Asphalt 8: Airborne
|Release date(s)||iOS & Android
|Mode(s)||Single-player, online multiplayer|
Asphalt 8: Airborne is a 2013 racing video game, developed and published by Gameloft as part of the Asphalt series. It was released on August 22, 2013 for iOS and Android, November 13 for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, and January 15, 2014 for BlackBerry 10.
Gameplay is similar to that of Asphalt 7: Heat, with the player given four control options; "Tilt to steer" (auto acceleration with movement controlled by tilting the device), "Tilt and icons" (manual acceleration via an on-screen icon, with movement controlled by tilting the device), "On-screen controls" (auto-acceleration with movement controlled by an on-screen virtual steering-wheel), and "Tap to steer" (auto acceleration, with movement controlled by touching the side of the screen).
The five star rating system for each race, the use of primary and secondary objectives introduced in Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and also used in Asphalt 7 have all been retained in Asphalt 8. The core gameplay is slightly different, however. Unlike in previous games in the series, the focus of Asphalt 8 is on jumping, with tracks featuring a lot more ramps than in previous games. As well as performing standard jumps, the player can also perform flat spins (by drifting onto a ramp) and barrel rolls (by hitting curved ramps). All jumps earn nitro boost; the longer the airtime, the more boost earned. Another new feature, which substitutes the "Adrenaline mode" in Asphalt 6 and 7, is the ability to perform a "Perfect Nitro". When the player hits boost, a small red zone appears in the boost bar. If the player hits boost again when the boost meter is in the red zone, the car will accelerate even more, with the boost lasting until the player runs out of boost, brakes, crashes or hits a ramp.
Single-player mode consists of 180 events split into eight "seasons", which become progressively more difficult. When the game begins, only season one is available. Later seasons must be unlocked either by earning a certain amount of stars or by purchasing a "Season Unlock" in the in-app store.
Online multiplayer mode can be played both locally via Wi-Fi, and globally via the internet. There is also a "World Series" online multiplayer mode, although this mode is unavailable on iPod touch 4th generation and iPhone 4.
There are sixty-nine licensed cars available in the game, divided into 5 classes, and their performance is now determined by the new Rank rating. The player starts with one car in the lowest class (Class D); the Dodge Dart GT (Starting Rank 505; Max Rank 778).
Unlike in previous games, all other cars are immediately available to purchase without the need to collect stars to unlock them. These include, in Class D, the Cadillac ATS, the Scion FR-S and the Alfa Romeo MiTo GTA; in Class C, the Chevrolet Camaro GS, the Lamborghini Urus and the Lotus Exige S Roadster; in Class B, the Citroën Survolt, the Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary and the Ferrari 458 Italia; in Class A, the Marussia B2, the McLaren 12C Spider and the Pagani Zonda R; and in Class S, the GTA Spano, the Ruf CTR3 and the Bugatti 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse. The car with the highest Rank rating is the SSC Tuatara (Class S; Starting Rank 1561; Max Rank 1659).
Update 1.1.0 in November 2013 added four new cars, including the Renault Clio RS 200 Turbo EDC and the Ferrari F430. An update in January 2014 added five new cars, including the Ferrari LaFerrari and the W Motors Lykan HyperSport. An update in March 2014 added four new cars, including the SRT 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 and the McLaren P1. An update in May 2014 added the SSC Tuatara. An update in June 2014 added eight new cars, including the Chrysler ME412, the Ford 2015 Mustang and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT Coupé Final Edition.
Asphalt 8: Airborne features nine different locations, most of which are new to the series. The locations are Nevada, Iceland, Tokyo, French Guinea, London, Barcelona, Alps, Venice and Monaco. An update in March 2014 added a new location, the Great Wall, along with six new tracks based in the new location.
Asphalt 8 is the first game in the series to feature a licensed soundtrack. When playing the game, there are three selectable "stations"; bass, rock, and electronic. Some of the songs available are "Be Electric" by The Qemists, "Etude" by Nero, "Rocksteady" by The Bloody Beetroots, "Fire Inside" by Gemini, "Stamina" by Vitalic, "Burn It Down" by AWOLNATION, "Underdog" by Kasabian, "Play For Real" by The Crystal Method (Dirtyphonics Remix), "Professional Griefers" by Deadmau5, "Go with the Flow" by Queens of the Stone Age, "Holdin' On" by MONSTA (Skrillex ft. Nero Remix), and "Pulsar" by Celldweller. The March 2014 update added four new songs; "Animals" by Martin Garrix, "Over It" by The Crystal Method, "Asleep at the Wheel" by Band of Skulls, "Cannibal" by Silversun Pickups, "The Commission" by Breton, "Asphalt 8 Airborne" by Bleach, "We Are" by Svidden, "Arc" by Mind Vortex, "Far Too Loud" by Lightbringer, "Mord Fustang" by Windwaker, a snipped-version of "Ares" by Bloc Party, and "Fler" by Bushido & amp (Instrumental).
In addition to the licensed songs, Asphalt 8 also features original music composed by Vincent Labelle.
|Asphalt 8: Airborne|
Asphalt 8 was very well received by critics. The iOS version holds an aggregate score of 91 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on seventeen reviews, and a score of 92.33% on GameRankings, based on twelve reviews.
TouchArcade's Eric Ford gave the game a perfect score, 5 out of 5, calling it the "pinnacle" of the Asphalt series. He was particularly impressed with the new jump-focused gameplay and the graphics, arguing that "the graphics engine does a great job of imparting that sense of speed that is essential for a game that thrives on fast gameplay". His only criticism was what he perceived as a disparity between the price of some of the cars and the reward money given to the play; "as you get towards the really expensive cars, you'll notice that you don't earn quite as much money proportionally to afford what you might want." However, he saw this as a "minor complaint" and concluded by saying "the iOS platform has quietly become a haven for great racers, and Asphalt 8 looks to be leading the pack right now." AppSpy's James Gilmour also gave the game 5 out of 5, praising the controls, the range of tracks, cars and upgrades. He argued that "Ashpalt 8: Airborne plays like a greatest hits compilation of arcade racers. Perhaps you enjoyed the powerslide from Out Run and Ridge Racer? Or the nitro boosts and takedown challenges from Burnout? Well, you'll find them all in Asphalt 8. The good news is that rather than Gameloft simply ripping off aspects of other games and mashing them randomly together, the dev has managed create a polished, adrenaline-infused racer which is way more fun than it has any right to be [...] Though Asphalt 8: Airborne's parts may be borrowed, they have been skilfully assembled to build a highly entertaining vehicle." MacLife's Andrew Hayward also awarded a perfect 5 out of 5 score, feeling the game reverses the sense of stagnation which had crept into the Asphalt series by the time of Asphalt 7, and arguing that it "essentially feels like a reboot in terms of quality. It's actually a rather amazing feat". He compared the game to Real Racing 3, praising Asphalt 8 for featuring a "real" multiplayer mode. He concluded that "what began life as a passable mobile diversion nearly a decade ago has finally blossomed into a racing experience that's frantic, hearty, and really rather impressive throughout. Asphalt 8: Airborne blurs the line between mobile and console racers, with an amazing asking price to boot, and it's easily the best racer of its kind on the App Store today.
Andrew Stevens of 148Apps scored the game 4.5 out of 5, arguing that it takes the Asphalt series "to a new height." He too praised the new jump-focused gameplay; "I've always had great fun with arcade racers and enjoyed the previous Asphalt entries, but something as simple as adding ramps and a few stunts to the action has really taken this series in a new direction." He concluded that "Asphalt 8: Airborne is a great addition to the series and arcade racing fans will find themselves very happy with its offerings." Gamezebo's David Oxford also awarded a score of 4.5 out of 5, praising the new jump-focused gameplay, the graphics, the range of cars, the level design and the use of licensed music. Although, he was critical of the drifting mechanics, he concluded that "Asphalt 8: Airborne's numerous features and modes, including multiplayer, help round out this package. It's an easy recommendation for anyone who likes their racers a little more realistic than a cartoon kart racer, but with a healthy dose of over-the-top arcade action."
Pocket Gamer scored the game 9 out of 10, also giving it a "Gold Award". Reviewer Harry Slater compared the game to Real Racing 3, arguing "If Real Racing 3 is a precision instrument, then Asphalt 8: Airborne is a lump hammer [...] there's a simple arcade glory to the proceedings, which leaves you with a smile on your face after every breathtaking dash to the line. So while Asphalt 8: Airborne might not be subtle, every second you spend in its company is exhilarating fun." He praised the level design, control options, the nitro system, and the use of shortcuts on every track. He concluded that "Asphalt 8: Airborne might not be the best-looking racer out there, and it certainly isn't the most realistic, but as an arcade blast it's hard to top. Its powerslides are that bit madder, its jumps that bit more ludicrous, and its takedowns that more satisfying than its nearest competitors. This is a racer that concentrates on fun above anything else, and it hits its mark almost every time. If you're a fan of gaming with a grin on your face, then Asphalt 8: Airborne is going to be right up your street."
IGN's Steve Watts was less impressed, scoring the game 7.8 out of 10. Although he praised the graphics and gameplay, he was critical of the in-app purchase system; "By the time I reached the mid-point, the hodgepodge of car requirements felt like an unworkable maze. I constantly needed more stars, but by that point progression required me to spend a large wad of cash on a car that might only be useful for one event. I would begrudgingly buy it, earn the five stars available in that event, and then go looking for another that could slowly inch me towards the next season. Of course, Asphalt is more than happy to remind you that you can simply purchase some cars or in-game currency to speed up the process." He concluded that "Asphalt 8: Airborne is a highly polished racer with loads of content, but its pacing is slowed by aggressive gating that pushes too hard toward its in-app purchases. The later season requirements are too intrusive and the grind starts to wear thin after a while."
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- Zibreg, Christian (January 8, 2014). "Asphalt 8 updated with LaFerrari and other cars, new Daily Bonuses and Win Streak rewards". Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- Cosby, Heather (February 7, 2014). "Gameloft and W Motors Bring the Prestigious Lykan HyperSport to Asphalt 8: Airborne". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved February 12, 2014.
- "Asphalt 8: Airborne Updated With Twitch Integration, New Great Wall Location, More". iClarified. March 21, 2014. Retrieved May 16, 2014.
- Ponder, George (May 26, 2014). "Asphalt 8: Airborne gets updated, adds the SSC Tuatara to the garage". Windows Phone Central. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
- Hodapp, Eli (June 18, 2014). "Gameloft's 'Asphalt 8' Gets A Few New Cars". TouchArcade. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
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- Nichols, Scott (August 27, 2013). "Mobile reviews: 'Asphalt 8: Airborne', 'Sheep Happens'". Digital Spy. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
- Oxford, David (August 27, 2013). "Asphalt 8: Airborne Review". Gamezebo. Retrieved September 6, 2013.