Asphalt 7: Heat Hands-On Preview

The Asphalt series has been chugging away on iOS for a long time now. Every year, a bigger and badder version of the game hits the App Store with aims of taking the checkered flag. Asphalt 7: Heat is no exception. Targeting a June release, Gameloft is hoping fans appreciate their strategy of amping things up another level. After spending some quality time with the game, fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy what is being served up.

Detractors of this franchise largely hang on the notion that there is not much innovation and uniqueness in the moment-to-moment racing. In other words, some perceive the game as very derivative. On some levels, they are right. When we cruise through contests and races, we can see obvious traces of Ridge Racer and Burnout. The speed and visceral racing is something that has been maintained and even amped up. Asphalt 7: Heat looks better than ever. The courses have great variety and are overflowing with lush colors and huge special effects. Despite a zillion things going on in the game, the frame rate held steady 99% of the time.

With over 60 cars and 16 tracks (6 of them new), Asphalt 7: Heat has tons of content. We noticed many different race types including the standard circuit style race, knockout, and elimination modes, for example. Additionally, all the exotic brands you would want in a game like this made the cut. You’ve got Land Rover, Ferrari, Bugati, Lamborghini, BMW, and even the Delorean from Back to the Future as options to buy and select from. Each car can be leveled up from earning cash from races, or you can purchase cash with in-app purchases to expedite your grinding.

Besides the pretty visuals, we were fired up to see how deep the social and online considerations were. You can play against others worldwide on Wi-Fi, local Wi-Fi, and on Bluetooth. We played against each other on a couple of races using Bluetooth, and the experience was perfect. No lag whatsoever. As a nod to EA’s autolog system from the Need for Speed games, Gameloft has its own social system to keep you connected with beating your friend’s best times and high scores. We could not test out this feature because of E3′s inadequate Wi-Fi setup, but if it is as slick as the rest of the game, Gameloft has a winner there too.

Launch day will be arriving very soon for Asphalt 7: Heat. We saw what looked like a final build, and left utterly impressed on every level. If you aren’t a fan of the franchise, this one doesn’t do much to change that. It’s more of the same in many ways, but the execution and thrilling gameplay has us excited to play more.

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