The race is on to get
the perfect 3D racer out for the new Nintendo 3DS and presently, we have
two choices, Namco Bandai's Ridge Racer 3D and Ubisoft's Asphalt 3D.
Both have their pros and cons. We'll get to which game is better at the
end of the review but for now, let's talk about Asphalt 3D. At times,
this game feels like it has a personality disorder because there are so
many cool racing elements from other games included that it does leave you wondering what is going on. Even
though imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I actually enjoyed
Asphalt 3D, although it did feel a little confused as times as it supports four different racing modes
plus everything else racing in between.
Add a variety of "real-world" inspired locations with 42 real-world cars
like mini Coopers, Ferraris and this game has it all.
At its core, Asphalt 3D is an arcade racer that supports a rather
in-depth career mode that not only requires you to win races, excel at
time trials but you are awarded bonus cash and experience points if you
perform certain challenges. There are 14 different leagues to engage in
and these are only unlocked by winning or coming in at an acceptable
positions. In order to progress your career, you need to win races that
unlocks additional cars and tracks which then allows you to fine tune
your vehicles, including decals and colours.
As you race around these 3D
worlds, you will notice that the track is littered with power-up such as
nitro to cash and even tools to repair your car. However many of the
more powerful bonuses are found on the other side of the road which
requires you to play chicken with oncoming traffic and the more chaos
that you cause on the roads, the more chances that you will come under
the attention of the police. Apart from using your cash to upgrade your
cars, you receive penalties in the race if you cause too much
mayhem but more often than not, you reap the cash awards. Just like
some other racers, you can carefully nudge your opponents and the police
off the road which flicks to a slow motion view of the crash you caused
or if you crashed into another vehicle head-on. It's a nifty effect like
Burnout, however it does hamper the flow of the gameplay.
With that said, the game is not your standard racer either because you need to carefully
pay attention to the map on the bottom of the screen which can be a
little tricky at the best of times because not only does it show you a
map of your current track but possible shortcuts as well. These shortcuts are
quite tricky to find initially but eventually they will become like
second nature. Best of all, these shortcuts generally contain some
outrageous jumps that had me saying "wow" as I jumped in the air and
flew over cars. Thankfully jumps are not just limited to shortcuts and
certain tracks like San Francisco have truly brilliant jumps. Nitro plays
a key role in the game that at times means the difference between
winning and losing but if you build up your Nitro to the max and unleash
it with the right shoulder button, you will be transported to an almost
Tron like world as you race at insane speeds. It's actually quite a cool
effect but steering becomes an issue though. With more different races
than you can poke a stick at, plus 40+ cars, 17 iconic locations, Asphalt
3D is definitely up there for longevity.
The mapping of the controls for Asphalt 3D work well enough on the
Nintendo 3DS with the analog stick used to control your vehicle, A to
accelerate, B to brake, X/Y for N20 Boost, L button to change view and R
button for nitro. If need to be, the control pad can also be used to
steer your car. Speed plays a key role in this game and if you do nudge
an obstacle such as a barrier or tree, the game is quite lenient in this
aspect and you will not lose too much speed. The only issue I had with
the control system is that if you go a little too far into
oncoming traffic, you will generally have a crash and if you're coming
first on the last lap, it's very hard to make the ground up again. Now if we had a bigger screen, this wouldn't be a
If you do have too many bingles, you can access the repair
power-ups on the circuit which magically heals your car but it does not
hamper the gameplay either way. Drifting around corners, nudging your
opponents into walls is all part of the fun of this title, especially
the nitrous boosts. Apart from career, there is a quick "free race"
mode and the game does support local multiplayer of up to six players
which unfortunately we could not test and a really cool StreetPass mode
that swaps basic racing statistics between gamers such as best times.
From competitions to sponsors, car modifications, achievements and even
fine tuning cars, Asphalt 3D is quite an intensive racer.
Graphically, Asphalt 3D is a rather
good looking game on the
Nintendo 3DS. The highlight of the game is the depth perception of the
3D and not only do the cars have this great 3D atmosphere to them but
even some of the backgrounds like buildings and trees. There are a
variety of views available to play Asphalt 3D from, such as behind the car to
bonnet view which depends on your preferred style. For me, I prefer to
see my car on the road that makes it easier to judge where my car is and
more importantly, how far it is away from my racers or civilian drivers.
Apart from the stellar 3D graphics, Asphalt 3D supports a plethora of
realistic car effects and an over the top commentator to introduce you
the tracks like ass-pen... errr.. Aspen! These give the game a real arcade feel
but the most
annoying aspects of the game is the music that becomes too repetitive
and has some horrid vocals. One world of warning, turn the music off
In the end, Asphalt 3D is a decent successor to this series on the DS
and the 3D graphics look great on Nintendo's new 3DS console. There's
plenty of fun and variety to be had in this game, however the sometimes
touchy control system does become a thorn in your side because generally
a crash means you've lost the race, especially in the last lap. The
slow motion replays of the crash are enjoyable at first but
unfortunately it messes with your gaming, especially when you're in the
zone. Even so, I enjoyed Asphalt 3D as racer on the 3DS but it does take
a little time in mastering the mechanics and compared to Ridge Racer 3D,
RR is definitely a sturdier game and more enjoyable due to the controls.
Both deserve their places though!