I never got into the Asphalt racing series, so this is actually my first experience with the series. And I got to say, it wasn't a pleasant one. For a launch title it doesn't showcase much of what the 3DS is capable of. However, in terms of content, this game does offer quite a good amount. It's a mix bag for me on whether or not I feel that Asphalt 3D is a launch title that racing fans should invest in.
The Career mode of Asphalt 3D has you progressing 14 different tiers of tracks with each having a race type tied to it. These types include normal racing, time trials, drift, duel, and a few others. Two challenges will also be given on each track for you to perform. Finishing at the top and completing challenges will net you money and experience, which you will build up in order to unlock upgrades and more cars.
Gameplay has some elements of Need For Speed and Burnout. There are power-ups on the field that will repair your car of damage, earn you cash, or fill up your turbo meter. Performing drifts, driving near other cars, and other risky actions will also help build up your turbo. When you have a good amount filled, you can gain a boost of speed for your car by using your boost button. Using it when it's full will give you the best result. Cops will also appear at times and will try to stop you. Boosting into them or ramming them into walls will cause them to crash and allow you some room. This can also be done on other competitors to eliminate them from the race.
The racing can be action-filled, but it doesn't offer much challenge. You can bump into other cars, but they won't exactly be trying to disrupt your driving. Cops are the only real threat to your driving, but they seem to appear randomly at times. There are other cars on the track that you may crash into, and doing so will most likely cost you the race. It can be frustrating at times to experience, since it can feel like the car appeared out of nowhere. Other than those, it shouldn't be difficult to reach the top.
There are lots of cars to check out and upgrades to purchase, so there's a sizable amount of content present. The problem is, I found myself losing interest halfway. The different race modes for the tracks did help, but the lack of challenge and feeling of progress left me a little bored. There weren't any other modes that would help remedy this. Free mode allows you to race tracks in certain types like normal racing and a time trial mode, and the multiplayer mode is local only. If multiplayer was online, that may have helped. If you're into Asphalt 3D, you'll find a good amount of hours of playtime to be had, but others may find themselves not caring after a couple hours or so have been invested.
Visuals look decent, but animations are a little stiff, and the 3D effects look nice on specific areas. Menu boxes will reach out, while you get a nice sense of depth when racing the tracks. The depth isn't too noticeable though. Frame-rate felt steady enough, but it does take a hit when too much action with other cars come into play.
Even with it's shortcomings, I still found some fun with Asphalt 3D. It's easy to get into and was an enjoyable racing experience. It may have dissolved after a few hours, but those into it can easily spend many hours with it. Not the best racing experience I've had on a handheld, so it's a hard recommendation for your first 3DS game. There are some things to appreciate with Asphalt 3D, but there not enough to hide the negatives.
||Good amount of cars and tracks to check out
||Unexpected crashes were frustrating, no online features