I believe there are two ways to become a fan of the Asterix & Obelix comics: either you are of European descent, or a fan has forced you to read a volume and you fell in love. For me, it was my French ancestry. I grew up reading the pun-riddled tales of the small but mighty Asterix the Gaul and his bestest pal, Obelix. They protected their village from Caesar’s Legionnaires with the aid of a magic potion. They journeyed to exotic lands, met Cleopatra, thwarted bumbling pirates. And at the end of every adventure was a feast.
All Roads Lead to Rome
Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 kicks off with Chief Vitalstatistix sending our heroes after the village druid, Getafix. Something’s not quite right with the old fella. It seems he has betrayed the Gauls, but Asterix wants to uncover the truth. They get a hot tip from a Legionnaire who has decided to betray his allegiance, one Sam Shieffer. An odd little fellow with a night-vision helmet and a penchant for rappelling into and out of every scene. So they head off for Rome and Julius Caesar’s new resort, Las Vegum.
The game plays much like my favorite platformer Ratchet & Clank. Comprised of six different areas, you’ll destroy mobs of Legionnaires and do some creative puzzle solving to progress through the game. You can control either Asterix or Obelix as you smash your way through the enemies. There are even tag team combo moves to unlock bonuses should they appear, some of which include a helmet multiplier or shields.
Each level also features with gameplay elements unique to each character, such as bounce pads for Asterix and a cannon launcher for helping Obelix reach new heights. You’ll also want to keep an eye on Dogmatix. That loyal pup will sniff out and alert you to nearby objectives, as well as knock over a few bad guys during a battle.
It’s these platforming elements that really help to break up overwhelming (and sometimes tiring) Legionnaire battles. When the swarms of enemies finally come to a halt, I rather enjoy figuring out how to light the torches that will open up new rooms and pathways. Puzzles are fairly straightforward, even when they become more complex. It’s making sure you pay attention to all of the visual clues when you enter a new room that’s most important.
Winner Winner, Roast Boar Dinner
So just what are you supposed to do with all of those Legionnaire helmets? Head on over to one of those Shop carts and spend some helmets on upgrades for your team. These include passive skills as well as new combat maneuvers. You can also purchase collectible figurines! I’m pretty sure these have no added bonus to the game aside from unlocking a trophy once you buy them all.
Should you find yourself running low on helmets, you can always look for a Challenge booth. These tend to show up in areas where you’ve had to handle 50+ Legionnaire mobs. Challenges, new to the remastered version of the game, are where you can practice your combo moves and really test your mettle. I’ve only dabbled in them enough to earn more helmets when I was a bit short on the LuckSore entrance fee, but as I’d love to finish filling out my skill trees, I know I’ll be heading back.
A Denarus for My Thoughts
Asterix & Obelix XXL 2‘s updated graphics for the PlayStation 4 are vibrant, bringing a familiar universe to life. Cutscenes have been improved, but the aspect ratio has been kept so as not to stretch them out. As much as I would have loved them in full screen, it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. As mentioned previously, fighting mob after mob of enemies can become rather tiresome, especially in areas where they just don’t stop. This is typical in sections where you must throw Legionnaires at targets and they continue to spawn even once you’ve fed enough to the door.
While the camera control isn’t the worst I’ve ever encountered, there are times where it could use definite improvement, especially during boss battles. There is one in particular where the camera force-shifts on its own and has often led to my demise. After a handful of deaths thanks to a camera I couldn’t control, a break with some calming herbal water was required. It’s also disappointing because there were so many cool things I wanted to take screenshots of with no way to good way to position myself. It took five minutes to snag a screenshot (in the gallery below) of a Mortal Kombat reference.
One of my favorite things about Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 is that it’s not shy about its appropriation of other video game franchises. There are Romans disguised in costumes giving nods to franchises like Super Mario, Pac-Man, and Rayman. Take a few minutes to look around when you reach new areas and see what Easter eggs you can spot. The game has also made sure to match the humor of the comic series. The awful puns, roast boar for health, Obelix’s complaints about being forbidden from drinking the magic potion. All of those nostalgic feelings came flooding back within minutes of starting the game. Like I’m ten again, sitting in my favorite chair with a stack of Asterix books from the library. It’s most definitely a game built for the Asterix & Obelix fandom.
Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.