Gauls, Romans, magic potion, video game parodies, oh my! (Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 Review)
After over a decade from it's original release in 2006, Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission: Las Vegum was finally remastered for HD and released on several platforms in November 2018. As far as I'm concerned, many fans of Asterix will be pleased to have access to the game once more.
Getafix is once again having the annual meeting with the other druids. Unfortunately, the druids are ambushed by the Romans. Worst of all, it would seem Getafix has sold the other druids out to Caesar and switched to the side of Rome. Caesar intends to use the druids' magic to create a new kind of generation of legionaries. Soldiers strong enough to surpass even the power of the magic potion, which until now has ensured the Gaulish village's independence. Sam Shieffer, a spy who in turn has turned his back on Rome, reveals to the Gauls that both Getafix and the captured druids have been taken to Las Vegum, a city Caesar has designed as a vacation spot and an amusement park for Romans. Naturally, Asterix refuses to believe Getafix has betrayed his village, and sets off for Las Vegum together with Obelix to find all the druids. What follows is a massive headache for every single Roman who attempts to stop the Gauls.
Like the game's predecessor, Asterix & Obelix XXL, the game's main focus is on beating up Romans in a variety of ways. You can punch the Romans, Use them as whips to whack the others, or simply throw them away. Some of the Romans require specific tactics and tricks to be beaten. For example, you'll have to destroy the shields of the heavier legionaries with the slide kick, or lure a centurion into striking the ground so that his weapon gets stuck and he's left vulnerable to your blows. Occasionally, while playing as Asterix, you will get the chance to grab a bottle of magic potion, increasing your speed and strength for a while. However, you must also be prepared to dodge the incoming strikes of the Romans, for neither of the Gauls can withstand much damage. You can also unlock devastating combos, such as causing a rain of mennhirs or creating a massive tornado. The combos can only be triggered by drinking magic potion and by pressing the right keys. In addition to fighting, there are also some puzzles, such as walls that must be detonated with bombs or mechanisms that need to be activated. Some of the puzzles are specific, like launchers that only Obelix can use, or narrow passages where only Asterix is small enough to fit. And as before, the helmets of the Romans function as the game's currency for purchasing upgrades. The remaster does bring two new features: pictured postcards as collectibles and challenges, in which you must defeat a large number of Romans within a time limit in order to receive the reward.
But at the end of the day, the game's most memorable element remains the same: the game has no shortage of references to various fields of pop-culture. From the very beginning, many of the enemies you face are based on a variety of iconic video game characters, such as Mario, Sonic, Ryu, Rayman and Pac-man to name but a few. And it's not only the enemies, there are various other elements hidden in the background scenery or scattered in plain view throughout the levels. Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 isn't the only parodistic game in existence, but it takes the amount of shout-outs and references up to eleven. And it's used quite cleverly too, I might add: this allows the game to include a large number of enemies with different gimmicks and fighting styles. This kind of variety is particularly important, as a plain beat 'em up game could possibly become one-sided in the long run. Anyone who wants a proper experience of pummeling the Romans as either Asterix, Obelix, or both should probably give this game a shot. I'm pretty sure such fans will enjoy the game. The Romans, maybe not so much.