That's what Asphalt: Injection should really be called. Let's waste no time in laying out exactly what's wrong with Gameloft's cheap launch title shovelware. From the floaty gameplay, to the Hot-Wheels-esque graphics, to the presentation, Asphalt: Injection smacks of laziness and line-item budgeting.
Injection is a racer for the PlayStation Vita, obviously meant to attract on-the-go racing enthusiasts. The Asphalt series has a long history of being present at the launch of a console and then mysteriously disappearing as the console's lifecycle continues to ride off into the distance. And for good reason too, because Asphalt: Injection is terrible.
The first thing you'll notice is that the game's graphics are crisp and clean, despite being diminuitive, texturely ugly, and kind of blocky. There's a ton of primary colors here, leaving behind all sense of reality and depth in the visuals, though it's not like Injection really aims for the Gran Turismo crowd.
You'll frequently blast around race tracks at upwards of 250 mph, breaking more laws than you'll care to notice and using boost power to send land-speed records near elementary schools. Despite the numbers that fly around your speedometer, there's no real sense of speed. The grimy effects of Split/Second, the realistic motion blurs of Gran Turismo, and the sounds of Forza Motorsport all aim to convey some visceral sense of motion, but Asphalt: Injection fails in each category.
What's worse is that the game's floaty feeling smeers over nearly every vehicle. Sliding around tracks is bad enough, but doing it at such breakneck speeds and losing races for it is unforgiveable. It wouldn't be so bad if the AI racers weren't so inclined to bump into you and put you off-course, but taking out other racers and making them crash is one of the game's "features".
There's a bunch of modes, including a career mode and multiplayer modes, but nothing stands out as a addictive or really compelling. Unlocking cars seems practically arbitrary, without a consistent reminder of the activities that will eventually earn you the keys to one of the game's many exotic-sounding vehicles.
And not to start a rant, but the announcer is obnoxiously annoying. There are moments where you feel like you've actually accomplished something cool in the game, but when a voice comes over the speakers and shouts something like "Don't go there!", you can't help but die a little inside.
If you're a racing fanatic, I probably can't save you from spending your money on this one, but anyone with a sense of the value inherent in $30 needs to direct their attention to one of the many other PlayStation Vita launch titles priced at the same level. Even ModNation Racers: Road Trip carries the promise of user-created content, despite leaving all sense of reality behind. [And need I mention WipEout 2048? ~Ed.]
There's bound to be a game like this at every new platform launch. There was an Asphalt game available for the 3DS, DS, PSP, and even the Kindle Fire. You might not know the name, but Game;oft is consistent in their flogging of hungry gamers eager for a new title to play at launch. Unfortunately for them, there's more than enough quality gaming available for new PlayStation Vita owners early in the system's life.