Asphalt 3D - First Impressions

posted 19 Mar 2011, 11:02 by Knuckles Sonic8   [ updated 19 Mar 2011, 14:43 ]
In continuing with my early Nintendo 3DS impressions, I'll deliver my thoughts on the different games I tried in the order I played them in. Asphalt 3D was actually the very first game I tried for the 3DS (go ahead and laugh) only because other units at the Demo Station were not vacant.

I started off the demo by going back to the Main Menu. From there, you're treated to a nice-looking car in the garage as you make mode selections. Using the Circle Pad, you can change the camera and look around the vehicle's exterior and gawk at their good make. I then started an Exhibition Race on a decent-sized track -- the one you've probably seen a couple times already on YouTube. 

Starting out, as soon as I bumped up the 3D a tad, there were subtle differences that made the game look more appealing. The most important change I noticed in transitioning from 2D to 3D was that the car gained more dimension; it was as if a thin outline appeared around the hull of the vehicle. As I continued racing, I kept trying to figure out the ideal position for the 3D slider. I was probably fumbling around with it for about 20 seconds on and off. Other than the aforementioned slight addition of depth, I didn't observe anything spectacular with respect to the surroundings or even the other cars. But perhaps it's a matter of spending more than just one race to see the full impact 3D has on this title.

As far as gameplay goes, Asphalt 3D isn't bad for an arcade racer, but then again this is coming from someone who enjoyed Asphalt 4: Elite Racing on DSiWare. There are lots of energy icons on the track that will build up your boost meter, along with wrenches that I imagine will serve to repair your car. Controlling a car left and right with the Circle Pad didn't feel like a smooth transition. In fact, I thought it lacked polish to a degree. Drifting in this game was also rough at first, but I got used to it after a minute or two. However, I still noticed roughness in the animations after I exited a drift which took away from the seamlessness of the whole thing.

The best part about the whole experience was activating the boost ability when the meter was full. This put a veil of darkness onto the environment where the sky appeared as though it were night time. Along with the game becoming more fast-paced, there were also neon streaks that appeared along the sides of the track and in other areas that added to the faster animations. Plus, going off a stunt ramp at high speed was also kind of fun to see even if this didn't happen many times.

On the other side of the spectrum, Asphalt 3D had its share of poor moments as well. There were multiple occasions where the framerate dipped severely, nearly ruining whatever positive feelings I started to have towards the game. As you rammed a car into the wall or crashed into an oncoming vehicle, the camera would briefly focus in on what just took place. The overall feeling this feature conveyed was completely undermined whenever the framerate reached a low point, creating complications with the lack of crispness in the way the camera then re-adjusted itself.

Even after experiencing that major flaw, I still felt like playing another race, mostly to see if things would improve with the camera, framerate and the mediocre excitement level. Honestly, the pessimistic thoughts I heard and even the videos I saw of the game made Asphalt 3D to be a whole lot worse. Although I didn't find it to be lots of fun by any means, I can't say I hated it. But it definitely has some big problems -- problems you'd expect to be rectified by now. I strongly discourage anyone from purchasing this at launch until they find out more about it through reviews and the like. From what I saw, even though I typically prefer racers like this, I can't say this is worth $40. For Ubisoft's sake, hopefully the game does get better the more you play.