After several months available to the Windows 8 platforms, the powers that be have decided that we should get a little relief in the current gaming release drought. I’m talking about Halo: Spartan Assault. Brought to us by 343 and Vanguard Entertainment, this new take on the Halo universe by use of a top down, twin stick shooter is a welcome break from the usual FPS game play.
The story starts with what seems to be the AI Roland giving a training class to new recruits. Explaining the events of a splinter cell called Covenant who attack the UNSC on the planet Dreatheus V during a cease fire. You take control of two different Spartans, Palmer and Davis, as they completed different missions to help repel the Covenant attack. Though I wish it was told in such a way that it unfolds as it happens, rather then a history and tactics lesson, it kept me entertained.
Gameplay was smooth and easy to pick up. If you are familiar to the Halo games, you'll feel like slipping into a familiar pair of gloves. Weapons are pretty much what you remember them to be. No reloading weapons was a bit odd at first but a good call because the fast pace and flow of the game would be interrupted too much with having to deal with it. I will say that targeting is a bit twitchy and it can be a bit harder to hit enemies with the single shot weapons, such at the Magnum and Plasma Pistol.
Something that should not have made it through the transfer of mobile game to console is the micro transactions. Frankly I see it as a cheap money grab that seems pointless. You can use money to buy Credits to power up your Spartan during missions, such as special abilities and score boosters. This seems redundant as you earn SP by earning the bronze, silver, and gold medals for each mission and then convert them to the in game credit. So I guess it's nice if you want to spend real money to over power your Spartan quickly, but that just seems lazy. Part of the fun is trying to reach those Gold medals at the end of each mission.
Overall I think it turned out great. Nothing spectacular, but for a game designed for mobile phones, it transferred well to the Xbox One. I think for 15 bucks, and with nothing else really to fill time with until some bigger titles starting coming out a couple months from now, it's worth picking up. It adds to the already deep Halo universe, and I cant wait to see what else 343 can cook up to keep me coming back for more.