Asphalt 3D is the effort of a company that’s earned its keep by developing and publishing games for the smartphone platform. Gameloft is a titan on the iOS and Android marketplaces, and given those retail spaces, Asphalt is one of the best racing franchises available.
However, the 3DS isn’t a smartphone. The 3D technology it provides can’t currently be found on any smartphones. Given that, how does Gameloft’s Asphalt 3D stack up as a 3DS launch title?
Meh. Yeah, I just “meh’d.”
This game feels like an unjustified rip-off of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. You’ve got a career with experience, unlocks, new cars, new tracks, police, take downs (here called “Knockdowns,” oddly enough)… the whole deal. The only additions you’ll see throughout the experience are the 3D effect, of course, and on-track pickups like boost and repairs.
The pickups actually give Asphalt 3D a more kart feel than a traditional racer. Because of that, and the liberal amount boosting and sweet ramps you’ll encounter, Asphalt 3D isn’t a realistic title. Which, hey, I’ve got no qualms with that. Unrealistic racers are great, if done right. They form a fantastic genre in and of themselves.
It’s the fact that Ubisoft plastered claims of realism on the back of the box that rubs me the wrong way. And, as consumers, let this stand as a warning. They’re lying. According to Ubisoft, Asphalt 3D is “the first-ever authentic 3D racing experience on Nintendo.”
When the quote that adorns the packaging makes no sense at all, you know you’re in trouble. Ridge Racer 3D is a more realistic title, first of all. Why does “first-ever” have a hyphon? Hell, they even managed to leave off “3DS” after Nintendo at the end. That’s right, according to this quote, Asphalt 3D is the first authentic 3D racer on Nintendo. Nintendo what!?!?
Rant complete. If it weren’t for the blatant mislabelling and phone-in effort on the publisher’s behalf, Asphalt 3D may have been okay. The whole thing feels like a sound idea built on a shakey platform.
That aside, Asphalt 3D is only a fair game. The sound effects are cheap, the graphics are lacking and the controls feel a bit too mechanical to be on a handheld this deep in a company’s franchise. It’s obvious that Gameloft isn’t used to developing on more traditional consoles, and that hurts the overall experience.
When the price on Asphalt 3D dips and you’re looking for a halfway decent 3D racer, this one won’t disappoint. There are a ton of things to unlock, earn and play within, so you’ll absolutely get your mileage out of the experience.
Convincing yourself that this is a AAA racing effort from Ubisoft, however, is a mistake. You can get a better experience from the same company for a far smaller price tag on your mobile device. If you don’t have one capable of gaming, then you should just avoid this product altogether.