If you thought that everyone forgot about Asterix and Obelix after the films with Gerard Depardieu (Gerard Depardieu), then this is not the case. At least in their homeland, in France, this couple is still popular – they publish comics with her participation and shoot full-length cartoons. Therefore, it is not surprising that a reprint was released not so long ago Asterix & Obelix XXL 2, and at the end of the year the publishing house Microids prepared a sequel called Asterix & Obelix XXL 3 – The Crystal Menhir.
What have you done to them?
That's just the language does not turn to call this game the third part of the series XXL – She looks completely different than her predecessors. This is no longer a three-dimensional adventure, but an action game with a camera located somewhere above that cannot be controlled. Small Asterix and Obelix run around the corridor (most often, but not always) locations, fight with the same small Romans, collect collectibles, and for all these years for some reason they forgot how to jump.
Games about these funny galls were never outstanding, and very often they had to fight long and dreary with crowds of Romans in order to advance the plot. In the new part, nothing has changed – you still need to poke hundreds and thousands of enemies with your fists, only here you managed to make this process even more boring. Either you travel from one point to another and fight with everyone, then you are locked up within a large camp and asked to do the same.
The essence of the camps is to get to the valuable thing and pick it up, after which the heroes will automatically leave the location, having received an assessment for their successes. Each camp is divided into several sections, between which there are gates that can be opened with levers. Even if one enemy is hunting you, they will not be allowed to interact with the lever, so it is advisable to defeat everyone. Particular attention should be paid to the soldiers raising the alarm – after their signal even more Romans rush out of the tents. And you can immediately demolish buildings with a few strokes.
The only problem is that in case of death, the passage of the entire camp must be started from the very beginning, and it sometimes takes a lot of time. I played the game alone on high difficulty (for the sake of a trophy, of course) and constantly cursed at a partner controlled by artificial intelligence, who did practically nothing – only lazily beat someone with his fist once every two seconds. Perhaps he’s to blame himself, since he didn’t call a living friend, but add an online co-op then if the companion is absolutely useless when playing solo.
The most striking example of a partner's stupidity is a fight with the Roman shield-bearers. It is assumed that the player must use a special technique (for example, an uppercut) and knock the shield out of the hands of the enemy, and then it can be cuddled. That's just the energy spent on these techniques, but it is not always available and is not automatically regenerated. We have to rely on a companion – to “agitate” the enemy and hope that another gall will hit him in the back. He does this, but is so sluggish that the battle drags on for a minute. Well, at least, then it becomes possible to set fire to opponents and turn them backwards on their own.
However, even with a partner, the local combat system will die out to the second camp. In the game there is only one type of regular strokes (activated by clicking on the “Square” on the gamepad) plus a “Tumble” on Asterix and a belly hit on Obelix. Four special techniques mentioned above are four, but only a circular attack is useful among them. Why use an uppercut that offends only one opponent, or throw an unfortunate Roman in others when you can spin for several seconds and cause damage to everyone? As a result, a special technique, we can assume, is also only one. He needs energy, which you make up for with ordinary blows, so you have to stupidly press on “Square” too often.
The developers tried to make the game less monotonous by diluting monotonous fights with puzzles, but there are very few of them. They seemed to try to stretch the passage artificially, setting the Romans at almost every step, by which you start to run past at some point, just to save time. This is far from always successful, but sometimes there are chances. When you try to avoid this action in the action, there is clearly something wrong with the game.
Perhaps various types of opponents would help, but there are problems with this. Ordinary Romans, Romans with shields, fat Romans, alarming Romans – you see almost everyone in the first two camps, and nothing changes further. Only the environment is different – either you are fighting on slippery paths covered with ice, then in the camps there are more archers standing on the towers. Only Obelix can destroy these towers, so basically you only manage it – his skills are about the same as those of Asterix, and switching between them during the battle is not always possible.
Improvements that are purchased in stores for the collected currency also do not greatly affect the gameplay. They do not expand the list of abilities, but only strengthen them. They increase the damage from special techniques, increase the supply of health and energy, and lengthen the combination of conventional strokes – this is all. However, I would not say that after upgrades the enemies began to fall apart much faster, and it didn’t become more fun.
Minutes of rest
You get much more pleasure from secondary tasks, among which there are funny errands. In one of them it is necessary to drag the barrels from one place to another, dodging huge snowballs. In another – kicks to bring to the man his stray chicken. In the third – to run away one and a half minutes before a safe location, rushing past a pile of traps and dozens of Romans, who both shoot from the bow and try to prick with spears. True, the impression of these episodes sometimes spoils due to the fixed camera – it is not always clearly visible whether you are walking along a narrow plate or near it.
The plot, although it is absolutely walk-through, can amuse with references to the universe and all the same funny names of characters like Gintonikus and Ekonomikrizisa. The story revolves around the crystalline menhir, which will help Panoramix's sister defend herself from the Roman invasion of her island, but without three important elements it does not function at full strength. Asterix and Obelix begin to hunt for them, visiting various locations and asking their inhabitants about where they should go further.
You don’t miss the videos, but not because they are so interesting, but because you want to do at least something other than beating crowds of opponents. But here are some good jokes. In addition to XXL 3 not only subtitles are translated, but there is even a complete Russian sound. Localization in places unfinished (for a couple of tasks the descriptions crawl out in French), but otherwise performed perfectly – here also the inscriptions on the signs were adapted. It is only a pity that so much effort was spent on a mediocre game.
A circular attack is the best technique, and with upgrades the character will spin much longer.
Asterix & Obelix XXL 3 – The Crystal Menhir could be a good game, correcting the shortcomings of its predecessors, because the developers probably read criticism towards reissue XXL 2. As a result, they not only ignored everything, but also changed the genre. Perhaps, as a cooperative entertainment for a couple of evenings, the game will work, but even in the joint mode, it will start to yawn as quickly as when playing alone. None of this XXL 3 – the name does not match the content at all.
Pros: funny dialogs and familiar atmosphere "Asterix and Obelix"; minor tasks and puzzles are fun; full translation into Russian.
Minuses: not always convenient fixed camera; tiresome fights, of which there are too many; lack of conservation points in the camps; stupid AI companion; lack of online co-op.