Asphalt 3D review

  • Nicely detailed cars
  • Hyper boost effect
  • Moves quickly at times
  • Flakier than a Cadbury's Flake
  • Ridiculously overpriced
  • Inferior to iOS Asphalt 6

The first game I ever bought on the original DS was Asphalt 2: Urban GT, because I wanted to play a 3D, handheld racing game. It wasn't amazing, but I can still remember playing it in bed at 1am after getting home from the midnight launch. It holds a special place in my heart as the first game I owned on a beloved console. If Asphalt 3D was the only game I bought at 3DS' launch, it would hold an equally special place. In my bin.

It's a racing game, and a moderately difficult one at that. The AI drivers can see the same shortcuts as you and they put up a decent fight, boosting when they can and trying to knock you off the road. You can attract the attention of the cops who get super aggressive (but just turn into takedown fodder… sorry, 'knockdown' fodder – it's totally non-copyright infringing) and there are health, cash and nitro pick-ups strewn along the road.

Above: Slam into him at speed and run him into the wall for a Takedown. Dammit, sorry, KNOCKDOWN. My bad

If you refrain from boosting until your bar is full, you can activate hyperspeed boost. This turns the sky dark and makes neon lines appear at the sides of the track – a bit like late night bowling at the Hollywood Bowl, if you've ever tried that. It's a reasonably pretty effect and also allows you to eliminate opponents with one hit.

There are 'Knockdown' vigilante challenges, drift challenges (where you race the usual tracks but sliding as much as possible) and elimination events where you mustn't be last. Standard stuff, but there is undoubted enjoyment to be had from drifting around a long corner, OutRun 2-style. The sensation of speed looks good when the frame rate's behaving itself, and having real-time 'X seconds behind' stats on the touch-screen is neat.

Sounds alright, doesn't it? It isn't. Firstly, it was born an iPhone game, although the content's changed slightly from Asphalt 6. And the iOS versions look better, run better and cost a fraction of the price. £2.99 on iPhone, RRP of… really? £39.99? GAME is selling it for £34.99, but still, that's an absolute joke. Even with the 3D switched off, the frame-rate and angular scenery are reminiscent of the N64.

Above: This is a press shot. Looks nice, doesn't it? Don't be fooled... look at the next one

To its credit, the car models are nicely detailed. But that's where the praise has to end. The iOS version's pleasantly solid collisions are gone as cars repeatedly glitch through each other during crashes. Also gone are the iOS version's real-time environment-mapped bodywork reflections - on 3DS the bodywork sheen is just an unchanging graphic pretending to be a reflection. Jumps across rooftops slow the game to a crawl (before the car glitches through a wall and slides around before realising the impossibility of its own momentum vs an immovable object and crashes out) and the less said about the sound the better.

Actually, that last bit isn't true. I have to tell you about the sound. While you're accelerating, the engine sounds fine. First gear, second gear, third gear, fourth… by now we're going along nicely. Fifth gear smoothly engages and still the engine note rises. Sixth, seventh – wow, this is a sports gearbox and no mistake. Wait… eighth gear? Ninth?

When you're up to 'fourteenth' gear and still going, you know there's something wrong. I've heard games change engine notes before to maintain aural variety in long periods of top speed (Downforce on PS2 did this superbly), but this takes the biscuit.

Above: We don't have 3DS grabbing facilities yet, but this photo of the screen illustrates the basic scenery

As you race, you win upgrades and XP, which at least gives you some incentive to do better as it lets you level up quicker. Higher levels let you race better cars, but you'll have some decent ones after an hour or so anyway so it's of little consequence. It really isn't the kind of game where carefully tuning set-ups will make any real difference to the gameplay.

So what can I say in summary? It's a £39.99 inferior remix of a £2.99 iPhone game with bad sound, bad graphics and shockingly slapdash collision logic. Not only is it the worst game of the 3DS' launch line-up, it's a contender for the title of 'worst launch game of all time'. Worse than Pen Pen. Worse than Tama. Worse even than Altered Beast. Do I really need to say it? Avoid. 

25 Mar, 2011

More Info

Available Platforms: 3DS
Genre: Racing
Published by: Konami


  • Roentgen - May 25, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    Funny how BigKingBud chose to ignore the only voice of reason here because he knew Austin_SJ was right. It doesn't matter that Nintendo originally employed Sony to develop the Play Station as an add-on (Not to mention that even in this case, Sony created it on their own, Nintendo only paid them to do with while Sony did all the work). The fact remains that Playstation and Playstation 2 both dominated N64 and Gamecube, respectively, in sales. End of argument.
  • Darkwun - May 25, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    bit late to the inane and pointless banter, but for the comment about "somehow the gc version [of resident evil 4] was better [than the ps2 version] the gc was considerably more powerful than the ps2 (i had both). i traded in my copy of timesplitters on the ps2 because you couldnt put doors on the custom maps, whereas you could on the gc. a common misconception is that the ps2 is more powerful, it was the weakest, and the x box even stronger still
  • 510BrotherPanda - March 25, 2011 6:34 p.m.

    @BigKingBud Let's not turn this into another pointless Charlie Sheen "WINNING" scenario, please... It was Nintendo working together with Sony's sound chips that helped SNES overpower Genesis in musical fidelity, so they are both good in their own ways.
  • Austin_SJ - March 25, 2011 6:18 p.m.

    What I don't understand is how the history of the Playstation effects the fact that at 2 stages Sony consoles have outsold Nintendo Consoles? If a son beats his Dad at a game, he still wins. Thus Playstation has beaten Nintendo on 2 occassions, as opposed to lol "playstation has never beat nintendo" lol.
  • Alomeigne - March 25, 2011 6:15 p.m.

    whoops, had this page opened too long i guess, those comments weren't there a second ago.
  • Alomeigne - March 25, 2011 6:13 p.m.

    At the risk of being bombarded with argument, technically they began work on it together, and then Nintendo dropped sony. Sony DID invent the playstation, but it was based on their joint effort with nintendo so...just the history. Obviously one of Nintendo's bigger mistakes,,but ds and wii sales have pretty much evened out the gamecube disaster.
  • juicenpancakes - March 25, 2011 5:50 p.m.

    Of course, that's not even up for argument. I just have a boner for citations.
  • juicenpancakes - March 25, 2011 5:25 p.m.

    @BigKingBud: Thanks for not only copying and pasting the entire "History" section from the Playstation wiki, leaving out only the beginning, "According to the book 'Game Over,' by David Sheff." Although, we obviously wouldn't want anyone to think that someone else actually wrote all of that and not yourself.
  • sirdilznik - March 25, 2011 4:58 p.m.

    I figured there was a good chance that this was going to be a lazy port and would suck but worse than Altered Beast? Damn that's harsh!
  • coujoir - March 25, 2011 4:13 p.m.

    @BigKingBud At the risk of perpetuating this retarded argument, I have decided to step in and call you a dumbass. Nintendo did not invent Playstation. Sony may have developed it in response to Nintendo's poor business etiquette, but to say that constitutes Nintendo "pretty much inventing" the Playstation is idiotic. Nintendo had no part in developing the Playstation at all, and to say they did is akin to saying that Japan "pretty much" invented the Nuclear Bomb by attacking the US. In addition, your argument that Nintendo taught Sony the "facts of life" in the gaming industry is also pretty stupid. Given the fact that Sony took both a radically different marketing strategy to Nintendo and took a different approach to hardware indicates that even if Nintendo tried to teach the "facts of life" to Sony, Sony fundamentally ignored them, and was better off for it. In conclusion, please shut up. In response to this article...I wonder if, seeing as this started life as an IOS game, similar products will be offered on Nintendo's download service for 3DS, and if so, at what price?
  • blays - March 25, 2011 4 p.m.

    Wow, anybody actually play Asphalt on handheld console? I thought it's just some rip off of NFS and Burnout that you can only play on mobile phones
  • BurntToShreds - March 25, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    The 3DS is going to get a whole new set of games like Imagine and Petz. Only this time, they're going to be in 3D. I really wish Nintendo would do more to ensure that shovelware didn't get onto their systems.
  • Tispower - March 25, 2011 2:12 p.m.

    What the hell... Why would anyone sell this for the price higher than what I spent on MW2 at Launch?!
  • EnragedTortoise1 - March 25, 2011 2:01 p.m.

    Ahahahahah. Thought so. Now how is Riiiiidge Raaacer Threeeee Deeeeeee?
  • Japanaman - March 25, 2011 1:40 p.m.

    Asphalt 2 on DS looks better than this and Asphalt 4 is definitely worth its $8 price on DSiWare, but $40.00 for this? RIPOFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!!!! Now, why isn't Asphalt 2 downloadable on PSP, and where is 3 & 5 on DS and PSP?
  • Austin_SJ - March 25, 2011 1:02 p.m.

    Regardless of who invented it I think it outsold the N64, and Sony took all the profits. Shhh Justin we're trying to troll here, not have a sensible discussion about the merits of the 3DS.
  • Primed - March 25, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    @BigKindBud PS2 sales- 150 million worldwide. Gamecube sales-21 million worldwide... Just saying. I loved my gamecube but the ps2 kicked it's ass all the way. Except for RE4 which somehow looked better on the GC
  • GR_JustinTowell - March 25, 2011 12:50 p.m.

    Erm, just to clarify, fellas - 3DS itself is absolutely gorgeous. This game is not.
  • Austin_SJ - March 25, 2011 11:38 a.m.

    @BigKingBud Just forgetting about about the PSOne and PS2 there I see.
  • shawksta - March 25, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    YYYYEAH, I pefer getting Ridge Racer and Mario kart thank you very much. @Radimir Kids will be kids, they find ONE mistake and then they bash the living crap out of it.

Showing 1-20 of 23 comments

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