Review: Asphalt: Injection
Seeing the Gameloft name is probably enough to make a lot of people run away from Asphalt: Injection. Most of their stuff tends to lean towards the mediocre side of things so I really wouldn’t blame you. That being said the initial hour or so of gameplay kept me on the optimistic side of things. Asphalt: Injection from the outset isn’t anything special but it’s competent enough to be an okay time waster. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long for all of that to blow up in your face and for frustration to replace any fun you might be having.
The beef of the content within Asphalt: Injection lies within the campaign mode. There are over 20 cups to compete in (each with five races to complete) and 45 total licensed cars to unlock and upgrade. Races vary from your typical normal race to elimination races, drifting challenges, time attack, survival and of course running from the cops. You’ll go through each of these event types numerous times on different tracks and in varying weather as you progress through the campaign. Advancing through cups require a set amount of stars that you’ll earn from each race. Three depending on how you do in the race and an extra two for bonus objectives. Simply put Asphalt: Injection is totally fine on the content side of things. The problem is the AI, handling of the cars and some really dumb design choices.
Something that became apparent to me immediately was just how bad the rubber banding AI is in Asphalt: Injection. So much so that in most of the later races one mistake means you’ll probably be in last place for the remainder of the race. Taking turns requires that you enter a near-perfect drift and lose as little speed as possible to maintain your lead. If you don’t you’ll likely crash, end up in last, or more likely both. This becomes rather frustrating because the drifting in the game just flat out sucks. Way too often my car decided to just stop drifting and go straight into a wall for no apparent reason. On top of that I lost count of the times that I barely skimmed the side of a wall and was sent flying into a barrel roll. Which of course brings us to the game’s crash cam.
Whenever you cause another car to wreck or when you crash yourself the game switches to a slow motion camera effect to show the full crash in action. Aside from the fact that this gets painfully annoying after the tenth time, the game also will take total control away from you. I’d need a few more set of hands to count the number of times I caused a player to wreck and ended up losing the race because the game took control away from me. There were even a few times that I found my car turned around at a complete stop after control was returned to me. Better yet this feature is impossible to turn off.
Asphalt: Injection also uses the Vita camera and screenshot functionality during specific gameplay moments. Whenever you do something that the game deems ‘important’ the game will take a screenshot and a picture of you at that moment. The game also sends and receives pictures of players when they get wrecked in multiplayer. Both of these options can be switched on and off. Also of note is the use of LiveArea in the game. When sitting on the LiveArea screen for the game you’ll see your career progress as well as how many cars you’ve purchased so far. It’s a neat little feature that I hope more games do in the future.
The game also offers quite a few different control methods to work with. These range from buttons, tilt, touch and a mixture of each as well as automatic/manual control. Personally I recommend you stick with the pure button format as it works the best but it’s nice to have the different options.
Multiplayer within the game allows you to jump into an online or ad-hoc race with up to seven other players. In my experience with the multiplayer there didn’t seem to be a lot of people playing online. I didn’t necessarily have trouble finding a match (I usually just got paired up with the same people) but actually getting into a race was a little annoying. There were quite a few times I just got disconnected before the race started and it often felt like I was sitting in the lobby for way too long before the race began. Once in a race the game ran totally fine though and I suppose that’s what counts. Just be prepared for disconnects and lots of them.
In campaign alone Asphalt: Injection has a lot of content that’ll keep you busy for a long time. The trouble is you just won’t want to. The early stages are rather dull with the later stages resulting in loads of frustration. Losing control of your car periodically due to the crash cam will likely ruin the game for you. It also doesn’t help that the game just feels rushed for the Vita launch. If you need that racing fix on your shiny new Vita I’d recommend steering clear of this and picking up one of the other racing games of your choice. Just be sure to avoid this one.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation Vita version of the game.
What I Like:
- Lots of content
- LiveArea is put to good use
What I Dislike:
- Drifting doesn't feel good and often doesn't work
- Crash Cam is terrible and cost me quite a few races.
- Feels rushed
- Crashing a lot even when I barely touch a wall