the "X" button right as the skater connects with the ground. Time it too early and you'll lose out on valuable points, while missing the landing entirely will erase any trace of your combo.

All of the game's tricks are pulled off using the DualShock 4's left analog stick (or, if you prefer, the D-pad). Basic moves involve simply pressing a direction, while more complicated tricks require Street Fighter II-style quarter and half circle motions with the analog stick. You'll even be able to create new tricks by using the shoulder buttons. In all, OlliOlli's "Tricktionary" offers well over a hundred tricks to learn and master.

OlliOlli (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

If you plan on keeping your combo alive and earning big points, it's important you learn the fundamentals of grinding. Much like landing a trick, the perfect grind also comes down to timing. Your skater will be able to grind nearly any rail or ledge by simply holding a direction on the analog stick. If you time it correctly, the perfect grind will give you a speed boost and make completing the trick a little easier. Anybody can pull off a few tricks and complete a stage, but the real high scores come from people who have mastered the tricky timing.

Each of the career mode's stages come with five challenges to complete. Players will be tasked with pulling off a certain move, gapping a hard to find location, collecting a certain amount of floating objects, earning a lot of points in a single combo and a whole bunch of other challenging jobs. This feels a lot like the structure of the early Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, and it gave me a reason to revisit each level. Once you've completed all five amateur level tasks, a brand new pro stage is opened up, complete with even more challenges.

The spots mode is similar to the career, only without the challenges to complete. This mode has you grinding and tricking your way to a high score. But you better keep that combo alive; because the round stops the moment the trick ends. This mode also plays into a similar daily challenge, which pits you against the world in a level selected by the developers. You can practice the run as many times as you want, but will only have one chance to earn a high score.

This leads me to one of the few problems I had with the original PS Vita release. Despite having so many different modes, the online leaderboard didn't let you compare scores with your friends. Thankfully, this has been changed in the PlayStation 4 port. Now players can sort the leaderboard in a number of different ways, even going as far as to compare the daily challenge scores. Although it's often an afterthought, a fully-functional leaderboard makes a big difference in a game like OlliOlli.

OlliOlli (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Sadly, this seems to be the only fix found in the PlayStation 4 version. You still can't customize your character. Not that I had a problem with the default skater, but it would have been nice to have a little variety. Also worth mentioning, the game's picture didn't seem to perfectly fit the size of my HDTV. Some of the numbers were cut off on the edges, and I couldn't find a way to fix this in the limited options menu.

Speaking of high-definition, I found this PlayStation 4 version doesn't look as crisp as the PS Vita original. Perhaps this has something to do with being blown up to a much higher resolution, but it had a weird blown-out look that was disappointing. This was especially true with the background layers, some of which are genuinely ugly.

Despite those minor problems, OlliOlli is a breath of fresh air to the long-stagnant skateboarding genre. The gameplay is simple to learn, but will take hours to completely master. And when you finally do find your rhythm and perfect the large library of tricks, you'll discover an endlessly satisfying experience that is great on all platforms.
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