Asphalt 9: Legends – NS Review

We all know the stigma surrounding free to play games: apart from a few exceptions, no one wants to deal with the unending barrage of ads, in-game purchases and whatnot. Now imagine if such a game is also a port of a mobile game. Tragedy and sacrilege!
I won’t lie to you: I am part of such crowd, my distaste for free to play games is renowned among anyone who knows me.
Asphalt 9: Legends is exactly that: a port for Nintendo Switch of the free to play mobile racing game by developers Gameloft (available for Ios, Android and Windows PC) of the same name.
You might be wondering why am I here to report about it: because this game positively surprised me multiple times in the now 4 months I’ve been religiously playing it and, even if with some ups and downs, keeps surprising me every single week.

The game’s presentation is superb.

When I review a game, I don’t normally start with the visuals but this time I just can’t help myself.
Asphalt 9 engine is a beast. Per-pixel motion blur, screen space reflections, huge highly detailed landscapes, high poly count models, etc… All these big terms just to say: Apshalt 9 graphics ROCK. It has a genuine next gen feel to it and everything runs for the most time at 60fps (even though the frame rate can get a bit choppy here and there). Special mention goes to the car models: all real life cars reproduced in maniacal details, from the chassis to the tires. Genuinely an incredible effort.
Just as good is the game soundtrack, offering a mix between pop, rock and techno tracks all of the utmost quality. Special mention going to Madness (Ruelle) and Legendary (Welshly Arms), two of my absolute favourites.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, we can focus on the gargantuan amount of content the game offers. We mentioned before Asphalt 9 is free to play, what I did not say is how generous the game is with the amount of free content it offers. Of course, there’s still a shop where you can spend your pocket money to your heart’s content, but for the most everything is unlockable with a little bit of patience.
Let’s start with Career mode. The game offers an extensive single player campaign, with a staggering amount of content: hundreds of missions featuring the more than 60 cars available, with different objectives to fulfill, may it be running away from the police, completing a time trial, etc. Unlocking these cars is what a good half of this game is about. Each car has different stats, which can be upgraded over time with credits obtained by completing career levels and other game modes.

There’s plenty of cars to choose from and more are added to the game regularly.


Not every car in the game is featured in career mode, so how do we unlock other vehicles?
The game features a card system, called blueprints. You can obtain blueprints as rewards in many of the game modes offered, the more blueprints you own, the more you can increase a car level (represented by stars), the more you can improve your car stats and car rank.
Still with us? Good, it’s very difficult to describe the plethora of content this game offers.
Car ranks are used to “limit” what the player can do at any given time, in any game mode: this brings us to the first of the typical free to play mechanics the game offers. Everything, from career mode, to events and multiplayer (more on this later) is regulated by car ranks: if the rank requirement for a mission isn’t met, you will have a hard time winning such race, being locked out completely from it in the worse possible scenarios.
This is not the only thing slowing your progress down. Cars are divided by class, from D to S and each car has a specific number of “fuel tanks”: this is how many times you can use a car before having to wait for fuel to refill. It’s one of the developers ways to make you use the most important currency the game offers: Blue Tokens.
This currency (obtained as reward or purchasable with real life money) is used to refill tanks quickly, buy card packs from the game shop to get blueprints, to refill Event Tickets, etc.
Which brings us to another feature the game offers: Events.

Expect to crash multiple times, career mode helps getting used to the game’s mechanics.


Events are missions updated daily, weekly or monthly and can be divided in different categories.
Daily Car Loot , which offers the opportunity to get some blueprints to get the player started.
Weekly car hunts are exactly what it says on the box: the player has to race and beat a set of time limits, for each of this milestone reached a card pack is given, which can include credits, import parts to apply to cars while upgrading them or a blueprint of the car featured that week. Car hunts lead to Riots, where the player can use their newly acquired car to compete in a tournament and be rewarded with tokens, credits and rare import parts based on how they qualify.
Weekly tournaments, just as riots, with lesser rewards.
Daily credit races of beginner, advanced and expert difficulty.

Car hunts can be a bit repetitive, but it’s always exciting to see if you managed to get a new Blueprint.


Credits events are peculiar, because they have an extra milestone to achieve: a club objective.
Clubs are, in my opinion, the best feature the game has to offer. Each player can either join an existing club or create their own. As of now, clubs can host up to 20 players each. Being part of a club offers benefits to a player. It’s possible, through team work, to reach club milestones, which can be blueprints, credits or tokens. This is achieved through a reputation system: each race awards a specific amount of reputation points, that goes into the collective club reputation score. The higher the score, the better the milestone rewards, with the final objective to climb the top 100 clubs ladder and be the best club of them all!
I am co-leading a club myself, built by me and two other people: Katsuhiko and Sloo, respectively our leader and our other vice. It’s important to remember to not confuse this game with a job: most of the time anxiety and stress can arise when club milestones are not met. Our opinion is: play the game for the fun of it, make new friends with your club mates and keep it light. No use obsessing over a game, when the way you approach it makes it not fun!
Thanks to this game I made quite a few friends, some far, some close and it’s crazy how we are all connected around the world on social media, thanks to our group chat and a Facebook page bursting with people to share your opinion with.
I would like to share some of my clubmates comments: Katsuhiko, Sloo and Violet, Violet being a newcomer to our club and the game itself:

Katsuhiko: I used to be an asphalt 9 mobile player, but jumped on switch after I’ve watched reviews on Youtube. It was easier to start again, as I unlocked a few cars and then started my own club, Lone Wolf α, as I wanted people to play with. It was a huge incentive to keep playing. This is my favourite part of the game: sharing my knowledge and learning from others is what I love the most about the club system. So far I’ve unlocked most cars in the game and haven’t spent a penny on it!

Sloo: I am an Asphalt 8 player, dabbled in asphalt 9 on mobile for a while and then moved onto switch after joining the international Facebook page. Unlocking cars and rewards was what kept me going until I joined our club and discovered how rewarding it is to co-operate with your teammates. What I love the most about this game are its graphics and the huge variety of game modes. There’s something for everyone, everytime. I haven’t spent any money in the game so far and am quite happy with the many rewards the game offers.

Violet: I recently started playing asphalt 9 on Nintendo Switch after reading a news article about it on the eshop. As a new player, I found unlocking cars difficult, until I got the hang of the controls and thanks to career mode, unlocked the first few vehicles. The daily events are my favourite feature of the game, together with how great it’s presentation is. The club system is what keeps me playing, it’s perfect if you find the right club for you and the World Series Multiplayer is always a blast, with the huge variety of cars it offers. I spent about $12 so far in the game, I wanted to have a little kickstart at the beginning, since then I haven’t spent any more money.

In the heat of a multiplayer race, you probably won’t notice you’re literally driving through a window into an office.


Another way of earning club reputation is through multiplayer: This is a huge part of the game and every week (sometimes monthly) a new multiplayer season unlocks, with different rule sets and new club milestones. Multiplayer mode is where all your hard work pays off. Choose your best car and throw yourself into races against players from all over the world. This online experience is a mixed bag: some races can be absolutely lag free, while others are riddled with it. This is partially because Asphalt 9 runs on private servers owned by the developers: Gameloft, which means the game can be played with or without a Nintendo Online Subscription, at the cost of the servers at times being too busy or unstable. This issue doesn’t affect the gameplay too much, but it’s not rare to see some players loudly lamenting the quality of the service on social medias.
It’s easy to compare this mode to the famous Burnout Series from EA.
Each car has a Nitro Bar, that can be used to increase your car top speed and performance. Every car drives differently and has a different approach to be taken, quite impressive considered the huge car roster. There’s 4 different types of nitro to be used and learning how to manage them is the key to success.
It’s the classic game that’s easy to start but hard to master, with time we will learn how to drift efficiently, how to cut corners without losing speed and many more hidden mechanics fundamental to conquer the top of the leaderboards.
This is the main reason to why I love this game so much: your performance in a race mostly depends from your personal skills, not how much money you spent in obtaining blueprints and whatnot. You might hear the opposite and by any mean, we are all entitled to our own opinions… But it’s not. The better you are at driving, the better you will qualify in the competition.

In Asphalt 9: Legends it’s absolutely normal to backflip over a block of buildings.


Lastly, we will touch some of the modes Multiplayer offers.
We have the World Series, where players have to climb league ranks from bronze to legends, unlocking progressively new, more powerful cars to be used the more we advance in the rankings.
We have the featured car multiplayer season, restricting the car selection and offering the most rewards out of every multiplayer season.
We have the Ghost Series, where cars cannot interact between each other, which also eliminates one of the most controversial features of multiplayer races: the Knowckdown system.
Every car can use a particular maneuver named 360*. By double tapping the brake button, we can perform a spin capable of knocking down another player and slowing their race down. This is seen often as unsportsmanlike conduct and is frowned upon by most. We all have different opinions, I personally get frustrated when I get knocked down but it would be unfair to omit I also enjoy knocking down other players a lot. The developers are in constant communication with the players and are actively trying to find a middle ground and make everyone happy.

Some landscapes provide a huge sense of scale and the game handles it with class for the most time.


Have you made it all the way here? My kudos to you! But we aren’t done yet!
The game offers an offline mode: sets of races with different objectives each, an excellent way to familiarise with the driving controls and track selection (and the more than a hundred variants each track presents).
Local split screen Multiplayer is also viable and the game performance varies depending on how many players are on screen at any given time.

Just as I was about to wrap up this review, a huge content update has been released: Syndicate mode. This is a HUGE single player campaign, still running as we speak, with the duration spanning more than a month. It offers hundreds of different missions, new cinematics, new game modes such as money run or hackers and features the most powerful car the game has to offer: the Koenigsegg Jesko. The car can be unlocked only if we manage to obtain the car ignition key and trust me, it won’t be an easy task. We are in fact required to have most, if not every car upgraded to max stats in order to progress in the event. This can be seen as a pay to win mechanic, in a way that’s the truth, but again: this is down to personal opinion. The amount of free content the game offers is staggering, more than any other free to play game I’ve ever tried in my long run in the videogame world. The graphics are beautiful, the game sounds amazing, controls are precise and reliable (the wacky car physics will be cause of more than one car crash though), clubs are an incredible social component, the amount of game modes is outrageous and the best part is: it’s all for free! I have personally spent a whole £20 since I started playing, which is an honest amount of money i paid to support the developers in their job. Much less money than I’d usually spend on a normal retail game.

The new Syndicate event just released and adds tons of new single player content and rewards.


Congratulations for making it this far! It wasn’t an easy task to cram everything this game has to offer in one review and I do apologise for its length and if at times I didn’t come across as clear as I’d like to always be.

I personally recommend this game to every arcade racing game lover out there. Worse case scenario you won’t have spent a dime if it turns out to not be your cup of tea! Good luck out there, racers! And watch out for me: <LW> DinoDrivino.

Comments
3 Responses to “Asphalt 9: Legends – NS Review”
  1. Violetta😅 says:

    🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
    10 stars! Superb Review🔆 The visuals, graphics, modes, events, career season’s races, Multiplayer races, etc everything is detailed.
    I personally love Asphalt 9: Lengends. Started playing this game recently. I find that this game has great potential. I love everything about this game, the visuals, graphics, modes, events, career season’s races, Multiplayer races, etc everything is amazing.This game is beautiful and amazing with nice smooth exhilarating gameplay. I also recommend this game, its free, loads free game contents. Do install this game I’m sure you will love it and enjoy it a lot.

    Like

  2. JSK186 says:

    I want to have the akylone pack so I can get the jesko please?

    Like

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