Review: Asphalt Injection (PSV)
Title: Asphalt Injection
Format: PlayStation Network Download (765 MB) / Game Card
Release Date: February 15, 2012
Original MSRP: $26.99 (PSN) / $29.99 (Game Card)
ESRB Rating: E
Asphalt Injection is exclusive to the PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation Network Download version was used for this review.
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 257 of the podcast.
When the Vita launched in Japan, I ordered a copy of Ridge Racer, which was decidedly light on features, cars, tracks… well, you get the idea. When Asphalt Injection showed-up at my door, I knew nothing of it really, but it did look good in screenshots. The first sign that the pictures may be misleading was when I saw the Gameloft logo appear. They’ve long had a reputation of making clones of popular titles, but in style and visuals only. After playing the game for a couple of hours, I’d realized that this game was living-up to the developer’s reputation.
Asphalt Injection is a typical arcade racer, with modes such as time trials, elimination, and standard races. You can choose from Quick Race, Career, and multiplayer, but past that, your options are pretty thin. Quick Race is just that, a single race that allows you to choose options like course, car, etc. Career starts you out with a pretty standard car, and the better you do, the more cash you make to purchase better cars and upgrades for them. You can also alter the paint job of each car, and apply decals that show things like flames and those tribal images that dudes with huge arms always get.
Races are exactly what you’d expect, well at least at first blush. After driving about 500ft you quickly realize that it definitely looks better than it feels. Controls are slushy at best, and even when the turbo is used, a sense of speed is never really fully realized. Drifting is a mechanic that’s promoted, but the actual implementation is quite terrible. When you enter a corner, you tap Square to get into the drift, but the car feels like it’s on top of a pike, pivoting directly in the center of the undercarriage. The car doesn’t even feel like it’s interacting with the road, but instead feels more like one team make the tracks etc, and one team worked on the cars. Unfortunately, unlike my favorite candy made with chocolate and peanut butter, these two elements do not satiate.
Turbo Boost is gained either by safely passing other cars, or by picking boost up along the track. If the meter is not full, you can use a section of the boost for quick jumps forward, at least that’s what you’d expect. The rubber-banding is so bad in this game, that in numerous instances, boosting without being at full meter doesn’t bring you even a foot closer to the car in front of you. If the meter is full and Circle is pressed to initiate boost, the screen goes dark with neon highlights, and you go a little faster. How much ground you gain seems to be affected more by your place than what it should actually be. In-game cash can also be picked up, which helps a bit with purchasing upgrades and car parts. Track design again is pretty pedestrian, with a couple of shortcuts peppered-in for good measure.
The visuals are quite the mixed bag. The tracks and environments actually look great, and are the best thing about the game. Motion is well done, and the lighting is above average. The problem is that the same care was not taken with the cars, all of which are licensed vehicles such as a Ford Mustang or a Mini Cooper. The amount of cars available is pretty decent, but they have to be unlocked before they can be purchased. It was a huge letdown when I first saw a fly through of the track, to only be let down once the race started.
As expected,the audio is mediocre at best. None of the music is memorable at all, and the race sounds are all underpowered and just blah.
Multiplayer is available via Ad-Hoc and Online. Problem is, as seen in the shot below, I’ve never been able to find an online game available, and (thankfully) I don’t know anyone near me that owns this game.
Asphalt Injection is an overpriced, under delivered, sloppy clone of much better games. I went in to this one with high hopes, but once I started playing, I had to force myself to continue on. It’s not just an average game, its simply a bad game.
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