This review contains minor spoilers for Halo 3. It’s an old game sure, but I’m just being safe.
Developer: 343 Industries
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows & Windows Mobile
To many gamers, the name “Halo” is synonymous with the First Person Shooter (FPS) genre. Ask just about any gamer what their favourite FPS series is and they’ll probably say Halo.
Spartan Assault, however, is not an FPS. Originally released as an exclusive for the Window 8 mobile phone operating system, Microsoft brought the game over to the Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC several months later.
Set between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4, Spartan Assault sees the player taking on the roles of two different Spartans – Davis and Palmer – rather than the familiar Master Chief.
If you’ve played Halo 3, you’ll know that at the end of the game the UNSC and Covenant essentially end the war after a ceasefire is signed between the two sides.
Playing as Davis and Palmer, you battle against a rogue group of the Covenant who have chosen to ignore the ceasefire.
Spartan Assault is an interesting take on the Halo universe. Instead of being the First Person Shooter you would expect from a Halo Game, instead Spartan Assault is a top-down twin-stick shooter that sees you killing hordes of the Covenant, aiming for high scores and medal rewards, most of which are carried over from the main Halo games.
There are three main types of mission you will play in Spartan Assault, each one objective-based. The missions will find you hunting a specific target or targets, escorting a vehicle from A to B or defending an objective or area.
Spartan Assault’s mobile origins are abundantly clear through the whole time you will be playing the game however, and this only serves to work against itself in terms of being a console title. There are 25+ missions within Spartan Assault, with each one only lasting upwards of 5 minutes.
That means it is entirely possible to complete this Halo entry in one sitting. This would be fine for a mobile game where is average gaming session is a quick 10-15 minutes burst, however those playing on the Xbox 360 or One who are used to much longer gaming sessions may be left disappointed.
You’ll find that Spartan Assault also features completely unnecessary microtransactions, brought over from the mobile version. Essentially slightly more power variants of the standard guns, these upgrades can be bought with in-game credits, which are bought with real life money. Each upgrade only lasts the duration of a single mission, and when you consider that some missions can be completed in as little as two minutes it really does raise the question of why even bother?
Also new to the Xbox releases is the addition of a Co-op mode, which is probably more fun than the single player. Rather than being able to play the Campaign with a friend however, the Co-op mode sees you taking on hordes of the Flood in 5 unique stages.
Graphically, Spartan Assault is good – not amazing, but good.
Despite being a miniature version of the Halo world we are used to, the models are easy to tell apart. If you’ve ever played a previous Halo game (and I really hope you have), everything is the same, right down to appearance of the models as well as their animations; such as enemy walk cycles and even their idle animations.
Overall, Halo: Spartan Assault is a decent game. However, it is clear to see that it is an obvious attempt to cash in on the Halo name whilst Xbox gamers wait for the future releases of the Master Chief Collection and Halo 5.
Should you buy this game? Probably not.
Anyone who did already was probably lured in solely by the Halo name. Had this game been called anything else I highly doubt many would have played it.
As it stands the game is still free to download for all Xbox One owners with a Gold Xbox Live membership, so there’s no harm in downloading it. Just make sure you get to it before the offer ends on June 30th.