Publisher: Microids Developer: O Some Studio Players: 1-2 Genre: 3D Platformer Launch Date: November 29th 2018 Price: $49.99 or £39.99
Remasters are a strange thing. Every so often you get ones that you know you want, like Shenmue 1 and 2, or Crash Bandicoot. The problem is that we sometimes see games getting brought back out from the cold to be shoehorned back into the homes of those who played whatever it was back in a previous generation. This usually happens with mixed results. So, it was with a slight amount of bemusement that I cracked on with a sequel to a generally well received platformer, back in the day. Indeed, this actual follow up, was given a fair welcome when it came out in the middle of the last decade.
The only problem now is this. Did anyone really WANT Asterix and Obelix 2: XXL to come back in the first place?
There is one thing that harms Asterix and Obelix 2: XXL, and that is that the gameplay ages just as much as the audio and visual aspects. They forgot to tell O Some when they were making this. As this is just a direct port of the way things played back then instead of a full overhaul, it just doesn’t feel like something you want to get truly stuck into. I mean, it plays like a 90’s mid-range platformer because that is what it was back then too. You have your classics from that era, but this was never really one of them. There’s also part of you that thinks they knew that when they made this remake. You may wonder how I’m so sure of this? Well, if you’re gonna put so much effort into the main game and put NO TIME AT ALL into all of the cut scenes (which are put in itty bitty boxes, for your pleasure) then you can only assume this was something that was rushed out to try and grab some sales near Christmas.
What you DO get is pretty much the same as the first in the series. You can switch between Asterix and Obelix, dependent on whether you want to bash some Romans or move something heavy. It is literally a generic platformer, with not enough variety to make it hugely interesting and although some of the gaming in-jokes are not too bad, when they’re contained in an average title, they are forgotten almost as quickly as they enter your brain.
My first thought when seeing this is, can we climb it?
Graphics - 6/10
The graphics on Asterix and Obelix 2: XXL are certainly vibrant and colourful enough, but they still seem to feel a little dated, even WITH the remaster treatment. I feel it looks more like a Gamecube game now, rather than something that belongs on a more current generation title. I probably picked Gamecube because of the fact that within 2 minutes of starting the game you’re greeted with a blatant parody of Mario from Super Mario Sunshine. This goes on throughout the game, as you’re met with some Roman variations of classic gaming franchises, although some cut close to the bone.
It just doesn’t feel like it has had the same spit and polish as other remasters done recently. The Crash Bandicoot one pretty much puts it to shame, but that isn’t to say that is a mess. It just hasn’t had enough of a facelift. It does have some colourful areas and it keeps relatively faithful to the cartoon, but that’s about it really. You just think “average”.
Sound - 4/10
If anything screamed decidedly mid-range, the sound department would be the one putting their hands up. The music is stuck in an old synthesizer screaming to get out, whilst the voice acting is so cheesy that the cows that got milked for it want their loyalty fees to cover costs for the barn. All the Romans have that dodgy fake English accent and the main characters, although not horrendous, don’t exactly go out of their way to pull of an Oscar performance.
All I can say is that the music is just your basic filler and no killer. It does nothing to lift the game up and just stops your brain from getting distracted by other thoughts, like turning it off, for example.
Sneak or smash, the choice is up to you
Difficulty - 4/10
I have to think about the fact it is aimed at children because I don’t feel like there is anything challenging, unless you ram it all the way up to hard. Once you do that it becomes an absolute beast, but there is a key point I want to raise, and for that I’m going to use a recent review for help.
When a game is pretty hard, sometimes you don’t mind if you feel like there is a set goal or something truly achievable to make you put the effort in. Take Dead Cells as an example, you always feel like you will get somewhere, regardless of how many times you die. With Asterix and Obelix 2 you wonder what that endgame really is. There's no desire to really push through and that is what stops you from making it harder, which leaves you in two extremes. Do you just button bash to then end the game as fast as possible, or do you try and make it interesting, but throw the controller in frustration and just sicken yourself? What a choice, eh?
Achievements – 5/10
Nothing special. Finish a level, kill a certain amount of guys or bosses. That is pretty much your lot.
We appear to had made a little friend whilst we sat and did nothing and took in the scenery
Honestly, I don’t know why this has been given another chance. I mean, it isn’t like it is a really bad game, simply because it isn’t. I think what infuriates me is that there are loads of other titles out there that have been buried over time that deserve a remaster and then we see things like this get preference over what the public ACTUALLY WANT. It may well be that Microids thought that people will remember the original and that they won’t remember the sequel. I’ve no real idea, but I can’t quite get why this got that chance to make a comeback. It’s a bit like watching a Z list celebrity appear on another game show whilst you’re thinking to yourself “Why are you on my TV?”
It will keep kids entertained, but once it hits the bargain bin price tag it merits. I simply can’t recommend getting this at a price point that puts it in line with AAA titles. I’d rather suggest the Crash or Spyro trilogies instead. At least these ways you’ll get more value for money for them. Even with the gaming parodies, it just feels like it isn’t a contender to be on the essential list.
If any game in the history of planet Earth screamed average, then this one would be on top of the mountain waiting for the echo...