Ubisoft’s handheld racer Asphalt series returns for the 3DS, but how does this compare to the more popular Ridge Racer?
Those concerned of a rush job fear not as the amount of content on this racer will keep you occupied for ages with a decent selection of single and multiplayer modes to go against. The main career mode allows you to participate in 14 different leagues, with the aim to win races, earn cash and get new cars.
As for the leagues, each is split into a group of races that have set requirements to pass over 8 race types, these include the classic first past the post wins, time trails, leader of the pack; which has the player in last place eliminated after each lap; a high speed chase where the local police will be tailing you and trying everything to stop you; vigilante mode which gives you the chance to take down a criminal; a duel mode offering one on one racing, drift which gets you to throw your car around as many corners as possible, and cash attack, which has you collecting as much cash as possible on and off road.
During the league races you earn cash and XP, which allows more items to be unlocked for you to spend money on. Cash and XP can be earned in numerous ways, hitting perfect drifts; avoiding incoming traffic and even taking out the opposition all add points to your XP. Each race also has mini achievements to complete to give you an extra XP boost, be it finishing in a certain time or avoiding crashing. To give you a racing edge each car is fitted with an N2O boost which injects Nitrous Oxide into the engine, giving you a limited speed advantage. You can collect N2O boosts by collecting power-ups on the track and drifting; if used early it will just give you a short boost but with a full gauge the game screen will go all neon and allow you to plough through anything that gets in the way.
With all of the XP and cash you earn you are able to upgrade your vehicle via the garage, which lets you have a full 3D view of your car and upgrade areas like extra N2O or higher top speeds. To add a little variable to the game you also have Sponsors, these will have to be unlocked during play and offer game altering specs that will help your career, like extra XP bonus.
Asphalt 3D has an impressive 17 tracks that take inspiration from sights from around the world, with each one offering tight bends, full speed straights and plenty of hidden shortcuts taking you through parks, over water and even across rooftops. The game also has a staggering 21 car licenses available, with over 40 cars to purchase. To start with you’ll find yourself in a Mini, however as long as you race well you will soon be checking out the garages of Ducati, Ferrari and Aston Martin, with each car rendered in full 3D, looking great in the garage and on the road.
Graphically, Asphalt 3D copes well with what is going on screen, the game chips along at a decent rate but the 3D effects are a mixed bag. If playing from the default behind the car view your eyes will hurt, this is down to having two points of view, one is the car in the foreground, the other the track in the background, focus on either and the other will be double vision, causing quite a bit of stress to the eyes and your brain and making it hard to judge obstacles. To avoid this just go for the in car view, which really works well with the 3D effects of cars and the surrounding buildings, looking great and whizzing by really fast.
Whilst the top screen is left clutter free, the bottom screen hosts all of the race stats and also has a very handy GPS style map that you can zoom in and out with a tap of the touch screen.
Multiplayer modes are what you would expect from a handheld device, with up to 6 players able to join in a local server over the same tracks available as single player, with one of the players hosting and the rest joining in. It is shame that online play is not available as this would have made the game a must have purchase. StreetPass is also available on Asphalt 3D, allowing you to trade ghost times.
Asphalt 3D is ultimately better just played in 2D, it just does not have the finish and feel like the Ridge Racer does on the 3DS. That said it has a huge career mode available with plenty of cars to purchase, meaning it’ll keep you entertained for ages.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
You can order your copy of Asphalt 3D here.