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Asphalt Urban GT Package Art
GENRE
Racer
DEVELOPER
Gameloft
PUBLISHER
Ubisoft
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
Yes
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Asphalt Urban GT

The launch line-up for the Nintendo DS is certainly varied, what with sports titles and simulations freckled about. Now, Ubisoft has treated us to the first racing game for the Nintendo DS. Sporting shades of Need for Speed and Burnout, Asphalt Urban GT is a solid arcade racer that flexes some visual muscle, but hardly shows off any of the DSís more unique features. With Ridge Racer DS a couple of weeks off, it could easily be said that Asphalt Urban GT is the best racer on the new handheld.

visuals

Much like a few other 3D titles that launched this week, Asphalt Urban GT sacrifices a good amount of polish for a fluid frame rate. Don't take that the wrong way, though, as the game still features a good amount of licensed cars that look very similar to the real things. The car models are put together fairly well with very little jaggies, but some look like fancy boxes. The tracks are filled with plenty of detail, which doesn't hinder the frame rate. The only real problem is the speed of the game may make you miss an upcoming turn, even though there are arrows that point you in the right direction. The bottom screen's map could help you with that problem, though.

audio

The game doesn't sound as good as other titles that have helped the launch this week, unfortunately. While it does take advantage of the amazing stereo sound, the game's sound effects aren't produced that well. In fact, all of the car noises are recycled from car to car. An H2 Hummer will sound just like an Audi. The music itself isn't very heart-pounding and hardly gets you excited to race. There is a good variety of music to choose from, though.

gameplay

Gas, steer, turbo, break, repeat. This is easily your standard arcade racer nowadays, but it's rare to find one like this on a handheld. The game controls rather well, with each of the twenty-odd licensed vehicles performing differently than the next. There's a certain emphasis on speed, which makes this title different than other handheld racers. You'll need to keep your boost meter up by sliding around corners, narrowly evading on-coming traffic, or, my favorite, crashing into stuff. What the game lacks in creativity, though, it makes up for in depth. There are several different modes that are available to race. The meat of the game is featured in Evolution, which is sort of a career course where you can unlock new vehicles and upgrade them into bulking power houses.

Once you've smoked the competition, you can make your way to Instant Play, Road Challenge, Free Race, and Time Attack. You'll unlock more road challenge modes as you progress through evolution. This mode offers a bit more depth than Instant Play, which is obviously just some instant action. Random car, random track, and you're off. Cop Chase is the most frustrating race mode ever, really. The game handles sporadically and most of tracks have too many turns, so it's almost impossible to pull over two vigilantes, let alone seven.

multiplayer

There are a few different play modes that supports multi-card multiplayer. Single Race is an easy plug-n-play race for up to four players, but if someone has a car they've unlocked that no one else does, it spoils the fun for the welfare racers. Championship offers ten different challenges including Audi Vs VW and Nissan Challenge. Cop Chase is also available, but only supports two players. Overall, it's a fun feature that definitely flexes the DS's multiplayer muscle.

overall

Asphalt Urban GT doesn't participate in much of the innovation that makes the DS special, but oddly enough, it's still a fun racer that offers some very cool multiplayer features. It certainly isn't the strongest launch title, but it's definitely a contender against Ridge Racer DS. We'll find out how well it stacks up next month.

final score 7.1/10





WRITER INFORMATION
Staff Avatar Austin Starr
Staff Profile | Email
"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"


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