Asphalt Urban GT 2

The tarmac is beckoning as the N-Gage street racer fires up its engine for the second time

Asphalt Urban GT 2

Even though racing games aren’t the N-Gage’s strong suit – compared to other devices they’re pretty scarce – we still weren’t that impressed with the original Asphalt Urban GT when it made its debut. Yes, there were lots of authentic sports cars to cruise around in and yes, there were almost as many real-world locations in which to do that cruising. But it just didn’t satisfy; the game was jerky, unresponsive and, all told, a little bit limited in as far as the challenges on offer. Asphalt Urban GT 2 looks to change all that and, if the early code that we played is any indication, the developers appear to have largely succeeded. While there aren’t any eye-popping new graphics, there’s a boot-load of new playing modes, new cars and new features that’ll keep even the most dedicated racer satisfied.

It’s the new racing modes that are probably the biggest addition; Bandit Chase, Elimination and Cop Chase join the usual arcade quick racing and championship Evolution mode and make for a more varied playing experience. The three new race modes each showcase the changes that have been made in Asphalt Urban GT 2. Firstly, the police are making their presence felt, speed cameras and all. Even in regular races you’re likely to be clocked by the boys in blue who will, if you’re driving fast enough, issue a Wanted notice and put a reward on your head, the value of which is also credited to your in-game bank account.

They’ll also take after you in pursuit and won’t pull any punches in bringing you to book. Manage to escape and you’ll get another cash bonus. However, cause enough of a nuisance and a police helicopter will join in the fray, keeping tabs on you with its searchlight. Get lit up by the searchlight for more than a few seconds and it’ll turn red, signifying you’re about to be busted. You can enjoy all this in the Bandit Chase mode and play the role of the police themselves in the new Cop Chase, where you’re tasked with driving as many crims off the road as possible within a strict time limit. Elimination is similar and shows off the new collision effects where it’s possible to drive much more aggressively and rack up as many destroyed competitors as possible. The best (and most satisfying) way of doing this is to hit a car whilst using a nitro boost, sending it flying into the middle of next week while you carry on your merry way.

All this carnage is made more enjoyable by the slightly tweaked controls and smoother graphics that make the numerous supercars you’ll drive slightly easier to handle. All in all it’s more forgiving than the original and encourages you to try again when you fail because you can feel that you’re being given a fair chance. Until, that is, you try your hand at the motorbikes! That’s right, there’s transportation of the two-wheeled variety on offer, too! Though they accelerate faster than many of the cars, they’re a lot harder to control and you’ll need to be super-precise when it comes to taking the corners. Work out the timing and lines you’ll need to take, though, and they’re a great alternative to the usual four-wheeled fare.

Like the authentic cars, the bikes are based on real-world models, too, with the likes of Triumph and Ducati offering their wares to those brave enough to take them on. They join Aston Martin, VW, Shelby, Subaru, Nissan and more in the grand garage of Asphalt Urban GT 2, which boasts 45 vehicles in total. If that’s still not enough choice, the brand new tuning options will spice things up further; from flashy paint jobs, decals and neon lights to racing rims, tuned turbos and bodykits, you can create your own dream ride and save it for later events or the Bluetooth multiplayer mode. All of which means that the cars look as good as the prospects for the game itself – look out for a full review when Asphalt Urban GT 2 arrives at the lights in November.