Repetitive gameplay and poor platforming make this partial remaster a disappointment.
Asterix and Obelix XXL 2 remastered is the re-release of a game that came out over a decade ago and having never played the original release I was curious how it would hold up in a modern gaming climate. In this game you play as both the famous Celts Asterix and Obelix as they battle and platform their way across surprisingly detailed levels, facing hordes of Roman soldiers, shielded knights and even Caesar himself, while trying to stop Caesar from taking over the world.
First impressions are just as important in games as they are in real life. It’s supposed to set the tone of game and I’m sad to say that Asterix and Obelix XXL 2 gives a poor first impression as it opens with a pre-rendered cut scene displayed in standard definition in a small window in the middle of the T.V monitor. However, the opening scene features the comedy that the Asterix and Obelix comic is famous for. Having witty dialog, slapstick humour and parodies of other games straight out the gate, it even has the first ally you meet being a thief called Sam Shiffer who’s sporting the iconic Splinter Cell tri-nocular goggles, which is an obvious parody of Sam Fisher from the Splinter Cell franchise.
When the game allows you to take control of the characters you see a significant improvement to the entire aesthetic because the game finally decides to upgrade to HD. It’s a shame that the developers decided not to redo the cuts scenes to match the rest of the game, because every time a new cut scene plays you’re forced to watch this small, low resolution version of the characters and world you were just in. Despite the upgrade in gameplay graphics everything still looks last generation with sharp corners and blocky structures that gives it this charming, nostalgic look that many fans of the PS2 era will appreciate. Each level is designed to look vastly different from each other. One moment you’ll be fighting in an Egyptian utopia and the next you’re on the beaches of Monkey Island. This gives you an extra little something to each level, adding to the enjoyment of the game.
The combat is the best part of the game. It’s surprisingly fast and responsive, allowing you to take on dozens of enemies at once. The developers incorporated the comedy of the series into the combat, meaning whenever you hit an enemy they stretch as if they’re made of rubber and when they are defeated they’ll get shot into the stratosphere only leaving their shoes, you can stun an enemy and pick him up to be used as a whip on his allies or throw him across the battlefield and have him explode when he hits something. You’re able to swap between Asterix and Obelix during fights to create combo attacks and can spend your credits to unlock new attacks, however the combat is very simple and I never felt the need to use anything other than the standard attacks because they’ll always get the job done. The game lacks the variety and challenge that most games come with these days and, despite being quite fun, the combat does become repetitive. As the game continues you face more varied enemies, standard grunts, heavy knights, speedy attackers, flying enemies, etc. which makes the fights more entertaining, but it takes half the game before this happens, until then you are facing the same three enemy types again and again. I found myself running past enemies when I wasn’t forced to fight because the benefits of defeating the latest wave of grunts never outweighed my want to get to the next area. It was fun the first time I had to face a horde of Romans dressed as Sonic the hedgehog but after the 20th fight it loses its novelty. Every time you enter a new location, a gate will close or a door will lock and you’ll need to battle a horde of enemies in fights that last a surprisingly long time. After a while this becomes predictable and boring.
I found the puzzle platforming to be the most tedious part of the game. Each puzzle was either so simple I questioned why it was put into the game or contained so little information on how to proceed I ended up spending 10+ minutes trying to find the one button I was supposed to press in order to continue.
Of all the shortcomings in the game the camera was the thing I had the most trouble getting used to. It’s slow to turn and sometimes gets locked to a certain position, making it more difficult to jump between platforms. During combat the camera can clip through walls obscuring or completely blocking the action which lead to me losing health on more than one occasion.
During my play-through I found myself coming up against a few glitches. Sometimes the enemy AI would run to the other side of map and get stuck, causing me to search for the last enemy I needed to defeat before I could continue to the next area. Occasionally the audio would glitch and the background noise would be playing louder than the people talking, making it impossible to make out what they are saying.
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