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Asphalt Injection

Score: 65%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Gameloft
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 8 (Online)
Genre: Racing (Arcade)/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

I guess this is officially a regular thing. For every new handheld device that hits the market, a new installment in the Asphalt series is to be in the launch lineup. The PS Vita is now here, and alongside it is Asphalt Injection. What's to be said about this arcade racer? Well, it's Asphalt. Same uneven production values, same iffy racing mechanics, only this time it's for Vita.

I don't know the technical limitations of the Vita, but I highly doubt that Asphalt Injection even comes close to pushing them. For the most part, it looks like last year's Asphalt 3D, only with a bit more visual polish. For example, the collisions don't look as terrible as they did on the 3DS. Drifting still looks (and feels) incredibly unnatural. Again, the upside is the brief Tron aesthetic that accompanies Adrenaline mode. To be fair, this is the stage in the Vita's lifecycle where a lack of visual performance is somewhat okay. This is a launch title, and it mainly operates under the assumption that things will get better as time goes by. Still, if you've been keeping up with coverage of the Vita, you know that it's capable of much, much more than this.

Asphalt Injection is a weak-sounding game, and that's primarily due to the fact that each car sounds pathetic. The "uhhhhhhhh" that emanates from just about every car sounds like the off-key humming of a poorly-educated tenor rather than the roaring of the mechanical beasts they apparently are. The co-driver voice is a bit annoying, and the soundtrack doesn't really assist in complementing the sense of speed that sometimes doesn't exist to begin with. To be fair, though, you don't really have to listen to any of it. However, it would have been nice to have something interesting in terms of sound.


As mentioned before, Asphalt Injection is simply another Asphalt game released for the Vita. It's a Burnout-style racer that unfortunately lacks the same sense of speed and impact that Criterion's venerable series is world-renowned for. That being said, it isn't a blight on the genre and is at the very least functional.

The Career Mode is extremely lengthy, spanning twenty full sets of races -- cups. By performing well, you not only unlock new cars and parts, but you earn stars. Stars can be earned by placing, as well as fulfilling certain criteria. They are used to unlock new race sets, which brings you closer to completing the Career. The new cars aren't that great of an incentive, since they all handle very similarly. However, they included a GMC Delorean. That's worth something, right?

Events are more varied than in the 3DS offering, but they still consist of the same objectives we're used to seeing from the franchise, and by extension, the genre. Apart from your standard races, we've got elimination style races, time attacks, police battles, road rage-style takedown fests, drifting challenges, one-on-one races, survival challenges, and more. It's not a bad selection, but the racing model just doesn't hold up all that well.

Asphalt Injection features competitive multiplayer over both ad hoc and the Internet. There's a ton of lag online; opponent's cars hop wildly along the track at improper angles and the threat of sudden disconnection is constant. It's nice to have the option, but the execution isn't all that great.


The Asphalt series really isn't comfortable with players cruising to victory. That's evidenced by the rubber-band A.I., which is back and just as bad as it ever was. You'll use up your nitrous and wonder why it's not getting you close enough to your opponents. If you do manage to get into the lead, you'll wonder exactly how your opponents are managing to catch up and pass you so quickly. It just doesn't feel right. If you wipe out, the game resets your position, but you have to start at a dead stop. This kills the sense of momentum and increases the sense of hopelessness.

Game Mechanics:

Asphalt Injection fails to be Burnout, though it features the same risk/reward style of arcade driving: by driving dangerously, drifting, and driving over certain pick-ups, you earn nitrous. Nitrous can be fired once for a slight increase in speed, twice for a moderate increase, and three times for a massive increase. If you manage to fill the bar up completely, you can activate Adrenaline mode. This gives you a massive burst of speed and turns your car into a wrecking ball. Of course, the rubber-band A.I. is privy to your every move, so the burst of speed may not be as useful as you'd hope.

Asphalt Injection gives you a ton of control schemes to choose from, but the only practical one is the default "Classic" scheme. The rest of them feel as unnatural as the physics look; from the unreliable tilt controls to the awkward manual transmission (which uses the rear touchscreen) to the dual analog controls, I have a hard time believing that anyone in their right mind would want to choose any of the alternatives. I suppose having the options is nice, though.

I have no doubt in my mind that the Vita will play host to a number of fantastic racing games. However, we're probably not at that phase just yet. Asphalt Injection is a functional arcade racer that will please fans of the series. However, if you can stand waiting a bit longer for something better to come along, you should probably give it a pass.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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