Most of us who like racing games are familiar with the Asphalt series which started in 2004 for Nokia N-Gage platform. At the time, this was a game with amazing visual features and people spent hours playing it. But each next game was better than the previous one with enhanced visual quality, better car collection, and newer racing tracks. From Asphalt 4: Elite Racing the game left the N-Gage platform and turned to Symbian, Windows Mobile, iOS, and Android.
The series is still going strong with the Asphalt 9: Legends game released in July this year. Asphalt 8: Airborne from 2013 took the series into more commercial waters with over 100 million downloads for iOS and Android, and today smartphones practically rule the gaming market. Therefore, this was all something that Asphalt 9: Legends had to adjust to and fulfill the expectations as well as standards established by its predecessors.
The first apparent improvement is the visual quality which is something that this series was famous for. The ninth installment concentrated more on this feature this time which is something also promoted by the developer Gameloft in the following video released before the game launch.
The visual quality of the game certainly helps you get the sense of speed which is very important for a racing game. It is also the effect that will need some getting used to the first several times when you start playing the game, but once you master this, it will be hard to play games with lower graphical standards. Another cool thing is that you will really see debris all over you when you hit something on the road, and not to mention the effect of water that splashes and then dries off just like it would in the real world. These elements make the game more realistic and immersive, but they also show that the developer has eyes for details and pays attention to the smallest factors that can improve the gameplay.
However, the thing that most players will gush over are certainly the cars and not just the wide choice of them. They look realistic and are incredibly detailed even when damaged during racing with parts flying off or being dirty after a drive. But, it was unexpected to see the wheels moving just like they would in the real race depending on the terrain and drive. For example, if you catch a bump in the road, the wheels will move up and down with the suspension.
Nonetheless, there is a visible difference between the iOS and Android version compared to the Microsoft Windows 10 edition, and it regards the frame rate. Mobile versions run a locked 30fps without an option to try 60fps which is available on Windows 10 game. This is because certain phone hardware doesn’t support 60fps and may cause problems, although this should have been the players’ decision. Namely, a checkbox in settings where you can turn 60fps on and off would be an excellent choice to have since we all use different smartphones. And this is also the only reason why the game looks better on Windows 10 than on your phone, so you needn’t worry that you were cheated in any way.
The racing experience may be better visually but is similar to other games in the series. You can race civilly or remove other cars from the race by chasing them off the track. There is a 360-degree spin mode you can use now that will take down cars in your vicinity and clear off some of the competition. However, if you want to win the race, you will need cars, and you have to earn every upgrade. To unlock the car, you need blueprints, and you get those after you complete races. You can, of course, pay for the blueprints if in a hurry, but keep in mind that each car has more than one blueprint and you have to pay for every one of them.
Another problematic thing is that there is no restart option for races so if you quit the game, it will behave as though you spent the fuel. The fuel is presented in units, and when you spend all, you can either wait for them to refill or use tokens and watch ads to speed up the process. Alternatively, you can choose a different car or even pay, if the waiting is too much to bear.
Asphalt 9: Legends is a free game, although you can pay for certain features if you want to – that is all up to you. But this is something we are already used to on the gaming market so it should be considered as a minus. All in all, the game is an exciting gaming experience which will undoubtedly change the way other developers create the racing genre for mobile platforms. So, put your racing gloves on and get ready to burn some rubber in the new and thrilling game from the Asphalt series.