Asphalt 3D 3DS Review (Australian Exclusive) - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 7.9
Graphics 7.9
Sound 7.0
Value 7.7
Distributor: UbiSoft
Classification:
G
Reviewer:
James Wright

7.8


Asphalt 3D

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 problem!

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 immediately.

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!






 
 



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