Asphalt 7: Heat (And it IS hot) [Review]

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At least for the last couple of installments, Gameloft’s recipe for success with the Asphalt series has been consistent: frantic races, well-detailed locales, licensed cars, some level of customization, and a career/leveling system. What changes? More cars, more locations, and better graphics. The results? the game really does benefit every time.

The original mobile versions of Asphalt Urban GT were simple 2D, 16-bit-look games typical of now-aging flip- and non-feature-phones. Today, under Gameloft’s overwatch, Asphalt has evolved into a fully-fledged racer, complete with the latest and most exotic rides known to the world, beautiful vistas and graphics for any mobile device, and way more than 10 hours of gameplay.

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Conclusion: Buy, Try, or Cry?

“Whoa, now, ain’t that supposed to go at the bottom, Jimmy?” Not this time. Why? Nothing competes with this game on Windows Phone. It’s that simple. Asphalt 5 has been one of extremely few racing games worth buying on the platform since it was up for sale, if not the only one worth it when it was first sold in the Store. Now that Asphalt 7 has come along, there is once again nothing to even stand in the same building with Gameloft’s top-selling racing series. Also consider that 5 remains on sale for $2.99, compared to the incredible $0.99 of 7.

Buy this game if you want a racing game. Period. It also doesn’t matter if you don’t buy it today, since the price will remain 99c across all platforms the game is sold on. Hopefully, more excellent titles from the brand-name developers will find their way onto Windows Phone, and soon. Real Racing 2 has been rumored to be on the way. But seriously now. 99 cents for one of the most polished arcade racers in the mobile world? Get this game.

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Now that it’s out of the way that you’re downloading the game as you read this, let’s actually talk about what makes this racer great. Asphalt 7 is an arcade racer, that title generally meaning that the physics are simple and you can breeze through whatever “challenges” the game throws at you. However, the game is surprisingly good at offering variety and difficulty throughout the career mode. Aside from the typical standard and elimination races, Asphalt 7 offers Paint Job (beat the clock with no collisions), KOTH (earn points based on race position over time), Beat ‘Em All (Take out as many other drivers as possible), and Drift modes.

The cars themselves have unique performance characteristics; for example, the Caddilac CTS-V is a tank, sacrificing mostly all other categories of performance at the altar of defense. The Shelby GT500, on the other hand, Instantly bolts to its relatively average top speed, is extremely good to drift while not doing so well in normal cornering, and is well-armored. The one critical low is a weak nitrous efficiency. Introducing more mechanics than the vanilla 3 of top speed, acceleration, and handling has allowed Gameloft to make the cars in-game seriously differentiate from one another.

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The graphics are great for a mobile game. Cars reflect lots of detail and are very detailed in themselves. lights properly illuminate other textures, including the ones from the cars. Animations such as the nitrous trails and user-interface graphics are complimentary to the semi-realism of the car models and environments, and are useful to reminding you that this is an arcade game.

While screenshots of the birds-eye-view of levels aren’t flattering at all, remember that you’re not even paying that much attention to the scenery in front of you, let alone behind and above and below you. It’s understandable, considering using the accelerometer controls means it’s hard enough to keep track of where your car is on the road. You won’t be let down or anything.

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The racing itself is not bad. Let me tell you now, though, that upgrading at least one car for every tier is a necessity to win after a certain point, even if the numbers of the performance increases don’t add up to much. The game’s catch-up system seems to be the reason, rather than the cars themselves being imbalanced, as I noticed the game got to a point where winning literally was impossible without upgrading the cars.

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Any bad points? Microtransactions do exist in the game, but definitely won’t break the game for nearly all players. The cash and reputation rewards come generously, increasing depending on which tier you are racing in. Of course, the option to buy 20 million virtual dollars is always there for a whopping $100 USD. Make sure you have a wallet PIN set if you’re letting the kids play.

Multiplayer is worth a shot. When there’s anybody playing. I have yet to find another match after my first try, which consisted of playing against 3 opponents in completely unmodified Fiats who weren’t competitive at all with my Shelby, either in skill or in vehicle selection. I still need to really give it a chance, but in 5 different tries, I have yet to find a match. I assume some settings are wrong, but still…

On the other hand, that one match surely didn’t have any problems with lag or anything else unique to online matchmaking. Plus, Wifi multiplayer is always an option.

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In short: Anyone looking for a racing game ought to grab Asphalt 7: Heat.

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  • eshwarnag

    finally on wp!!