Asphalt 9: Legends recently launched on Android and iOS for free. I have been playing it for some days now and here’s my initial Asphalt 9 Review on Android. To review the game in detail, I have divided the review into some sections. Note that the review was done on a Google Pixel 2XL with Adreno 540 GPU.
Game Menu and design
Game Menu and design hasn’t received much of an update compared to Asphalt 8: Airborne or, for the matter, most racing games.
If at all, the Main Menu has just become more difficult to understand for new gamers. But, for those who know the way around, the Main Menu displays all the basic details like your Tokens, Credits, your Car and Game settings.
Browsing through the Game Menu is simple and you won’t get stuck. The Career Menu could get confusing though if you are new. These Menus were fairly easy to understand on Asphalt 8. So, the design has changed from Asphalt 8. But, the Menu doesn’t bring significant changes.
The graphics has definitely improved a lot compared to earlier versions. The cars look more realistic. On a closer look you can even see your car’s dashboard through the rear window. New HDR techniques have to be thanked for that.
Asphalt 9 lets you choose between 3 graphic modes – High Quality, Default and Performance. You can choose between the three based on your device’s specifications. Unlike games like PUBG that set graphic settings according to your device, Asphalt 9 sets it to Default regardless of your device.
The new car editor lets you edit almost every aspect of the car. The showcasing of the car after edits look much better compared to Asphalt 8.
The game also handles the environment pretty well. From the tarmac to the trees on the roadside, the game handles everything pretty good. But, in some cut scenes before the race begins, I saw there could have been improvements. The cut scene before a race in San Francisco shows a train passing. The train could have been better (not that it matters).
The SFX and Music is pretty good. The game has been updated with the latest adrenaline pumping Audio experience.
The Engine sound though is pretty bad. There’s no noticeable variation at all. Doesn’t matter if you are airborne, drifting through snow, or doing some random stunt, the engine sound is the same. Try to reduce the Music and SFX volume to notice this.
Gameplay & Features
Now, let’s come to the main section of the review – Gameplay & features. For the better, I have further divided this section.
1. Driving with TouchDrive
TouchDrive is a new technology that lets drivers concentrate more on arcade action than driving. This concept in itself is ridiculous. But, when you start playing with TouchDrive On, you will see how useless of an innovation it is. It seems to take all the fun out of the game.
TouchDrive takes control of your steering. Now, you just have to choose between two routes, drift, double spin, etc. If there are two routes available, it will give you an option, one on left and one on right. You just have to swipe to the side you want to go.
2. Sense of competition
If you think TouchDrive takes all the fun out, you might be wrong, given you are a mobile gamer. The first few levels are very easy and take 10-15 seconds to complete. I am not a huge fan of gaming on phones, but it was so easy for me. Since it doesn’t have to offer a lot other than a Lancer Evolution and very easy to win races in the beginning, it could easily lose a lot of gamers at the first stage itself.
3. Difficulty level
There’s no option to select the difficulty level at all. So, you are stuck with very easy short duration races for the first few chapters. To make it easier, you are also provided with about 15,000 Credits and 50 Tokens in the beginning itself. With that itself, you can upgrade a car multiple times, which gives you an unfair advantage over your poor opponents (not multiplayer). And, gaining Credits and Tokens in the game isn’t difficult either.
Asphalt 9 has some exotic locations in the list too. From uninhabitable Himalayas to heavily populated San Francisco, you get to race everywhere. The race in Himalayas starts off on a vertical launchpad, which is straightened at ‘Go’. That’s new.
5. Fuel time
Asphalt 9 introduces filling up the fuel tank. For my first car, it can hold fuel for 6 races. So, after each race, it takes 5 minutes to fill up. But, if you fill in between, you will have to wait for 5 minutes before starting a race. But, you can bypass this either watching a video or shelling out some Tokens.
6. “Laws of Physics are overrated”
Asphalt games aren’t new to defying the Laws of Physics completely. Asphalt 9 keeps the tradition alive. The game allows insane stunts and steering mid-air (like Asphalt 9), but it also brings back the Flat Spin. Car spin allows you to spin your car at a full 360° while driving and then come back straight on the route. But, while doing this, you might take your opponents which is pretty awesome to watch.
In the first few races, there was no traffic at all. I will update this later. But, I hope there’s some kind of traffic.
8. Asphalt Club & Community
Asphalt 9 introduces a Community feature in Asphalt Club. Like-minded racers can join under a community and race with and against each other. But, to access the feature, you must have 10 Career Flags i.e., you should complete atleast 3 races (and their objectives).
Multiplayer requires atleast 20 Career Flags. Since the game is insanely easy, I am sure most people joined the multiplayer within 20 minutes of starting the game.
Asphalt 9: Legends could have been better at many different aspects than Graphics. I don’t consider this a huge upgrade from Asphalt 8. But, you do have better graphics, TouchDrive (good for toddlers) and many new supercars to experiment with. So, it’s too soon to uninstall the game. Let’s hope Gameloft makes it better.