Asphalt 9: Legends is stupid. But I don't want you to think that's a bad thing, because it's really, really not. This is the polar opposite of a hardcore racing sim, and it wears its arcade heart on its ridiculously pimped-up sleeve. Oh, and it looks amazing as well.
The game is currently out in soft launch in the Philippines, so we thought we should grab some time with it before its worldwide release to give you some idea of what to expect when the game lands in the coming month. And most of what we've seen has left us far from disappointed.
Like its predecessors, the game is all about driving super-powered cars on tracks around the globe. Unlike its predecessors though, it simplifies things a great deal, taking the steering and acceleration out of your hands entirely. Or, more specifically, it does if you want it to.
For old hats, there's an option to take over the steering, giving your jostling for position a little more you about it. But the easier controls are just as exciting, and let you focus on the important things - drifting like a lunatic and doing insane jumps.
At the start of the game you've got a pretty bog standard car to play around with. Bog standard for Asphalt anyway, ridiculously overpowered and horribly expensive for the real world. You race a bit, upgrade a bit, then race a bit more.
It's a decent rhythm, and as you unlock new cars you'll bring them into the fold too. You get a tank of gas for each car, which is the game's energy system. They refill over time, so making sure you've got a garage full of competitive vehicles is key to success.
There's a lot to do here as well. You've got a career mode, but the game throws in multiplayer and daily events as well. Plus you can join a club to earn even more rewards. And there are plenty of rewards, which means you're always going to be adding bits to your cars and unlocking new vehicles too.
No, this isn't the Asphalt of old, but it's the direction the series has been heading for a while. It might have started off as The Fast and the Furious, but it's skirting F8 of the Furious territory now. Seriously, you're driving through ships, smashing through skyscrapers, and dodging enormous waves. And that's all in the first hour or so.
Asphalt 9: Legends is the sort of game you play with a big dumb grin on your face. It's popcorn gaming, all kebang bash boom, here are some shiny things go and do it again. It's stupid, and quite frankly it's shaping up to be pretty damn good.