Twelve years is a long time in the gaming world, and remasters from those years past are currently big sellers. With big names such as Spyro the Dragon and Crash Bandicoot getting their own games remastered recently, it was time for Asterix and Obelix to jump onto the bandwagon. Their game, Asterix & Obelix XXL 2
, was originally released back in 2006. Its big selling point was the references to other games throughout, and while these remain hilariously intact, much of the rest of the game itself has aged more poorly.
You take on the role of Asterix and Obelix, as they look to foil Caesar's plan to take over Gaul. After the druid Getafix swears his allegiance to Caesar and heads to his theme Park, Las Vegum, Asterix and Obelix follow him to find out the truth. As was still often the norm back then, the story is at the forefront of your experience, instead taking a back seat to the fighting and gameplay. Unimproved cutscenes mean the game shows its age. Outside of the cinematics, if you played the original you will see the improvement in the graphics from the off. Everything looks noticeably cleaner and smoother. One thing that hasn't improved is the camera, and trying to spin it behind you can be a problem especially when you are indoors. These kinds of problems could be forgiven a little more in a better remaster, but unfortunately, the game has a few issues that only a diehard fan can probably overlook.
A large amount of the gameplay is based around button mashing, which feels as old as it really is. With minimal combos and bosses that require a set amount of hits in certain places in order to be beaten, there are all the elements of beat 'em up games that have generally been discarded as of late in favor of multiple button combos and enemies that learn from your fighting style. This older fighting style wouldn't be too bad if you didn't have to use it so much, but with the game offering long sections where you must beat hundreds of enemies in order to progress this quickly becomes repetitive and overstays its welcome.
Fighting is made easier with the addition of skills and upgrades, with new combos and skills on offer. These can be bought from shops using the currency of helmets, which you'll find scattered about the world as you explore it. These can also be used to buy entry to new places, so it is well worth collecting and hoarding them. Enjoyably, they respawn every time you re-enter an area, so large amounts can be farmed quite easily. This is especially useful for the Holy Headgear
achievement, which requires you to have 9999 on you at one time.
When you aren't fighting enemies, you are walking and jumping through some elongated areas. Whilst fast travel boards allow you to skip between these areas once you've unlocked them, the first time you go through them still feels like a very drawn out process and it strangely and often takes quite a while before you feel like you achieve anything, such as unlocking a door or reaching a boss. The platforming gameplay itself is enjoyable, with you needing to take control of both Asterix and Obelix in order to open doors and press switches. This does feel less tedious than all the fighting, but a bit more variety in these sections too would not have gone amiss.
One of the game's biggest selling points are the constant references to other games, mainly through the characters, worlds and enemies you'll be coming up against. A special Mario-styled level down a green warp pipe, explodable walls that look like Tetris blocks with Bomberman-style bombs and enemies in the form of Marios, Sonics, Raymans, and Ryus amongst others are just some of the gems you'll come across. These kind of references are always relevant because the games they are from will always be recognisable, and they hit again on the nostalgia factor that this remaster regards as a big selling point.
In between the fighting and platforming and progression of the story, you have a handful of other things to complete too, which offer a different challenge and welcome change of pace from the main story. Completing tasks and getting into hard to reach places will earn you postcards and special diamond helmets, and fighting challenges by beating a set number of enemies in a time limit to earn a gold, silver and bronze award. These are nice additions to the main gameplay and give you a reason to explore and replay the different areas too.
In terms of the game's achievements, there are 30 in total to earn. Completing the main story will earn a handful of these achievements, as will collecting all the postcards and diamond helmets. You'll also need to complete the challenges on gold, and find a special switch in an underground level, as well as defeat a whole lot of enemies. It is a doable list if you put in some time and effort, but probably won't be completed by players who can't get over the game's more tedious parts.Check out our Best Xbox Platformer Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.
SummaryAsterix and Obelix XXL 2
was likely no one's first choice for a remaster, leaving only the original fans to return and enjoy it again. With gaming references aplenty and an abundance of fist fights and places to explore, the game offers a challenge and nostalgia for those that played it already. For everyone else, it's hard to recommend it, with overly long fighting sections, repetitive levels and overall gameplay that just feels dated in today's gaming world.
- References to other games are still fun and amusing
- Collectibles and challenges offer a change of pace
- Trudging through areas soon feels like a chore
- Gameplay feels repetitive
- Takes a long time to feel like you're getting anywhere
- Camera issues are annoying
The reviewer spent 6 hours exploring the Las Vegum theme park and attempting to take down Caeser, unlocking 14 of the game's 30 achievements along the way. A download code was provided for the purpose of this review.
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