Asphalt 3D Review (3DS)

August 31, 2011

3DS, Reviews

Asphalt 3D is a racing title developed by Gameloft and published by Ubisoft.  It was a launch title for the 3DS that wasn’t too well received by other critics, but is it really as bad as critics put it out to be?  Let’s find out.

Gameplay: 3/5

Combine Burnout with Need for Speed and essentially, you know what to expect from Asphalt 3D.  You will compete in 15 Tournaments, each consisting of five events (70 events in total).  You will partake in your standard races, as well as Drift, Cash Attack, Time Trial and Duel.  As you complete the events, you will earn cash and XP, letting you upgrade your vehicles as well as unlock new ones respectively.  The races are exactly as you’d expect, just have to make sure you earn the top spot to advance in the game.  You can takedown your opponents by ramming them into the walls or activating your “hyper speed” boost (which is when your boost meter is filled to the max).  Doing so will earn you more boost and extra cash to spend on buying or upgrading the 42 vehicles the game has to offer. Become too vengeful on the road and the cops start partaking in the race to try and stop you…but you can share some paint with them too to avoid getting busted.

The Drift events are essentially just about drifting your way throughout the entire course and making sure you earn the minimum amount needed to advance.  These events weren’t as polished as they should be.  Drifting was definitely a chore at times and the game’s jumpy framerate certainly made it more difficult.  The faster the car went, the less prone you were to drifting.  If you’re used to games like Burnout and Need for Speed, this may take some serious adjustment.  The odd concept with the Drift events was the fact that other racers were on the track just racing around you. While the game records what position you’re in, it doesn’t matter.  You could be in dead last and as long as you fulfilled your requirement, you would pass the event.  Time Trial events are straight-forward, just race through the track within the given time limit.  These were surprisingly not frustrating in the very least, which is a good sign.

Cash Attack is by far the WORST event in the game that was clearly not tested by the developers during it’s development.  You have to earn $50,000 within three laps by collecting cash on the road, drifting, taking down opponents, pedestrian drivers and cops.  In theory, this may sound simple, but the execution is as flawed as it gets and becomes nothing more than an exercise in frustration.  The main problem is the fact that the set score you need to accomplish is almost an impossible task within just three laps.  I found myself having to turn around, drive backwards through half the map, then continue in the right direction again to keep drifting to earn more points.  It’s not like I didn’t master the mechanics of the game either, it was literally an oversight in the game…but a terrible oversight at that.  The only positive aspect of this mode is that there are only four of these events you will have to complete throughout the whole campaign.  And the final event type are the Duel events which occur at the end of each tournament.  These are one-on-one races within a two lap stretch that never pose much of a problem as long as your vehicle is upgraded with the latest parts available.

Now, it sounds like I’m bashing the game, but honestly, there’s no denying that I enjoyed my time with the it.  I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but the game was addictive enough for me to sit and complete the campaign without feeling like it was dragging…and that’s always a positive note.

Graphics: 2/5

Asphalt 3D may not be the greatest looking 3DS game, however it did have numerous bugs.  Initially it looks appealing.  There is plenty of life and color in the environments and they seem inviting.  Once the game starts running, you’ll then notice the slow, inconsistent frame rate drops along with constant object pop-up.  Also, the game had some serious collision detection issues coupled with really awkward collision animations.  If I tried taking down a car, both cars would keep jumping in and out of each until the game initiated a slow-motion takedown but the two cars would still be intertwined.  It’s just a really bizarre visual that I couldn’t help but be baffled at.  Occasionally the game couldn’t read if I was driving on pavement or off-road and would slow me down randomly because of poor collision detection and physics.  The one cool graphical effect is when you initiate “Hyper Speed” and the environment forms a “TRON” style effect with neon blue and red lights highlighting the track.  The 3D effect is subtle but effective at the same time.  It’s nothing too strenuous on the eyes which means you can play this with the 3D slider at the max without it bothering you.  There’s no denying it’s graphical issues, but I have to hand it to Gameloft for at least having good level design.

Sound: 3/5

The sound in Asphalt 3D is certainly a mixed bag.  The music is nothing memorable but nothing irritating either.  It’s just generic techno that carries the game, but nothing more.  The sound effects are appropriate but there were some audio glitches as well.  Occasionally, the engine sound would just loop or stay stuck at the sound that was playing at the moment and you couldn’t help but chuckle at it.  The crashes pack a decent punch for portable audio speakers…however it sounds more painful (not in a bad audio way) than the visuals makes it.  There’s nothing particularly bad with the sound department, just nothing above average.

Replay Factor: 3/5

The game will take the average gamer about 12-20 hours to complete, which is a hefty amount of content to supplement.  Even upon completion of the game, you can go back and take on the events you completed to keep leveling up to earn the fastest vehicles the game has to offer.  If you have a buddy with another copy of the game, you can compete in multiplayer events as well as StreetPass events that help unlock more decals for your vehicles.  The game even has it’s own achievement system so you can tackle those challenges as well.

Overall Score: 11/20 = 5.5 out of 10

Asphalt 3D isn’t necessarily a terrible game as many put it out to be, but there’s no avoiding it’s issues.  While many of the things pointed out sound negative, the game was surprisingly entertaining from start to finish.  Gameloft has a fun game hidden under it’s issues and if you can overcome that, then you’ll enjoy it.  Is the game worth $40?  Not quite.  But if you find it in a bargain bin and have any interest in it, then I’d say give it a shot.


– Addictive gameplay despite flaws

– Lengthy career mode


– Poor collision detection

– Poor physics

– Inconsistent frame rate

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About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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2 Comments on “Asphalt 3D Review (3DS)”

  1. disgaeapuchi Says:

    I expected this to be bad – what were Ubisoft thinking? For a £40 retail 3DS game you wouldn’t expect it to be worse than the £2.99 iPhone version of Asphalt 6 from 2010, yet they somehow managed the impossible.

    I was going to say it could have been due to the lack of eShop (as one of Gameloft’s other iPhone/smartphone games, Let’s Golf 3D got an eShop release) but Ubisoft are doing the same with Vita, bringing over what looks like either Asphalt 6 or Asphalt 7 to the platform, likely at £40-50RRP. Oh dear…


    • Glacier928 Says:

      It’s a shame because with a bit more polish, it could’ve been a genuine racing title for the 3DS. If it ran anything like Asphalt 6 does on the Mac, then I’d say that Asphalt 3D would be a must own. However, I stated that I did remain entertained despite it’s numerous issues. Maybe the next Asphalt that Gameloft develops will run much smoother since they won’t have to rush the game to launch.


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