Asphalt 8 review: the good and bad of Gameloft, all rolled into one

Asphalt-8-Airborne-Review

First things first, this post was supposed to be ready on Sunday. I had the perfect plan: a lazy weekend spent doing nothing but playing video games, enjoy one of the few days of good weather here in New Delhi, and pig out on some decent, unhealthy fast food. It has been far too long since I did something purely out of self-interest like that.

Thanks, Gameloft. You ruined it.

gameloft-asphalt-8-airborne-nexus-7

The Good

Fact is, I really wanted to play Asphalt 8. Most Gameloft games just suck, but they usually manage to do a decent job with the Asphalt franchise. Based on what  we saw at the new Nexus 7 launch, I was genuinely excited.

In a lot of ways, the game lived up to my expectations. The visuals are really, really good, and the Asphalt series is one of the rare mobile games to feature half-decent music. It’s not memorable, like Test Drive 6’s “Leave You Far Behind” by Lunatic Calm, but it isn’t cringeworthy.

The tracks are really good, with each offering their own unique challenges and visuals. I particularly love the hot-air balloons that you can see at the starting line of Iceland. This is a game that you would enjoy hooking up to your TV with HDMI out, and playing with a controller like Moga (it is also NVIDIA Shield compatible). And for the first time ever, I found a racing game whose on-screen steering wheel control didn’t suck.

Unfortunately, I’d love to have played the game some more to be able to say more good stuff about it, but…

The Bad

The number of times this game crashed on me is INSANE. It’s not a common issue, though I saw a thread or two about it online, so I was under the impression that it had to do with the ROM my HTC One X is running. Before giving up, I decided to check the log and it appeared that the game had some sort of network issues which were causing the game to crash. Switching off my WiFi and mobile data solved the issue, but it also meant I wasn’t able to try their multiplayer offerings which I really wanted to.

Even worse than that is that when my game was interrupted by a call, it wouldn’t save state. I had to completely relaunch Asphalt 8 a few times, which, let’s face it, is really inconvenient.

On the whole

I would rather play EA’s Real Racing 3 than Asphalt 8. I prefer Real Racing’s gameplay, the lack of Nitrous boosts and takedowns and all the extraneous stuff. Real Racing is far more challenging, and I enjoy that.

But, I’m still quite confident most people would rather play Asphalt. It’s a better “casual” racing game, and you don’t have to bother about the time repairs and upgrades take in Real Racing (which I use to my benefit to limit how much time I actually spend playing games). Asphalt 8 also costs only a dollar, so if you enjoyed the older games in the series or want to play it for the first time, there’s no reason not to. However, there might be a few disappointments in the overall experience.

To download Asphalt 8, head over to Google Play.

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  • simpleas

    I’d rather play this. Im sick of how EA is ripping people off with all the iaps in RR3. I spent about 20 dollars in that game and uninstalled ultimately.

    • Raveesh Bhalla

      I’ve played RR3 quite a bit without a single in-app purchase. It is limiting if you want to spend a shitload of time on it, but like I wrote, I used it to my advantage by making sure I don’t waste too much time playing and getting work done.

      • simpleas

        You guys both have a point. the thing that bugged me most about RR3 was the waiting period. I feel like there’s a fine line when it comes to whats acceptable as iaps. And RR3 crossed that line. If I pay 10 dollars for lets say a R8, then I want it NOW. I dont want to pay anoterh 5 dollars to shave off the 4 or whatever hour waiting period. You know what im sayin? That’s just wrong. And I didn’t want to support that game anymore. And in RR2, I was top 100 player.

    • jaylanPHNX

      At least RR3 is free. I bought the last Asphalt and its pacing is set to “encourage” IAP as well…for a paid game! Unless you’re really good at racing games (I’m mediocre even though I really enjoy them) you’ll hit s brick wall unless you spend money to get a better car. I’ll pass on this iteration.

      • simpleas

        well, a buck is practically free lol compared to what I usually spend in iaps.

  • Alm0s

    The problem with every single gameloft game: they look like a AAA, console-quality game on the surface, but they are as shallow as a casual phone game can be.

    • simpleas

      Truth. Visual = good / Content = bad, short or both

  • PhishyKris

    This iteration of the series is amazing. My GS4 renders is perfectly on the highest settings. It has not crashed once. I have RR3 as well and this is far superior. I woudl guess that it lags/crashes on older phones though. It uses a tremendous amount of RAM.

    • Raveesh Bhalla

      I thought it might have to do with my phone, but like I said, it didn’t. Once I switched both WiFi and mobile data off, it started working fine. From the log, it looked like some error while contacting Gameloft servers (not certain of this) which is why I turned it off. Basic stuff, really, hopefully they patch it.

      • shadowslash

        Running fine for me on my Nexus 4, a bit of frame skipping here and there but working great with my Moga.

        • simpleas

          hmm,, note 2 here highest quality runs great here. no hiccups yet. Can’t wait to try it with my ps3 controller later tonight. Too bad mhl or any kind of phone to tv projection slows / lags the controls :(( This is the same for my ipad or note 2.

    • No_Nickname90

      Odd since the game stays in my memory so easily. I’ve pressed home and after about 30 minutes and went back and it still was there. Exactly where I was. No loading or anything.

      Also, I noticed that my phone doesn’t start lagging as well.

      It’s that 2GB of RAM. =.P

  • Robert deJuana-Matthews

    I love RR3, but the Asphalt series has always been my go-to for causal gaming. That said, it has also always lagged behind EA’s offerings. I’ve always wanted it to have better physics and graphics, and they’ve delivered with this one. Also, the integration with Google Play Games has made chasing the achievements a lot of fun. I have to say that I am very happy with Asphalt 8 and it is working flawlessly on my Nexus 7 (second gen) and my Nexus 10

  • WhoaManWtF

    Ashpalt 8 has not crashed on me once on my Nexus 7 (2013) When you are using custom roms/kernels you should not even report crashes in a review… I have use android for quite a few years now and know that while you can often crank up benchmarks scores with custom roms/kernels (Even fix issues) They quite often cause app incompatabilities and that is your fault not the app makers.

    • Raveesh Bhalla

      Except when the crash seems to be happening while contacting their server, by the look of it from their server side, which is fixed by switching off the data?

      • WhoaManWtF

        Judging by the fact I know others on HTC Ones and SgS4s that I play with often and none of us have experienced these “frequent” crashes … Yeah could still be the Rom

      • Unorthodox

        Custom ROMs more often than not have issues with very trivial stuff, such as WiFi, touchscreen, camera, etc. Proper driver sources are rare for the plethora of sensors and chips out there.

        • Raveesh Bhalla

          The ROM works perfectly with everything I’ve thrown at it (including Riptide GP2’s multiplayer aspect). So, unless Gameloft is doing something very significantly different, I don’t think it’s just down to that. Some have also mentioned on other forums that they had issues with multiplayer connectivity, maybe it’s some server thing that I’m getting stuck with that they haven’t quite expected to turn up. I’ll give it a shot again this coming weekend, when some of the demand might decrease and hence free up their servers.

          • No_Nickname90

            You are saying multiplayer. I haven’t tried that yet. I haven’t had any issues with the in game server related stuff, like uploading ghost. LoL!!

            I’ll give that a try later on today after work. To see if I’m getting any issues related to multiplayer.

          • WhoaManWtF

            I haven’t played a lot of multiplayer but I played last night 5 races in a row with no issues, will try some more right now ;)

  • Dan

    Game worked fine on my Note 2, although I got bored pretty fast, I usually do with all Gameloft games. Nice looking games with no substance.

  • WhoaManWtF

    if real racing had controller support it would be a valid racing title, without it it’s crap.

  • No_Nickname90

    SERIOUSLY!? I pressed home and like 30 minutes later started the app and it was there in the pause menu. My game stays in the memory just fine.

    Also, this game has NEVER crashed on me. I’m surprised you’re going through this. LoL!! This game is AWESOME!! I actually don’t like Real Racing because it’s a simulation racer. I’m not too fond of those.

    Also, I don’t mind the in app purchasing method all that much… Well… Actually I do. It’s kinda hard to upgrade your car and the recommended levels grow to fast at the rate you progress through the game. I may be willing to spend like $5 on this game. Though I doubt that’ll get me enough points to save on.

    Oh well, I’ll just keep playing the same races for a little while. LoL!!

  • aznmode1

    I like to use on screen steering wheel and this seems not as responsive as asphalt 6 or 7 and I keep running into walls. Also not as smooth compared to asphalt 7. This on a samsung s4 rooted stock.

  • Kyle Cordiano

    Need for Speed games are the best for me.

    • Andrea M White

      Watchout the Burtly fun- ‘Burt Destruction': Better than the Best!! http://bit.ly/1bNLmlk

  • Konrad Salomon

    You can see the first 10 minutes gameplay here: http://apps4gamers.com/asphalt-8-airborne-hd-androidios-gameplay/

  • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

    Hardware incompatibility? #androidproblems

  • mrmcq2u

    Thanks for the tip in the article, for some reason the game kept crashing on the tokyo track and only the tokyo track which prevented me from getting anywhere with the career mode. switching off wifi did the trick.

    • Raveesh Bhalla

      thank heavens someone else also had this problem, feels horribly lonely being the only one. BTW, it was struggling for me on the Tokyo track too.

    • Andrea M White

      Super awesome n nothing can beat ‘Burt Destruction': Better than the Best!! http://bit.ly/1bNLmlk

  • KosmoCrisis

    I bought this too. Stutters with some noticeable frames dropping on my Galaxy S3. This game needs an update.

    • maryannaweinreb

      мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

      And I didn’t want to support that game anymore. And in RR2, I was top 100 player.

  • Louis thomson

    please check the first 5 min awesomeness of this game-play video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG3UVEhwqEU

  • Ryan Patrick

    It runs flawlessly on my LG Optimus G Pro. I haven’t had any lag, and the game has not crashed on me at all. I have only run the game on “high” graphics setting and while it lacks the realism of RR3, I think this is a much better product for the majority of mobile gamers out there. Also why would you put a soundtrack song from a different game in the review? It’s completely unrelated and a waste of space. I feel like this review was rushed and written out of frustration rather than aiming to be informative on the title. If you’re running a custom ROM, REGARDLESS of what other apps may work, there is always the potential for crashes, especially with the bigger developers like Gameloft and SquareEnix.

  • Andrea M White

    Nothing can beat ‘Burt Destruction': Better than the Best!! http://bit.ly/1bNLmlk

  • http://www.androiddevelopmentexperts.com/android-game-development.php Jason Stewart

    Awesome Superb game with good graphics. If it included an option to sell cars, it would have been perfect. Deserve a 5 star.