The commercial version of Samsung’s high-end Galaxy Note 9 is just around the corner and, as expectations for August 24 rise, enthusiastic critics have set to work with this clever mobile device to inform about the right impressions.
My particular review unit, the impressive purple 128GB lilac version, arrived last week in a small, simple box. After starting it and playing with the various optimized functions, I can safely say that there is nothing unpretentious about the Note 9 itself: it is a phablet beast of fast movement, multitasking and easy to use.
Among the beautiful 6.4-inch Super AMOLED screen, the long-lasting 4,000 mAh battery and the very capable stereo speakers with shaking of the device’s casing (which have more directionality, richness and lower than any other built-in mobile controller that have heard), Samsung You have created what could be the best phone for games. As such, I have compiled a short list of noteworthy titles that are worth installing, games that should help show your new Note 9 to all those technologically zealous acquaintances.
1. Fortnite, Epic Games
Seeing that the Note 9 is being launched essentially along with the Android version of the monolith of the massive monetary multiplayer craze of Epic Games, this selection should almost be obvious. I suppose there are some people who could be buying a Note 9 just to buy 15,000 V-bucks, as well as Samsung’s exclusive Galaxy. But apart from the extras, Fortnite’s mobile iteration works very well with the new hardware. That is, minus some persistent technical problems (such as pop-in animation and stuttering) that, hopefully, will be corrected as the beta version of Android progresses.
Jump to Battle Royale on Android feels like a lot of participants in the main game, although with touch controls and a convenient auto-start option to match the game. In addition, Note 9 runs with many frame rate problems in the Epic graphics configuration of the game, which blocks things at a relatively robust 30 fps. The textures are a little more confusing than those of the console and the PC, but the characters, the skins and the expansion of the environment look super impressive as they are displayed on that bright AMOLED screen. Stereo speakers also make it easy to hear the footsteps of your opponents approaching. It is not a perfect example of Note 9’s technical prowess, but in reality, it is much more about the full scope of the port map and the fact that it is running in any playable form.
2. Shadowgun Legends, MADFINGER Games
Another relatively recent release of Android (from a long-running portable series, no less), this massive online FPS for multiple players is like a mobile mashup of Bungie’s greatest hits. Sure, it’s a bit derived from Halo, Mass Effect and Destiny especially, and yes, the story of the alien invasion is a little heard. But if you look at all that, you will find a game that is almost too attractive to run on the phone’s hardware. The aesthetic of Blade Runner-esque on display, with its dirty futuristic elegance and extraterrestrial creature design, is an excellent showcase for the powerful innards of the Note 9.
Yes, Shadowgun Legends carries their inspirations in their manga as interstellar badges of honor, but that does not stop it from being a really nice game. The main area of the community is apparently snatched directly from a busy Overwatch map, complete with floating robots, flashing neon lights and colorful NPCs. The hundreds of missions of the campaign, with their abundant explosions and their imposing enemies, are just as fun to watch. In addition, the controls work strangely well on the Note 9’s massive touch screen. Operating at both 60 fps and Ultra High graphics configuration with virtually zero performance issues, this is an excellent sci-fi showcase for the new phone. Samsung, one that could justify the $ 1,000 more he invested to pre-order.
3. Darkness Rises, NEXON Company
Do you feel like installing a little Dungeons & Dragons style action in that new Note 9? This highly polished fantasy action RPG really fits perfectly. Choose to be a murderer, a berserker, a sorcerer or a warrior and embark on an adventure full of castles, battles, magic and enough old-fashioned dialogue to make the level 25 magical projectile vomit. The game is fast and furious (think of Bayonetta, Dynasty Warriors or the God of War legacy) with easy-to-understand controls, fast combat at the speed of light and some really serious finishing moves. Tons of monsters to hack and cut in the way, some of which look great as hell.
While the voice’s performance is surprisingly solid, the main narrative reads like the generic one for The Lord of the Rings fans. Custom monsters may seem interesting, yes, although the character designs in general are somewhat unoriginal (I’m watching you, army of orcs to cut and paste). But none of this matters much, because the game looks amazing in motion. The Note 9 handles everything in the maximum configuration of graphics without so much a recoil or a stutter. We are talking about 60 dazzling and unbreakable fps, even with multiple large enemies on the screen. With how well it works, it’s almost as if Darkness Rises was created specifically for this phone. If you can ignore how trite the premise is, this is an impressive title to try on August 24.
4. Riptide GP: Renegade, Vector Unit
I know that this old but good one came out in 2016, but even in 2018, it still looks great. The last title that was released in the Riptide game series, Renegade is very similar to its excellent mobile predecessors: Imagine the PS1 Jet Moto games but they only take place in the water. And let me tell you that it is a beautiful liquid, lovingly converted. That is part of the reason why the game is on my list, because drooling over the fascinating digital H20 in these futuristic tracks is a hobby in itself.
That being said, the Samsung phone runs this slick watercraft racer in maximum configuration as a champion. Turn on the Ultra / higher resolution option to see realistic splashes of water splash on the screen and slide the crystal into some convincing rivulets. Marvel at the undulating waves and floating cars as you move through the stunning waterways of the future. It even has a split-screen option for four players, so that you and three friends can gather around the recently downloaded Note 9, wirelessly connect a bunch of Bluetooth drivers and relive those glorious N64 days in style.
5. Asphalt 9: Legends, Gameloft
Well, I could be cheating a bit with this, since my last entry is the only review here that comes with a good dose of speculation. Because as of this publication, I have not been able to really play on Note 9. And that’s for a couple of reasons: 1) The game was launched at the end of July and is affecting Android devices in a deployment calendar and 2 ) Note 9 is technically still not compatible with Gameloft software, which of course avoids installation through Google’s Play Store. I guess the latter will change when it starts on August 24 and people start taking their phones home. Since I technically have a version prior to the release of Note 9, it is understandable that the developer has not yet “activated” the Asphalt 9 to download it in this flagship model, but I am too nervous not to include it in the list. So maybe consider this as an entry for the Asphalt games in general, at least until the newest game appears.
Meanwhile, I’ve been playing such a game on my now-old Note 5, which works well with the default graphical configuration, but it starts to have problems and gets a little shaky when pressed to show careers in the most demanding visual mode. I can only guess that this high adrenaline driving game, which smells like Need for Speed and Burnout, will run like pure butter on Samsung’s new hardware. I’ve only seen it at an apparent 30 fps through my previous phone, so the crossed fingers that the Note 9 will enable the 60 fps greatness. Asphalt Xtreme, a variation of rally, works in fact on the new Samsung phone and has an impressive frame rate. So if that is an indication, a surprise awaits us.
For a series that began in 2004 with the Nintendo DS and Nokia N-Gage (!), It sure has come a long way. That said, and, please, excuse the excited prediction here, but if Asphalt 9 finally reaches Note 9 later this week, it will undoubtedly be a graphic showcase. I will also update this post once I have practical time with it.