Asphalt: Urban GT 2 review

  • Bright and varied courses
  • Speed-demon nitro boosts
  • Tons of collectible vehicles
  • Witless slow-poke AI
  • Collision detection oddities
  • Poor audio work

A battle between motorcycle and SUV would surely end in a mile-long streak of two-wheeled hamburger. But Asphalt: Urban GT 2 is more interested in high-speed hit-and-run arcade antics than realism, borrowing liberally from more established console brands. Whether you're careening around on a Ducati, plowing through obstacles in a Hummer, or streaking toward the finish line in a Mercedes SLR, nitrous is your best friend. Laughing gas can be fired off in one, two, or three canister bursts (see: Ridge Racer), and earned by running over refills, and narrowly missing traffic (see: Burnout).

The slippery and cartoonish physics take some getting used to, but the other ingredients of a modern street racer are in attendance: loads of cars to unlock, performance parts to purchase, visual options to swap out, and the constant threat of police intervention. The huge number of races range from duels and checkpoint elimination trials to vanilla three-lappers and cop pursuits, and they'll keep you scorching pavement for hours, in settings as diverse as the hills of San Francisco and the tank-studded streets of Dubai. It doesn't hurt that this cartridge sports some of the snazziest graphics we've seen from Nintendo's under-powered handheld.

Where it stumbles, and badly, is in the AI department. The opponents of the main career mode lag so far behind in power and basic intelligence that it's not unusual to reach the checkered flag with a full minute or more to spare. The cops that join the chase when you hit a certain mayhem threshold aren't much better, since a simple nudge into the track boundary will sideline them immediately, and timed taps of the nitrous button power you out of any helicopter's instant-arrest spotlight. Even with arcade mode difficulty set to "hard," there's absolutely no challenge whatsoever to be found.

Still, though this lack of real opposition can make the whole affair seem pointless after a while, it doesn't get in the way of enjoying the convincing sense of speed and twisting tracks. The same could also be said for the questionable collision detection, barely intelligible cop vocals, and shoddy sound effects. Asphalt: Urban GT 2 may be forgettable in the grand scheme of things, but it still manages to be fun in small doses.

More Info

Release date: Nov 14 2006 - DS (US)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Racing
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Virtuos
ESRB Rating:
Everyone 10+: Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes

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