Developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft, Asphalt 3D promises avid racing fans everywhere “thrilling racing with stereoscopic 3D technology.” As one of two racing games that launched with the Nintendo 3DS, the latest Asphalt was expected to be a somewhat legit racing game.
Unfortunately, Asphalt 3D just isn’t the game that anyone expected or wanted from the series. Asphalt fails to deliver on pretty much every front imaginable and even a few fronts that you didn’t know about.
Asphalt 3D isn’t the worst looking game on the Nintendo 3DS, but it’s far from gorgeous. That’s why it’s so puzzling that Asphalt‘s frame rate is so bad when it’s clearly not struggling to run the on-screen graphics. Even the opening cinematic looks like a high school animation project, and the game can barely even run that! The 3D is basically pointless in this game too, and does not help to immerse players in the experience at all. You can also literally watch the terrain and traffic load in front of you, so it really doesn’t make for a great experience.
Asphalt 3D‘s controls have been over-simplified, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for those who have never played a racing game before, but isn’t a good thing for gamers who are looking for any kind of depth in their racing game. The driving feels like it was catered to people who had their license taken away because of a DUI, and just want to feel good about themselves by playing a game with stupidly simple driving mechanics. There is certainly still some challenge to be found whilst playing the title, but for the most part you can finish races by simply holding the gas.
There are three main modes in Asphalt 3D: Career, Free Race and Multiplayer. Career takes drivers across 17 different maps and gives them five different challenges on each one. Some of the challenges are obvious, such as racing, but there are also a few others that make for a nice amount of variety. The objective is to complete each challenge and win a new car, along with a nice shiny trophy. The gameplay tries to be a mixture of Burnout and Need for Speed with an arcady twist, and the game modes reflect that. If you cause enough of a ruckus then you’ll get the cops after you, and some of the challenges even require you to take out other racers.
While these modes seem to be a step in the right direction, Asphalt 3D takes a horrific misstep with poor collision detecting. Collisions are a common thing in almost any racing game, but after a few collisions in Asphalt I noticed that something was off about the way your car collides with others. There were quite a few times that I was several in-game feet away from an enemy racer and for some reason we were colliding and nudging each other. Collisions that involve zero logic are only made more irritating by the fact that they happen more often due to the fact that the power ups you can pick up along the track are massive and obstruct your view of oncoming traffic.
The Free Race mode is similar to the Career option, but it allows you to select from four different challenges: Race, Ghost, Vigilante or High Speed Chase. Race and Ghost are pretty simple and should need no explanation, but other modes are a little different. Vigilante has players trying to take out a group of other racers within three laps, while High Speed Chase is essentially a role-reversal where you must try to complete three laps while avoiding three police cruisers that are trying to take you out. These modes are a good way to kill time, but they don’t really add anything to the game at all.
Overall, Asphalt 3D is a really awful game that should be avoided by 3DS owners. The game feels like it was just too rushed (because it was), which is a shame because Asphalt games in the past have been decently fun. There are achievements and a few licensed car brands which are kind of cool, but other than that it is the worst game currently available for the Nintendo 3DS. Don’t buy, rent, or even borrow Asphalt 3D. Instead, take the money you would have spent on this game and rip, incinerate, and then urinate on it — it’s a significantly more entertaining way of wasting $40.