Vita Game ReviewsAsphalt: Injection Review

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Asphalt: Injection Review

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Replay Value:



Overall Rating:       5.7



Online Gameplay:

Not Rated





Number Of Players:




For the most part, I don’t have a problem with mindless arcade racers. Done correctly, they can be an invigorating feast for the senses; titles like Split/Second and nail’d have grabbed my attention and rooted me to my seat. But Asphalt: Injection just doesn’t cut it; the production feels weak and light, and it really doesn’t push the PlayStation Vita hardware at all. It can be fun for brief stretches and I love the cars and some of the locations, but it’s still pretty “meh.”

The graphics aren’t bad and the track design really is good. Some of the backdrops are attractive, as Gameloft attempted to spice them up with various effects, ranging from snow to paragliders. But the special effects are hardly special, as knockouts (this game’s version of Burnout’s takedowns) are pretty bland, and the blue-screen adrenaline rush feature is also stark and lacks richness. Furthermore, there's a perceived graininess that really shouldn’t be in any Vita game, as far as I’m concerned. Not after I've seen what this device can do.

The sound is okay, but there’s an annoying female announcer that says corny things as you race, and it doesn’t help that she’s insanely repetitive. The soundtrack is decent but it never manages to bring the action to another immersion level, and much like the visual effects, the audio effects fall a little flat. There just isn’t enough spice, enough panache, enough flavor. Other sounds, like the roar of engines and the metal-on-metal impact of a collision, are only average.

If you didn’t already know, Asphalt can be had for $0.99 on iOS, while this Vita incarnation is $29.99. Therefore, one would assume there’s a hefty difference between the two, and although the Vita version definitely looks better, there’s not enough here to warrant a $30 price tag. There are a few cool additions, though— For instance, you can tilt the entire unit to steer, and the rear touch pad can be used to shift, like the paddle shifter in a sports car. Both features work well and enhance the experience…a little.

In a lot of ways, Injection is like Burnout. Or rather, it aspires to be like the award-winning arcade racer; Asphalt just doesn’t have the requisite flair. The sense of speed isn’t right and neither is the drift mechanic, which is just plain unrealistic to the point of being irritating. It’s a sticky drift; easy to control but mostly useless, as the only reason you really need to drift is to increase your nitrous meter. Basically, this whole game comes down to speed; hitting your race lines has little to do with success.

And that would be just fine if everything had been ramped up a few more notches. In other words, this game needed a much higher production value the whole way ‘round; racing aficionados and new Vita owners deserve that much. There are a bunch of great cars, though, ranging from BMWs to Ferraris, and you don’t have to worry about hitting the occasional wall or bumping an opponent; wipeouts sorta can’t happen. You can, however, crash into traffic, and the avoidance of which offers a minor challenge.

As I mentioned above, the track design is pretty cool, as there are plenty of shortcuts (that aren’t tough to see) and the diverse race environments typically give you something new to look at, provided you’re willing to take your eyes off the road. The only problem is that while the design is pretty good, too many of the shortcuts don’t really help much, and I think more could’ve been done with each race location. I mean, even with the variety of locales, things start to feel a little stale and repetitive after a while.

You know, that isn’t necessarily due to a lack of content. There are over 100 races available and there are different types, too, including standard race and elimination. You can also unlock new cars and upgrades – both mechanical and cosmetic – for your favorite rides, so when I say this game feels light, I’m not really referring to the content. I’m referring more to the overall feel of the gameplay, which just boils down to stomping the gas and continually hitting the nitrous. You can knock out other racers, which is kinda fun, but…it just lacks "oomph."

You just get tired of it too fast. There’s a nifty Garage feature that lets you wander around your multi-million-dollar garage (even if there isn’t much in it) in a first-person view. But you can’t do anything. You can only look. If you want to change the look of your cars or install a mechanical update, you have to do so elsewhere. And again, the gameplay is just a touch too simplistic, the physics are mucho ridiculous, especially in regards to the drifting, and everything starts to blend together.

Asphalt: Injection is one of those games you really want to like. It’s a game you think you can enjoy for brief stretches; for instance, when you whip out the Vita on a bus or a train, and you just want to relax with a simple yet white-knuckle racing experience. But it never comes to that sparkling, satisfying fruition we would expect. The whole thing feels flat, uninspired, and utterly unimpressive. There are plenty of titles available for the Vita right now, and there are other racers, too. If you want a great one, try Wipeout 2048. Now that’s how you do this.

The Good: Lots of cool cars, and plenty of races. Vita-specific features work well. Decent control. Some interesting track design and locales.

The Bad: Visuals are grainy and unrefined. Both graphical and audio effects are bland and boring. Drifting feels off, and it’s pointless from a racing standpoint. Only speed is rewarded. Feels weak overall.

The Ugly: “I’m going how fast…? …wow, shouldn’t this look way cooler than it does?”

3/2/2012 Ben Dutka

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (14 posts)

Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 12:34:28 AM

Shame... didn't take long for the first crapware to be released for the Vita.

Seen this game on phones and pads and its just as crap. If I were SONY I would simply ban this and get GT running instead!



Last edited by Qubex on 3/3/2012 12:34:57 AM

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Looking Glass
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 1:42:41 AM

Actually I believe the more commonly used term is shovelware, not crapware.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 1:39:24 AM

not the greatest racer out there, but its not too bad for a mobile port.
id be better if they made it like split second, constant changing tracks you need to try and avoid, or time perfectly to trigger and take out a opponent.
the tracks are not interesting enough, and the car handling is not good enough for it to survive as a plain straight racer.
if they added something else to it, then it would of been fine.
but as a stright up racer it does not have the entertainment and smooth controls and track variety, car variety, required to remain compelling.
in short its just far too repetitive, and restrictive.
ok for short blasts on the bus, but for 3 hours straight at home is going to get seriously boring!

we really need ridge racer unbound on this!
id say a burnout game, but criterion are so heffed up with destroying NFS and other series i cant see us getting another burnout game for a long long time!
id love to see real racing HD 2 from the ipad ported over to this too.
its just one of those track simulators that i dunno why but is so addictive!
so simplistic, and so shallow it should last 5 minutes before you get bored!
but 2 hours later, and your still saying just one more race, just one more race!

its a shame the vita cant play ps2 games, because NFS carbon and most wanted would go with the vita like chocolate and biscuits.
oh well, hopefully will get a NFS title on there in the near future.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 4:18:18 AM

The interesting point to make here (imho) is that Asphalt 6: Adrenaline costs one dollar (7 Norwegian kroner) on Android. Asphalt 5 is *free*. How much do they charge for the Vita version?

Not that anyone would want to spend money on a game with this low metascore anyway, but that's beside my point: There *will* be ports of GOOD games too, and my point is that this is the new reality that the Vita has to face. It wasn't like this when the PSP launched. It probably wasn't even like this when the planning of Vita first started.

Last edited by Beamboom on 3/3/2012 4:29:14 AM

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 8:25:29 AM

thats exactly why allot of people are refusing to buy ubisofts crap.
dungeon hunter alliance and this were ports of iphone games, games that can be bought for less then 5 bucks!
and now there asking for 70 bucks for the vita version.
i would not mind if they were properly ported to the vita, had extra content, visuals which took advantage of the vita, and controls, features that took advantage of the system.
basically give me 70 dollars worth of content, not 5 dollars worth of content on a device where games are going for 65 bucks more.
dungeon hunter alliance for instance is 10 bucks on PSN for ps3, but the vita version is 60!
what the?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 9:52:12 AM

I made that point in the review, Beamboom. :)

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:53:41 AM

Ooops - *busted* :D

I admit it, I didn't read the review for a game I coldn't play. I must say you got some mighty good points in your reviews, Ben! :D

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 12:26:14 PM

It's what I do. ;)

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 7:24:09 AM

It is a good game, if you slap a $10 price tag and make it a downloadable "minis" title. Specially because of the file size, $30 bucks for less than a gig of space? I would expect more than that.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 11:25:28 AM

I guess Asphalt Injection will become the very first Vita game that goes straight into my bargain bin list.

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 1:28:57 PM

Ben, when can we expect to see your FULL vita cosole review?

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Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 2:13:50 PM

You know, I think it was very wise to write that article about first impressions and leave it at that for now. Cause really, how can you possibly do a fair rating/review a platform right after release, with nothing but the software at launch to judge it from.

I think that article he wrote summed up everything he could possibly write about the console for now. The pros, the cons, it's all there.

Last edited by Beamboom on 3/3/2012 2:15:30 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Saturday, March 03, 2012 @ 3:13:02 PM

After I'm done with most of the first titles.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2012 @ 6:27:32 PM

First-time poster, very long-time reader...

They actually gave us this game for FREE on the Blackberry Playbook. It is pretty fun to play... for a free game. I enjoy playing this and Need for Speed Undercover (another FREE game) on the Blackberry as something to pass the time, but they do tend to get a tad boring if you play them in long stretches. But there is no way that I would pay anything for this nearly identical game on the Vita, especially not $30, that is a joke! You know I could be swayed to pick it up for 99 cents but not a penny more! Not when there are games like MNR, Wipeout and the FREE MotorStorm game for the Vita. I really expected that the Vita would get quite a few of these ported iOS games, given the touch screen and all, but I really thought that the pricing would be similar to what they charge on the tablets! But I never saw this coming!

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