Oh, tie-in games, will you ever stop being so mediocre? That’s not to say any game based on some sort of pop culture series or icon is destined to be bad, but it’s hardly surprising to see that an action adventure title based on the iconic French comic series Asterix & Obelix is just so bland. There’s really no better word to describe it, in all honesty. It might be enough to distract young players, moreso in cooperative mode, but its repetitive and unpolished gameplay will likely drive off even the biggest of fans.
For those unfamiliar with the Asterix series, the titular protagonist and his portly chum Obelix are two incredibly strong Gaulish warriors from the year 50 B.C. All but one village in Gaul has been taken over by the snobbish Romans legionnaire. After a bit of faffing around, the duo are requested to acquire a crystal menhir, said to have mysterious and wondrous powers. There’s dull dialogue and weak jokes galore as the story progresses.
The Switch port for Asterix & Obelix XXL 3 is decent enough not to bug out like crazy, but there are some annoying and unmissable collision issues with enemies’ melee attacks hit you from a few feet away. To its credit, it looks cartoon-ish and vibrant enough to pass off as an Asterix game. The voice acting is made up of quirky British chaps and lasses, with some goofy performances all around, which does give it a bit of charm. If only there was a memorable soundtrack to to replace generic orchestra tunes it was given…
You start in the village full of lifeless NPCs standing around. It’s the same with other areas you’ll visit on your journey. Otherwise, you can stroll out of the safe zone and into the wilderness, bumping into enemies and maybe a few useless collectibles. You’ll have to fight your way through numerous Roman camps filled with hundreds of soldiers, and one item at the end of the gauntlet. In order to progress, you gotta activate nearby switches to open the gates, but only if there aren’t many foes nearby. A lack of health items don’t really make these treks particularly enjoyable.
The combat is mindlessly repetitive, though it at least does offer a handful of special moves that can be upgraded. Asterix is shorter, quicker and can drink potions to power himself up, while Obelix can use his menhir, which also harbours special abilities that you’ll find as you progress, e.g. freezing enemies with an ice menhir. Usually, your best tactic is just to rush at your enemy and spam the attack button, unless you’re overwhelmed or confronted by the gits with the shields. At least the special moves are usually pretty effective, and can be upgraded at the shops. Most of them are pretty similar to one another’s though.
Outside of camp raiding, you can expect plenty of fetch quests, some of which take part in recycled areas of the game. The side-quests are given out by the aforementioned lifeless NPCs, yet you’ll be unexpectedly thrown into them without even being given the choice to consent or not. They never give any sort of forewarning beforehand, either. To its merit, there are a few sections that attempt to add a bit of variety, such as a trek across the ruins of a ship during periodic strong wilds, as well as a few puzzle sections found later on in the game.
Your AI companion can hardly be called such a thing, as most of the time they’re away with the fairies, absorbing damage but not dishing it out. It’s a relief that they can’t be harmed, considering you need to share a health bar. Alas, they fail to even fulfil basic tasks at times, like follow you when you’re rushing off while the camera awkwardly chases after your character. To say it’s better off in cooperative mode is hardly a glowing statement here, it’s just less worse when you have someone who’s genuinely useful by your side.
Aren’t adventures supposed to be thrilling and exciting? Asterix & Obelix XXL 3 – The Crystal Menhir doesn’t seem to realize this. It falls short in so many ways, from the sound and optimization to the brain-rotting gameplay. Co-operative mode may be more tolerable than playing solo, only because the companion AI is borked. There’s little reason to swipe this one up, so just stick with the toons or comics if you want to see the Gaulish lads bashing Caesar’s armies.
Review code donated by Micriods.