Asphalt: Injection Review (PS Vita)
Asphalt: Injection is one of the launch games for the PlayStation Vita that many people might not know about. The Asphalt series is somewhat popular on iOS devices, with developer Gameloft pushing out sequels almost every year. Does Gameloft and UbiSoft have what it takes to make the Asphalt series popular on the Vita?
The initial driving gameplay will immediately be recognizable by fans of racing games. However, that's not necessarily a good thing. With that said, nothing about the gameplay in Asphalt: Injection surprises you or is exciting to play. It's as simple as a racing game can get: right trigger is your gas and the "O" button is your nitro.
AI in Asphalt: Injection is absolutely atrocious. When doing normal races, they intentionally run into you. They would rather see you fail then try to win the race. Nothing is more annoying in a racing game then poor AI who are unintelligent and try their hardest to make sure you don't win. But that is exactly what you can look forward to if you plan on playing Asphalt for the Vita.
Said Nitro, or "Adrenaline" in this case, plays a big part in Asphalt. When not using the adrenaline meter, most of the cars lack that sense of speed. Spread throughout each track are nitro pickups. Once you're adrenaline meter is full you can hit the "O" button for a blue, Tron like boost. During this state you can wreck other cars, and of course, blow past your opponents. Drifting also helps build the adrenaline meter, but in most of the tracks drifting is not required to help you get around corners, and it's also not as satisfying as in some racing games.
Even with 47 cars included, none of them feel different from one another. A Ford Mustang handles the same way as a BMW. Later cars start to feel different, but not many people will ever make it that far into the career mode due to the repetitive and lackluster gameplay.
After playing through the first five events, Asphalt will have already outstayed its welcome. There are more events to play and get better at, but nothing about the gameplay stands out.
The gameplay is not terrible, by any means. It just gets boring and repetitive real fast, and when compared to other racing titles at launch, it simply does not stack up. Throw in some very annoying AI opponents, and this should probably be the last racing game you think of buying when purchasing a PlayStation Vita.
Career, where you will be spending most of your time in, has a total of 20 different leagues, cups and invitationals -- each consisting of five events. Normal race, elimination, cop chase, beat 'em all, collector, urban destruction, drift, time attack, under pressure and duel are the events in each league/cup/invitational. Some of the events are pretty self explanatory, but a few might be different to some players.
Under Pressure - You have three laps to knock out as many opponents as you can. You can only wreck five times, after the fifth wreck, the race is over.
Collector - Spread out throughout the track are purple symbols. The first person to get there obtains it. You have two laps to get as many as you can.
Urban Destruction - You have two laps to create as much carnage as you can by either running into traffic, driving over light posts, etc.
Beat 'em All - Similar to under pressure, except this time the three lap system is exchanged for a three minute timer.
Free race mode lets you go into any track that you have unlocked and race in any of the various 10 events.
While there may be a lot of events and cups/leagues to compete in throughout the career mode, only beat 'em all and collector are fun to play.
You can race on any of the 15 tracks, and can choose between any of the 47 cars in the game. Opening up all the cars from the get-go makes the game much more balanced, allowing everyone to use some of the best cars in the game such as the Bugatti Veyron or Ferrari FXX Evolution. The multiplayer actually runs very smooth, even with a full room of seven or eight people. In all of the races I was involved in, there was hardly any lag. If you can't find enough people to fill a room up you can send invites to friends or add AI opponents, but the AI really lacks competition, so don't expect to have much trouble with them.
Even though the online servers are a solid plus, you'll need a lot of luck trying to find the community for this game. After one day, trying to find online matches were almost impossible. Still, if you can find other players, playing Asphalt: Injection online is way more enjoyable than the borefest that is the career mode.
When thinking of what sports games to purchase for your brand new Vita, leave Asphalt: Injection until it hits the bargain bin. For people who enjoy multiplayer racing, they might want to check this out. The online gameplay is better and definitely more fun, but it's still lacking when compared to other Vita racing games such as WipEout 2048. The amount of cars and leagues/cups are great for a handheld game -- but when the main component of the game is dull and lacking any kind of fun factor -- it could have 100 cars and tracks and it would not get us to play it anymore than we had to.
Learning Curve: If you've raced one game, you've raced them all.
Control Scheme: Utilizing both tilt control and the standard right trigger + analog stick control, it provides two options for the player.
Visuals: Car models resemble their real-life counterparts somewhat, but nothing from the visual standpoint pops or makes a statement. Some of the environments and tracks, like New Orleans, look decent your first time racing. Still, it's far from the best looking racing game on the Vita, much less best looking launch game.
Audio: Announcer gets annoying after the first few races, and the cars don't sound particularly great for a racing game. It's best to play some of your own music, if possible, while playing Asphalt: Injection.
Customization: You can customize the paint color, paint decals, exhaust, turbo, engine intake, suspension, brake, armor, tires, and nitro. Each part of the car can be customized three times, with each one costing you more money than the last.
Value: 47 real-life cars, 15 cities, and a career mode that would take you about 8-10 hours to complete, and a multiplayer mode that runs smooth but lacks a community. You can get a lot less for $30, but this experience is also much cheaper on phones or tablets.
Score: 5.0 (Average)