Next month, after over thirteen years of waiting, we’re getting a brand new game in the Asterix & Obelix XXL franchise. Asterix & Obelix XXL 3: The Crystal Menhir will be released for Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch, is being developed by Osome for Microïds and is due to come out on November 21st – high time for a preview.
What we know
The original Asterix & Obelix XXL dates back to 2003 and it’s been a while since XXL 2 came out, but we received an HD remaster of the sequel late last year – bringing the franchise to the current console generation for the first time. The Crystal Menhir is a sequel to XXL 2, but features a completely separate storyline and doesn’t require any knowledge of the previous games or even the comics (though it helps in how much you’ll appreciate the visuals and some of the references, of course).
In Asterix & Obelix XXL 3, word of a mysterious and ominous menhir reaches the peaceful village, and this sets the famed duo off on a quest in order to keep the peace. Along the way, of course, they’ll run into plenty of Romans, venturing into their military forts while solving the occasional puzzle as well.
The Crystal menhir will harness the power of the elements (though we didn’t see this in action yet), but the most important new feature in XXL 3 from a gameplay perspective has to be the inclusion of cooperative play. Previous XXL games allowed you to control both Asterix and Obelix, but this is the first time you and a friend or family member can pair up and play as the dynamic duo together.
What we saw
In addition to the screenshots and (gameplay) trailers that have been coming out over the past few months, we also went hands on with the game when we met with Microïds during Gamescom. During a lengthy play session, we played both linear level sections and traversed the main hub. This is the little Gaul village that Asterix and Obelix live in, which has a ton of familiar characters from the comics and movies to meet and talk to.
What we thought
The remaster of Asterix & Obelix XXL 2 did a great job at elevating the series to current standards, so it was no surprise that The Crystal Menhir looks similar to last year’s game, but with a small amount of extra polish. This is also seen in the game’s level designs – from what we saw they “flowed” better than those in XXL 2, which was based on a PS 2-era title. The combat system is largely unchanged, so if you played last year’s edition you can jump right in.
Optional pickups and secrets can also be found, and the series’ signature humor is also present and accounted for. We didn’t see that many pop culture references during our session, but the full game is supposed to have plenty more to find and recognize.
The best part, however, is that The Crystal Menhir can be played together with a friend in local co-op play – a feature that’s far too rare for action platformers these days. Besides slapping a good amount of Romans around together, XXL 3 also features casual puzzles and challenges during which you need to cooperate. As a result, this is a title that should be high on the ‘most wanted’ list this holiday season for those looking for family-oriented games that can be played together. With its cartoon style and lighthearted humor, this is one where young and old can join forces.