Ah, the distant sound of screeching tyres
Burning rubber, fancy paintwork and racing a bunch of other cars to a hair’s width of their precious paintwork. My runs in to the office are getting worse each day. It’s especially surprising considering that I take the bus.
Such is Asphalt 6: Adrenaline’s effect on my trip, though. Gameloft’s latest update to the Asphalt franchise, a game series which has now appeared on many platforms, isn’t a huge break away from the previous game, yet still manages to add enough to keep it relevant.
At its most basic, Asphalt is an arcade racer. You find a track, pit yourself against 5 rivals and go for it. Add in crashes that Burnout would be proud of and nitro boosts to collect and you have a blueprint for the series.
What has always made Asphalt stand out is the quality of the graphics and 6 is no exception. Now with even better Retina support than Asphalt 5’s late addition, Asphalt 6 looks pretty special. Sure, it’s not Real Racing, but then the bright and pleasant-on-the-eye styling here is far more suitable to Asphalt’s arcade racing style than a sim.
The need for the adrenaline of the title is evident from the beginning. Even the basic cars you start with are fast enough to make it seem like every turn will be your last, but the tilt controls are good enough to take back control of the road beneath you. Nitro may be standard fare in racing games these days, but Gameloft have managed to use it to full advantage, with a similar bar system to Ridge Racer and turbo gained by pickups rather than drifting. The mix means that you’ll need to take corners carefully if you want to pick nitro tokens (or money) up from the road and you’ll need all the boost you can get in later races.
Maxing out on Nitro tokens so that the bar at the top of the screen fills right up will give you the funky looking Adrenaline mode. This is like riding at a few hundred miles an hour through the world of Tron (all blue neon lights and flashy stylised visuals) while being invincible. The first time you try it, Adrenaline mode feels great, but this soon wears off after a few attempts and it just ends up feeling unnecessary.
Winning races, boosting and set objectives on each track will give you stars. Stars are essential to unlock cars and tracks, so gaining as many as you can in early races will give you a better car earlier on. It’s an interesting method, rather than just using money, and does help to spice things up a little with your play style. Unlike something like Angry Birds, though, I never really felt the need to go back and improve my stars count on older tracks beyond the 3 stars achieved for winning races.
After unlocking your shiny new cars you can add better parts to improve performance. This is a useful way of keeping hold of models you are fond of, rather than being forced to upgrade to a different car in order to keep up with the pack. Early upgrades aren’t all that noticeable, but later on they make all the difference to competing against the pack.
Asphalt 6 has also introduced a full online multiplayer element to the series. This comes with Gameloft Live rather than Game Centre integrated, which may annoy many who have built up a big friend list. It also lacks a few of the features I’d have expected to see in an online racing game, most notably being able to limit which cars are used. There’s nothing quite as depressing as taking your favourite mid-range car into a race and watching as several souped up muscle cars leave you in their exhaust fumes. When you do get a fair race, though, Asphalt 6’s online games can pretty intense.
It’s a tough call to make when summing up how I feel about Asphalt 6: Adrenaline. When I compare it to the new Need For Speed Hot Pursuit or Real Racing 2 it feels lightweight and gimmicky, but there’s certainly enough here to recommend to fans who prefer the thrills of arcade racing over more realistic racing games and I still had a lot of fun living as a boy racer.
- Sound: 8
- Graphics: 8
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 7
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