Asphalt 9: Legends
|Asphalt 9: Legends|
|Platform(s)||iOS, Android, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch, macOS|
February 26, 2018
July 25, 2018
October 8, 2019
|Mode(s)||Single-player, online multiplayer|
Asphalt 9: Legends is a racing video game developed by Gameloft Barcelona and published by Gameloft. Released on July 25, 2018, it is the ninth main installment in the Asphalt series. In comparison to previous entries, there are several new and improved features, such as a prestigious car lineup, new control schemes, including the autopilot mode called Touch Drive, and race modes, and the reimplemented "shockwave nitro" from Asphalt 6: Adrenaline. The graphics are considered significantly improved compared to its 2013 predecessor, Asphalt 8: Airborne.
The gameplay in Asphalt 9 is similar to Asphalt 8: Airborne, with noticeable differences in graphics and design. There were 48 cars featured in the game when soft-launched, but the worldwide release saw the introduction of four new cars, leading to 52 cars. There are currently 105 cars as of September 2020. Like its predecessor, each of the cars belongs to a class progressively featuring higher performance and rarity: D, C, B, A, and S. The player starts with a car in the lowest class (Class D), the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. All cars in the game now require "blueprints" to unlock and then subsequently "star up", with each of them having anywhere from 3 to 6 stars. For each new star, the car's performance capability is increased (at the cost of a lesser fuel tank quantity). Each car can also be customized with the new car editor feature. Upon unlocking a car, the player can choose from a few official stock colors. Once the car has been starred up at least once, the player can create custom paint job colors to the body, rims, and brake calipers for most models. Some models also allow for carbon parts on the hood, trunk, and wings. Several cars are also convertibles (they can be converted from closed roofs to open ones in game), like the BMW Z4 LCI E89 and McLaren 570S. Introduced in the 2019 Summer Update, several cars like the Mercedes-AMG GTS could have special tyres, rims and changes to the bodywork added to the car. Also new to the series are "clubs", where up to 20 players can collaboratively score “reputation points” to achieve rewards. The more reputation points the club scores, the better rewards, ranging from credits to blueprints for cars.
The game also features "nitro shockwave", returning from Asphalt 6: Adrenaline and Asphalt 7: Heat. When the player has a full nitro bar and taps twice on the Nitro button, a purple pulse is released from the vehicle while the car's speed increases. On mobile platforms, Asphalt 9 has three control schemes: Tilt to Steer, Tap to Steer, and the brand new "Touch Drive" in which the player selects routes and stunts by swiping left and right. Touch Drive is intended for beginners and casual players. On Windows 10 devices, Touch Drive and manual controls can be used with the keyboard; or with tilt to steer, if the device has a touchscreen and an accelerometer.
In the game, there are three playing modes: Career, Multiplayer, and Events. In career mode, the player completes single-player "chapters" that each consist of several series of races focusing on a certain car class or manufacturer. In Multiplayer, the player competes against other online players in real time. In Events, the player participates in a daily or weekly competition to beat other players' times or earn other items.
There are also “Special Events” which were introduced in the Bugatti Chiron special event in December 2018 and have continued since with the introduction of “Drive Syndicate” events in July 2019 and more recently, another special event released in July 31st, 2020, starting with the SSC Tuatara.
There are 3 race types in Asphalt 9. The "classic" race mode from previous games has returned alongside new races, "Time Attack" and "Hunted." In Time Attack, the vehicle has to cross the finish line before a timer runs out. In Hunted, the player must escape a police pursuit in a car chase without crashing or running out of time. If the player does crash, they are "busted" causing them to immediately lose.
The game features a number of race tracks set in new locations: Cairo, the Himalayas, the U.S. Midwest, Scotland, and Caribbean. It also brings back five locations from previous games in the series: San Francisco, Rome, New York City, Shanghai and Osaka.
The game was developed by Gameloft's Barcelona Studio which also made Asphalt 6: Adrenaline, Asphalt 8: Airborne, and co-developed Asphalt Xtreme with Gameloft Madrid. The game uses the Bullet physics engine, and the Jet Engine game engine. Continuing the tradition from Asphalt 8, the game features licensed soundtracks.
The first rumors of Asphalt 9: Legends began back in 2016, with Gameloft posting pictures on Twitter, showing Gameloft Barcelona making a map that had not been seen in Asphalt 8: Airborne. The game was scheduled to be released in summer of 2017 according to Gameloft's press release, and the name was going to be Asphalt 9: Shockwave. In February 2018, Gameloft was doing a live Q&A with one of their community managers at Gameloft London, where he responded to questions about Asphalt 9, and said that he was not allowed to comment on the future of the Asphalt series. Four days later, however, a trailer was revealed for Asphalt 9.
The game was first released for iOS as a soft launch on February 26, 2018 in the Philippines, then in Thailand on March 22, 2018. It was later released for Android as a soft launch, on May 17, 2018 in the Philippines. Pre-registration for the worldwide launch began on June 29, 2018. Around the same time, people could pre-register the game on the Google Play Store. On July 24, 2018, Gameloft announced the game's release date, July 26, 2018, on a Facebook and YouTube livestream. However, the game released a day earlier than planned. When the game released worldwide, it reached 4 million downloads across all platforms in less than a week.
On June 6, 2019, Gameloft announced that the game would be available on Nintendo Switch. The port was released on October 8, 2019. There was a mode where you can play offline with friends and family with different controllers but you had to earn a certain amount of career flags to unlock Offline Mode. There were Joy-Con controls and Touchscreen controls on the portable screen. Joy-Con meant having two controllers connected either side and using the two controllers to play.
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Asphalt 9 received positive reviews upon release, with the new graphics and visual design being almost unanimously praised as a major improvements over the series' predecessors, but there were mixed responses to the progression system, including its hostile monetization and “energy” systems.
Prasad of GSMArena.com wrote: "Visually, Asphalt 9 is stunning and quite possibly the best-looking game on the mobile platform today", while TechCommuters' review stated, "Regardless of the platform you're playing on, the game delivers...With a wide variety of cars, accessories, tracks, and events, you can play this game for a long time without any dull moment." Nick Tylwalk of Gamezebo also praised the graphics, but wrote that the "blueprint system can be a mixed bag and there are times when you feel stuck, progression-wise." Vishal Mathur of News18 mentioned "every time you run a wheel off the road, the dust that get thrown up is finely detailed. The cars look very realistic too... However, it isn't exactly easy to get the exotic cars. As with most racing games, you start from the bottom of the pyramid, and then work your way up. In many races, the rewards that you get are blueprints of vehicles. You will need to collect the required number of blueprints for the car that you are eyeing, before you can unlock it. This slightly difficult, and we feel that element has been added to ensure that players remain active for longer on the game, in the pursuit of their favourite car."
Asphalt 9 had also won the 2019 Apple Design Awards, and is the only racing game to win the Design Award.
- Additional work by Gameloft Saigon, Gameloft Montreal, Gameloft Madrid, Gameloft Kharkiv, and Gameloft Bucharest
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