Game Review: Asphalt Injection (PS Vita)

Asphalt Injection PS Vita

Asphalt Injection is a racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita. The game is a high-octane arcade style approach to street racing through exotic locations and cities as you scrape past civilian vehicles on your way to the chequered flag.

The game provides you with two game modes including: career and free race. The career mode starts with you at the bottom in the league qualifiers with the lower spec cars, such as the Mini Cooper S Coupe and Tesla Roadster. There are a total of twenty leagues to unlock with five events in each league totalling to one-hundred events and fifty-two cars available to collect with the leagues and cars both requiring a certain amount of stars to be collected via winning career events. Each of the career events have a total of five stars to be earned; usually with one star for finishing third place, two stars for finishing second place or three stars on offer for winning the race, one star for reaching a certain number of drift points and another star for achieving a certain number of knockdowns. There are a total of ten event types including: normal race, elimination, time attack, duel, under pressure, beat ‘em all, collector, drift, urban destruction and cop chase.

The normal race event is a straight race, while elimination sees the slowest car eliminated after time expires until only one car remains; time attack sees you speeding towards checkpoints before time expires for three laps; duel sees you racing one A.I. controlled opponent; under pressure provides you with three lives as all of your opponents are trying to wreck your car; beat ‘em all challenges you to reach the set knockdown goal before time expires; collector challenges you to collect the most pick-ups against the A.I. controlled cars during the time limit; drift challenges you to obtain the highest drift distance during the time limit; urban destruction challenges you to destroy public property and play chicken with traffic to reach the set number of points within the time limit and cop chase challenges you to evade the police. The free race mode allows you to play any of the twenty tracks on offer that you have unlocked by achieving certain objectives in the career mode with all ten event types available for each of the unlocked tracks.

The drift mechanic works by braking and steering into a corner simultaneously, while the nitro boost mechanic works by filling an adrenaline gauge via collecting boost symbols, drifting, the amount of air time, near misses with traffic and scoring knockdowns on opponents. You can use the nitro boost at any time, so you do not have to have a full gauge, as you can use a limited supply each time that will provide a burst of speed for a few seconds. If you collect boost symbols as you are using the complete adrenaline gauge, then the nitro boost will last longer and there are temporary boost symbols that look like go faster stripes in arrow form that will speed up your car for very short bursts. There are four camera angles to play the game in including: bumper, far, close and bonnet.

There is a garage that you can visit before each race to select your car, purchase a new car, customise and tune your car. There are fifty-two real world cars covering such famous brand names as: Audi, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, DeLorean, Dodge, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes, Mini, Nissan, Pagani, RUF, Shelby and Tesla. The paint job and decals of your car can be customised, while the areas of your car available for tuning include: the ECU, intake, exhaust and turbo for the engine; suspension, brake, armour and tyres for the handling; and boost capacity and boost speed for the nitro with statistics available to display the current performance of the car and the potential performance of the car after the upgrade has been installed. All of the tuning options are based upon three stages that are unlocked as rewards as you progress through the career events.

All of the cars and tuning kits need to be purchased with cash, which is earned after completing a race and is based upon: your position, number of knockdowns, total drift distance, total jump length, other bonuses such as collecting cash symbols within races and the number of wrecks. There is a showroom of purchased cars available from the garage option on the main menu in which you can walk around and browse through a showroom of your purchased cars from a first person perspective. There are also settings found in the privacy section of the options menu that allow you to take screen shots of important in-game events and to allow the sending and receiving of players’ pictures when they get wrecked in multiplayer. It is these kinds of smaller features that help to build the overall package of the game into something broader.

The default controls are exactly what you would expect from a racing game on a portable platform. The R and X buttons can both be used to accelerate with O as the nitro boost, while the L and square buttons can both be used to brake and used in conjunction with the steering buttons to create a drift, the directional pad and left analogue stick can both be used to steer the car, while triangle is the change view button, the right analogue stick is to rotate the view and the start button is to pause the game.

The graphics are mostly pretty good with good lighting and shadow effects on the tracks and detailed paint jobs on the cars. There are a couple of graphical bugs and glitches here and there, such as occasionally being able to see under the game world for a brief moment after a large jump or being able to see through a wall if you crash against it at a certain angle, although these kinds of bugs should not be present; they are not game breaking. The audio consists of a thumping soundtrack with loud engine noise and screeching tires, along with a female voice over that describes key events in each race, such as the build up to the start of the race, wrecks, knockdowns, eliminations and finishing positions.

The trophy list includes thirty-four trophies with nineteen bronze, nine silvers, five gold and one platinum trophy. The trophy list starts out easy with trophies earned for finishing in first place, finishing in first place three times consecutively, jumping at least once each lap in a single race and crossing the finishing line while drifting. There are trophies that are more likely to be achieved when you have a much faster and more powerful car, such as earning over 3,000 drift points in a single race, earning over 1,000 drift points in a single drift, jumping 1,500m in a single race, finishing each lap in first place in a single race and winning a race without using nitro. There are some trophies that require a longer period of time to earn such as completing 50 races and finishing every race in the career mode, but these will come in time with perseverance. I estimate that the single player trophies would take six to ten hours to achieve depending upon your skill level.

The major sticking points on the way to the platinum trophy are the four online multiplayer trophies as they require you to win 10 and 100 online multiplayer races, finish first one second ahead of second place and complete 100 multiplayer races. I estimate that the online multiplayer trophies would take between ten to twenty hours to achieve based upon the number of available players, whether or not you have a trophy boosting partner and your skill level. This makes for a harder trophy list as it is estimated to take at least sixteen hours, but potentially anywhere up to thirty-five hours to platinum.

The presentation of the game is solid with a good touch screen based user interface that can alternatively be navigated via the directional pad and face buttons. The backdrop to the user interface focuses on the car that you have chosen spinning as though it was in a showroom with various buildings forming a large, open cityscape.

The online multiplayer component consists of online and ad-hoc multiplayer modes. The online multiplayer game modes include: quick game, host game, join game and leaderboard. The quick play game mode will put you into a lobby of a game that is currently in progress and failing that it will make you the host of the game with a pre-selected track. The host game mode allows you to select your track from the twenty on offer, your car and whether it is a public room or a private room, while you are allowed to include A.I. players to flesh out the competition; you are not allowed to choose how many A.I. players participate and you must wait for an opponent to join the lobby before you can start the race, despite having a full field of eight cars including yourself and seven A.I. cars, which means the lack of an option for players to join an online multiplayer race mid-race can be rather frustrating at times, especially when you are having to wait for another player to join your lobby.

The performance of the online multiplayer component holds up well and is without lag even when you have a full field of eight cars including A.I. controlled cars, although it is frustrating that an online multiplayer race has to end because your human opponent decides to leave the race; even when there are still another six A.I. controlled opponents racing. The ad-hoc game modes include: host game and join game and both provide the same features as the online multiplayer, but rather than playing against an opponent anywhere across the world; it is instead limited to a locality of around one-hundred feet. The leaderboards includes global rank, top experience, top takedowns and best times. Each of the leaderboards are split into top 10, near you and friends categories with the best times leaderboards also focusing on all of the twenty tracks the game has to offer.

The replayability of Asphalt Injection is strong with fifty-two cars to collect spread across famous brand names, twenty tracks, ten event types, one-hundred career events, online and ad-hoc multiplayer, leaderboards and various other features amounting to a game that you can pick up and play whether it is for one race or twenty-five races and you will certainly not be bored after having played it.

Overall, despite some graphical glitches here and there; Asphalt Injection certainly packs a punch with its strong array of content including: fifty-two cars spread across famous brand names, twenty tracks across various exotic locations, ten unique event types, one-hundred career events, online and ad-hoc multiplayer, leaderboards and more for a budget priced racing game cannot be refused! I highly recommend that you make Asphalt Injection your next racing game purchase for the PlayStation Vita!

Jason Bonnar

At A Glance

  • Title: Asphalt Injection
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • System: PS Vita
  • Format: PS Vita Card / PSN Download
  • Cross Buy: No
  • Cross Play: No
  • Online Multiplayer: Yes (2-8 Players)
  • Ad-Hoc Multiplayer: Yes (2-8 Players)
  • Memory Card Space Needed: 832Kb (PS Vita Card), 765Mb (PSN Download)

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