Jump to content
Accelerated Evolution

Asphault 2: Urban GT

Ikari Warrior

Recommended Posts

The Nintendo DS has been out for quite some time now. Nintendo systems always boast games with great gameplay; that's where the systems' emphasis lies. Most of the time, these games deliver. One genre, which has tried (maybe) so hard to deliver, but has failed miserably, has been the racing game. Of course, there's the creme de la creme Mario Kart DS, but that offers only so much satisfaction. What about those of us who want the gritty, slightly-more-mature urban racers? The ones with REAL cars, and realistic tracks, and allow us to tear toward the finish line without worrying about a green turtle shell up our tailpipe? EA has tried, I think, and failed miserably. Burout Legends made me cry, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, made me cry harder.

Asphault 2 made me cry...tears of joy. FINALLY, a racing game worthy of the name Need for Speed on the DS; and Need for Speed isn't in the title! This game is more of a Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the DS, than Need for Speed: Most Wanted on the DS! It plays like a wonderful marriage between close-up detailed perspective of NFS:MW, and Midnight Club 3's vehicle diversity. While not perfect, this game is the most enjoyable non-Mario Kart racer on the DS.

Graphics: If you own a DS, you know the drill. You're not looking for PSP, PS2, GCN graphics. This game's graphics are about the equivalent of Need for Speed 3 on the PS1, but with a bit more polish. There is enough detail to see what you're driving and where you're going, and it's enjoyable. You can supe up your ride, and change the aesthetic somewhat. You can change colors, and add vinyls, and it looks halfway decent. A Mitsubishi Eclipse LOOKS like an Eclipse, and if you look at some of the recent releases on the DS, this is quite an accomplishment. My only real gripe with the graphics is that the collision animations are pretty choppy. There isn't much in the way of vehicle damage, but the cars do a nice little flip when they crash.

Nice thing about this game are the tracks. While not overly challenging, they do look spectacular. One area has you driving through an airpark landing strip, another area where you can clearly see the Statue of Liberty, and there are several nighttime and daytime courses, as well.

Gameplay: The game has various gaming modes, from Arcade, to Evolution, to Pursuit, and others. The one thing to emphasize here is that there is a LOT to do. Arcade and Evolution modes start you with one or two cars, and a motorcycle, and you have to go from there. Other modes can be unlocked using in-game cash from winning races. Cars can be bought in the same fashion, or won by way of accomplishing objectives (select a locked car to learn how to unlock it).

The game features various types of vehicles: cars, heavyweights, and motorcycles. One thing done right is that the motorcycles and cars handle differently.

Steering with the D-pad can be a tricky proposition, after years of being spoiled by the analog stick, but it's not overtly difficult once you get the hang of it. You'll have a tendency to overcorrect, but that will subside with practice (as with most/all racing games). Cars are able to drift, and you get bonus points for doing so, or catching air, among other stunts.

An integral part of this game is police chases. In general, you'll go about one lap before the cops come after you. If you are in a car, you stand a pretty good chance of winning. When the cops come after you on a bike, you get pushed around a whole lot more. Crashing during a pursuit is an instant arrest. You don't lose the race, but you're penalized 1000 cash for each crash/arrest. When a pursuit begins, you get a snapshot photo of yourself with a few details, and then the cops swarm about you. Their AI is indeterrable, it's as if your ride has police magnets on it, and they just bee line straight for you. The cops also have a helicopter with an inexplicable red light (a laser, perhaps?), and if they tag you with it, then you're automatically busted.

That's where Nitro comes in handy. You can boost while you're boosting, and have up to 3x nitro. It's great for ramming opponents (both rivals and police), and to get through/around traffic.

This game foregoes useless points; everything you do is either cash or fuels your boost meter. You get cash for drifting and catching air, as mentioned above. You are also rewarded for being a "cop killer", taking out a rival, "urban mayhem", near misses, and there are cash rewards floating about the streets. You lose points for wrecks and arrests (1000 each, so if you crash during a pursuit, that's -2000), but you gain points if you have a nice-looking crash, a-la Burnout.

Evolution Mode is the "simulation" mode, where you win championships, and earn money to supe up your ride, buy new cars, customize, and so on. It's pretty cut-and-dry here. The only problem is that it's plagued by traffic-cam-esque levels much like NFS: Most wanted on the PS2/Xbox systems, and duels - both of which are pointless. I have lost a couple of those traffic cam "races" and still gotten gold on the cup.

Arcade mode is similar fare. You race to unlock the next track, and maybe the next car, and money to buy tracks/cars, and so on.

Sound: Asphault 2 features a soundtrack consisting of licensed music, and also some original sounds. The sounds of the car's motors are more-or-less distinct. In the end, it could use a little polish, but I have heard way worse. At least the police units have sirens, more than I can say about Need For Speed: Most Wanted.

AI: This game has the oddest case of rubberband AI that I have ever seen. If you close in on your opponent, they gravitate toward you, and you're basically stuck to them until you ram them off the road. Once you pass them, they're not a problem anymore. They simply bump into you constantly until you wreck them or pass them. There is a stark contrast in difficulty between motorcycle and car levels. It is a lot easier for me to win a car race than motorcycle race, and I'll win car races by a huge margin, where I eke out my motorcycle wins.

Other: The game features several multiplayer modes, but it's so obscure, not many are likely to pick it up, and there is no single-card multi-play. You can tweak various options, and there's even an option to reset all the data on the card. It's a little detail, but it means a lot if you're lucky enough to find this game used: you can start from scratch.

Overall: Well-rounded, if not a little unbalanced in places, this game is the best non-Kart racer on the DS. It's the game that Need for Speed Most Wanted SHOULD have been on the DS. I have searched around: IGN.com, Gamespot.com, and my game magazines, and no one has reviewed this game, which is a crime, because it's actually GOOD. Police pursuits, a mode where you play the cop (something not seen since NFS: Hot Pursuit 2), a cat-and-mouse multiplayer where one is the cop, the other the bandit, and just a higher level of polish than seen in any other racer on the DS.

Final Score: 8/10

Note: I have not played Need for Speed Carbon on the DS, it may be better than this game, but I find it hard to top.

Link to comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...