Asterix & Obelix XXL 2: Mission Las Vegum
Do you remember the time when the Asterix and Obelix comics were really good? Neither do I. Keeping that in mind; do you know how easy it is to make something bad out of something that wasn’t that good in the first place? This game for instance: take a stereotypical plotline, mix it with outdated graphics and combine it with three jokes and you have the framework for A&O XXL2.
A&O is supposed to be a funny action-platform game with a lot of puzzles to give children hours and hours of entertainment. In reality it’s an uninspired over-marketed game that has absolutely nothing original to offer. Luckily you can finish the game in less than 9 hours.
The game kicks off with the disappearance of some druids, an ambush apparently arranged by Panoramix. To find out what happened, Asterix and Obelix are sent to Las Vegum, a gigantic amusement park built by Julius Caesar. In the meantime you’ve already met your companion and tutorial host Sam Shiffer, a Roman legionnaire and parody on Sam Fisher. (Yes, from Splinter Cell) In fact, the whole game is supposed to be a parody on the entire games world and her characters. Besides Sam Shiffer you will meet people like Larry Craft, enemies that look like Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog and so on.
What could have been a fun gimmick and evolve into a nice parody is so stretched out that all humor is lost. You can’t have 3 jokes in 9 hours and call yourself hilarious. The humor just doesn’t do it for me. This wouldn’t be such a big problem however if the technical aspects of the game were solid. Unfortunately, this game screws up here too. Although voice acting is decent, background music is sometimes complete absent. And when it’s there, it’s a 15 second loop of the same tune all over again. I must admit though that the graphics aren’t that bad. The different levels are all very colorful but there seems to be something wrong with the perspective, especially in first person mode, and everything looks so plastic.
Nevertheless, it all seems so outdated compared to games like Jak & Daxter or Ratchet & Clank. (And I’m talking about the first ones.) All these flaws make it even more amazing that the controls are really good. They’re very intuitive and easy to work with; you’ll be making combos in no time. This makes the learning curve very low so little children can “enjoy” this title too.
The easy controls make the gameplay more fun than it otherwise would’ve been. Switching between characters, fighting and special moves are all OK and there’s plenty of action on the screen. I found the puzzles to be a too easy but then again, I’m not 7 years old anymore. That’s why I let my little brother play this game too. After all, it could be possible that children of his age really like this game and all the jokes in it. So I switched on the PS2, called my brother and told him to play this game for 30 minutes. He agreed with the deal and started playing. Sam Shiffer, first laugh. Las Vegum, second laugh. Then it became awful quiet and after already 20 minutes he started begging to let him play something else.
Maybe it is because I never fancied the Asterix & Obelix world but I don’t like this game. It tries so hard to be a parody to the extent that it isn’t funny anymore but just pathetic. As it is released together with the new album, I suspect motives as ‘easy marketing, quick money’, which is a real pity because the gameplay and the controls were pretty good but couldn’t outplay all the other frustrating things. This is a title that had great potential to become a fun platform-game for children but was ruined by lack of talent or plain laziness.