For a game which promised so much, Asphalt 7: Heat delivers very little, writes Himmat Singh
ARCADE racing franchise Asphalt from Gameloft is widely regarded as the best series available on smartphones and tablets, with some even going as far as claiming it’s the mobile equivalent of Need for Speed.
In this seventh iteration of the franchise, there are three game modes: career, quick race and multi-player (online and local WiFi).
In career mode, you play in a multitude of event types and earn cash and stars along the way. Cash is used to purchase better cars and upgrades, while stars are required to unlock more cars and championships. There are also goals to aim for and, upon completion, you get a bonus star for each.
Asphalt 7: Heat is just like other arcade racers in terms of gameplay in general. There’s the Nitro boost, drifts, traffic, knocking down your opponents and reckless street racing action.
A game like this would be awesome to play against others (up to six people), but sadly the multi-player is simply not as fun as it’s played on a non-level field.
While the races are broken down into tiers, this doesn’t help much since if you have the worst car in the tier, you will almost certainly lose. Since the races depend less on skills and more on the car’s top speed, there’s not much difference you can make.
Much has been made of Asphalt 7: Heat’s graphics. It is a major disappointment (at least on the Android version). The texture quality of the buildings and environment is terribly low-resolution. For a game that’s 1.4GB in size, this is unacceptable. The low-resolution graphics are most apparent during the pre-race cut-scenes, where close ups of the buildings are shown.
The game also doesn’t look realistic. The environments are bright and glossy. Another problem with the graphics is that you can see the game rendering textures in the background while you race and this cheapens the gaming experience. Gameloft has done a very shoddy job on the graphics, especially since they are known to excel in this area.
By default, Asphalt 7: Heat utilises tilt-to-steer together with tapping the left side of the screen to brake and the right to use Nitro boost, and the car is set to auto-accelerate. There is another similar option, the difference being you have to manually accelerate using an on-screen pedal. I prefer this second setup since it gives me more control of my car’s acceleration.
For those who don’t fancy tilt-to-steer, there is the option to either use an on-screen steering wheel or left/right buttons to steer. However, I found that on occasions, the car veers to the right of the screen for no obvious reason.
IN-APP PURCHASES AND SOCIAL SHARING
With a selling price of US$0.99 (RM3.10) for a game of supposedly AAA quality, it’s obvious that this game employs IAPs. The good news is that IAPs are really not necessary. Everything can be earned in-game and IAPs are merely a shortcut to success for the lazy. Anyway, you wouldn’t want to spend on the IAPs as they are expensive. For example, the cost of purchasing our stars (which you can otherwise earn through one race), is US$1.99.
Asphalt 7: Heat emphasises social sharing via Facebook. It is fine if they do it once in a while but this happens after every race and is very annoying. The best solution I found is to link a secondary Facebook account and be done with it. You earn US$5,000 in-game cash for sharing each time, and it’s not hard since you just have to top on a button.
The game doesn’t bring anything new to the table (it’s very similar to Asphalt 6: Adrenaline). The graphics, which would otherwise have been a major selling point, is sub-par. Having said that, it is a decent arcade racer and I see no harm done in purchasing it especially since it is rather cheap.
Note: Android version of the game reviewed. Some of the graphics and controls issues do not affect the iOS version. Overall rating given is based on the Android version.
Asphalt 7: Heat
Release: June 2012
Availability: Android & iOS
Price: US$0.99 (RM3.10)
Replay Value: HHHH
Overall Rating: HHHH