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Asphalt 3D Review

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Developer: Gameloft Publisher: Ubisoft
Release Date: March 27, 2011 Available On: 3DS

I was looking forward to playing some racing games on the 3DS. Blazing at top speeds with the environment coming to life with an enhanced sense of depth is what it should be all about. At least with the launch titles, that does not appear to be the case. It certainly is not with Asphalt 3D, a clumsy attempt that is better suited for the smartphone market.

The game has only three main modes: career, free race and multi-player. The career mode takes place over the course of fourteen different series. Each series contains four events and one bonus event that gets unlocked after completing all events. Some of these are straight-up races, others are takedown events, duels and so on.

All of this sounds fine and good until you start playing. You quickly find yourself retracing your way through the exact same courses in different game modes. In the first series alone you race twice in San Francisco, twice in Aspen and once in Athens (but don’t worry, they’ll make sure you race in Athens again in the next series). Repetition is the name of the game and it is excruciatingly boring.

Gameloft managed to attain some licensed vehicles for Asphalt 3D. The number of cars is relatively impressive for a handheld title at over 40. Use the points that you acquire in the races to tune-up your ride by buying new parts. Further customization is allowed cosmetically by applying decals and painting your vehicle.

These are things we have come to expect with racing games. Asphalt set out at the bare minimum for a product in the genre. Unfortunately, it shows quite vividly in the graphics department. I can quite confidently say that Nintendo DS games look about as good as this. The cities in this game would not even be convincing on the PS2. Asphalt 3D is plagued by slowdown. Seeing oncoming cars is difficult to near impossible. You’ll find yourself crashing unexpectedly, causing you to lose the race and restart.

As far as the 3D goes in the game, the graphics do jump out at you a little bit, especially the cars. However, none of what I see in the game screams to me as being worthy of extra attention and in fact, the 3D only highlights the jagged edges within the game. It certainly in no way enhances your sense of speed or immersion in the race.

Speaking of speed, Asphalt 3D has no sense of it at all. Whether the speedometer is saying you are going 70 or 150, you really cannot tell much of a difference. Worse yet, it feels like you are driving on ice when you turn. It is not that you lose complete control, but more that the wheels do not have a sense of being grounded.

I was hoping that Asphalt 3D would prove to be a launch success. The Nintendo 3DS hardware has a lot of potential with racing games. The developers at Gameloft missed a key opportunity to show off the system by making a shoddy product that is a true sham for consumers at $40. I would recommend that gamers pass up Asphalt 3D and wait until a more legitimate racing title reaches the market. Ubisoft, we expect more from you than this.

Graphics: 5
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 5
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review