Asphalt 3D: review

  • Format: Nintendo 3DS
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Developer: Gameloft
  • Players: 1-4
  • Site: http://www.ubisoft.com

When it comes to supporting Nintendo hardware launches you can be sure Ubisoft will deliver. Generally though, what they deliver is the console gaming equivalent of Gameloft’s attempts to bring cheap versions of AAA games to phones and mobile devices. In screenshots it can look the part, yet when used in the wild you realise why the real thing really is better. The Irony with Asphalt 3D is that Ubisoft really are bringing Gameloft’s attempt at a AAA game as this is developed by them!

Asphalt is a driving game which has its roots on the iPhone, however it also has roots on the DS. One of the original DS launch window games was a previous version of Asphalt, and one of the first DSiWare games was also an Asphalt title. The game is a mix between Burnout and Ridge Racer, having you win races, time trials and other alternative racing challenges to progress and improve your career. Asphalt has a ton of licensed vehicles and you can unlock and purchase a huge number of upgrades.

Some of these upgrades seem to make a difference, others though make none and are a waste of time to implement. The cars themselves don’t handle that differently, with the real difference being leaps in speed (noticeable between the basic cars and the super cars) and perhaps some road grip.

One for the school run, obviously.

Road grip though is not really required in Asphalt as you can literally bump along the side of the road without being punished too much. Realistic physics have never been part Asphalt’s reputation and this 3DS version is not going to change that any time soon. Hit an oncoming vehicle though, something you will do often as you can’t see them until the collision, and it can mean the end of finishing the race in a meaningful position. Oncoming vehicles are to Asphalt what Blue Shells are to Mario Kart.

The game has a drifting mechanic which is laughable. You apply the breaks to drift and the car will snap into a drift ‘angle’ and then when you come out of it, the car just snaps back to how it should be. No smooth animation or any real feeling of actually drifting. None at all. This is to be expected with Asphalt, but one feels that this release was an opportunity for Ubisoft to raise the game’s production value and make the franchise a credible racer.

The 3D is pleasing, as are the graphics in general when the game is stationary – but when moving along (something usually expected of a racing game) general frame rate is poor, with whole frames missing when the car does a flying stunt. This feels like a port which has not been optimised for the hardware. Regarding the 3D in more detail, the sense of depth does add to the experience for overtaking and cornering but we feel more could have been made of it. It all feels a little bit ‘slapped on’.

The game offers local multiplayer (online would have been nice), career mode, free race mode and ‘Spot Pass’ implementation which we were not able to test.

We feel that with the 3DS E-Shop launching in May this would have made a better digital launch title with a price nearer to £3-£8 rather than the £35 you will find it in the shops for. If you want a colourful, simple racer for wasting a few moments here and there, wait a few months until this game starts being discounted as it surely will be. It is colourful and if you don’t take it seriously it can be fun but it does nothing to justify it’s price or justify buying a 3DS. If you want the real thing, buy Ridge Racer at launch or even better still wait till the games actually built for the platform get a release later this year.


 

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Written by Steven G

Steven Gurevitz is the CEO of 2002 Studios Media LTD and a founder of gaming accessory company Asiiya. 2002 Studios started off as a music production company, but produces a range of content from videos to videogames. The company specialises in localizing content for global brands.

He also owns the Urban Sound Label, a small niche e-label. He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor and co-owner CriticalGamer.co.uk. He enjoys FPS, Third person ‘free world’, narrative driven and portable gaming.
He is a freelance music tech writer, having co-written the Music Technology Workbook and is a regular contributor to CriticalGamer.co.uk.

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