Asphalt 9: Legends Nintendo Switch Review

Asphalt 9: Legends tight racing and flashy crashes will delight any arcade racing fan.

By Grayshadow, Posted 07 Oct 2019

Asphalt 9: Legends has been out for mobile devices and now has come to the Nintendo Switch. The racing elements are fantastic and provide a sense of speed and adrenaline as you plow through cars and leap off-ramps. With numerous tracks, dozens of cars to unlock, and challenges to complete Asphalt 9: Legends has a wide array of content and does include microtransactions to boost progression but the overall racing gameplay overshadows most of the monetization.

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Asphalt 9: Legends is an arcade racer that relies heavily on high-speed racing and lots of crashes. The single-player options are large, with dozens of races and time trials. Each section of the game is sectioned based on skill, specific cars, and unique races. Players are required to complete races to earn credits and blueprints to improve and unlock cars.

The cars in Asphalt 9 are impressive. There are over 50 cars now but new models are coming in future updates. Every car is based on a real model such as the Dodge Challenger 392 Hemi to the Zenvo TS1 GT Anniversary. Each car is placed into a category and those sections determine what races you can use the vehicle in.

To prevent players from using the same vehicle there’s a gas limit. Winning races refills the limit but if you fail too many times the car needs to refuel. You can wait out the timer or use Tokens to speed up the process. 

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The primary goal of Asphalt 9’s races is to keep your Nitrous filled through drifting, hitting things, leaping on-ramps, collecting Nitrous tanks on the road, and crashing other vehicles. Once triggered you, depending on how filled the meter is, you can trigger a second boost to either extend the boost or expense the entire gauge to obtain your maximum speed. After of which, maintaining the Nitrous meter becomes your primary goal as drifting stops the boost and maintaining control at high speeds becomes difficult. This is necessary for the later races as the game’s AI can catch up very easily. You can choose to race with traditional controls or using motion controls, which work well enough, but more seasoned racers will likely default to the traditional control scheme.

Each racing category has a specific amount of “Flags” that are provided for completing objectives. Not all of them are about finishing 1st, some have you completing the race, having a certain amount of air time, or even barrel rolls. As you gain “Flags” new races open up and each race, while fully completed, rewards the player with specific blueprints. As you progress through the game’s racing trees you can occasionally get bonus card packs, credits, and Tokens. Encouraging you to finish each racing category.

Every car comes with a score and rank, which can be boosted by using credits. This includes Top Speed, Acceleration, Handling, and Nitro. The customization won’t appeal to true gear heads but its basic enough that anyone can understand. Cars have a limit of how much they can upgrade and once that limit is reached a specialized item is needed. These items are provided in very specific events but where they’re located is provided to the player. Going into a race with a lower-ranked car isn’t ideal but you can you want a challenge.

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The race tracks come in a large variety but most are cut up into smaller portions for the smaller races. Usually, races last for about 1-2 minutes, which is ideal for a free-to-play game meant for playing in small bursts. The tracks are well-designed that encourage risky behavior. However, the repetition of the tracks does eventually get tedious. But with future content promised the developers can easily resolve this by adding more diverse locations and weather patterns, maybe a day and night cycle complemented with a larger race.

In addition to the dense single-player Gameloft’s title has a multiplayer that does not require Nintendo Switch online to access. This is a surprising addition but welcome. Players can participate in set racers with groups or go in alone. But players are better rewarded when playing with a team. It works well and getting into a race was easily enough for us. 

There’s a large number of cars to unlock but the grind to obtain them is long. We were given access to the $19.99 Starting Racer Pack which gave access to 5 cars, 200,000 credits, and 300 Tokens. Tokens are another currency that can be earned by completing challenges or purchased if wanted. You use the Tokens to unlock Premium Packs that hold cards. These cards are used to unlock new vehicles, which require a specific amount of blueprints. Duplicates are turned into Trade Coins that can unlock new vehicles but the amount needed is very high. 

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You’re constantly earning Credits and Tokens through completing races and challenges. The cost for items is high so expect a grind if you wish to forgo any spending completely. But the gameplay is strong enough that you’ll have fun racing.  There are plenty of daily events, goals, and challenges to take part to boost your currency. 

Lastly, there are card packs. These are random awards with 2 options available, 1 that is given for free every 2 hours and another that can be purchased with Tokens. You can purchase Blueprints directly but the cost is very high and you can only purchase 1 at a time.

Overall the microtransactions aren’t too bad. I’m not a fan of loot boxes or “cards” in general but I had so much fun with the racing elements that I didn’t care. Still, earning things traditionally will require a lot of dedication. As the most exotic vehicles are locked behind heavy grind goals.

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Asphalt 9 looks amazing. The cars all have a clean look at the start of the race and eventually start to get covered in dirt and filth as the race progresses. Crashes are glorious and cinematic as you see the wrecked vehicle slowly turn into a shell of its former self. If it does happen to you, getting back into the race is quick but you still lose that momentum.

Despite the amount of carnage, speed, and colors showering the screen Asphalt 9 performs very well. The game’s framerate runs very smoothly and with the exception of 2 crashes when navigating the menus the game ran great. I especially loved the weather effects when speeding down tracks. I did wish there were more inclement weather effects such as heavy rain or snow causing drifting to be a lot more dangerous.

Asphalt 9: Legends is a terrific racer. With a large number of cars to unlock and tracks to play on provides a large array of content. Players can compete for free online and join Clubs to face off against other teams. The racing itself it a true arcade racer, with high-speed crashes and lots of close class racing. The microtransactions sometimes get in the way but the sheer amount of content and incredible racing mechanics help overshadow these systems. Asphalt 9: Legends tight racing and flashy crashes will delight any arcade racing fan.

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Switch, PC, Mobile
Publisher(s): Gameloft
Developer(s): Gameloft
Genres: Racing
Themes: Racing
Release Date: 2019-10-08

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