I am a huge Halo fan, from the story to the games, I enjoy it all. But even I must admit that when I first heard about Halo: Spartan Assault coming to phones and tablets, I was a bit apprehensive. I wasn’t interested in it at all until Microsoft made the announcement that it was coming to consoles. Now with the game out on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, I got to see if it is worthy of the Halo name. In short, it doesn’t disappoint.
Halo: Spartan Assault takes place between Halo 3 and 4 and largely tells the story of Spartans Palmer and Davis. Some Covenant forces have ignored the ceasefire and it’s up to you to stop the Covenant dead in its tracks. You are on the planet Draetheus V and the Covenant forces have found out that one of the planet’s moons is a forerunner object. That’s pretty much it. The story isn’t very deep, but there is more there than you might first realize. What is this mysterious object and why do the Covenant want it so badly? It’s up to you to find out.
H:SA is a top down shooter which resembles Halo Wars in a lot of ways, the big difference being that HW is a real time strategy (RTS) game while H:SA is a straight up shooter. It seems that 343 thought a lot about how the game plays because the controller layout is a lot like other main line Halo games. Right trigger is to shoot, left trigger for grenades, that sort of thing. A brief tutorial gets you acclimated to the controls. It only takes a few minutes to get the hang of it and once you do, you feel right at home. I really appreciated the simple yet familiar controls. There was no need to complicate things and they didn’t. They kept the fan base in mind when designing this game and it pays off big time.
Visually speaking, H:SA isn’t stunning, but it looks really good. Here again we get a nod to HW because it looks a lot like it, just not as polished. It looks better than it’s Windows 8 counterpart, but not by much. My biggest gripe would be that enemy forces all look the same. All the grunts look the same and have the same color, the same goes for elites. In the regular Halo games, enemy forces are color coded in accordance to rank, some being more ornate in their armor types. It’s not a big deal really as everything else looks good.
All the classic Halo sound effects make an appearance which is a testament to the team behind the game wanting to keep that classic Halo atmosphere. The assault rifle, Spartan Laser, grenades etc., all sound like they should and that goes a really long way in selling this as a Halo title. The music, while good, isn’t anything awe inspiring like you would hear in the other main Halo titles, but it’s good. You know from start to finish that you are playing a Halo game.
I started this review off by talking about how apprehensive I was about this game but I quickly grew to love it. It’s easy to jump right into and the 30 plus missions are a blast to play. There are even short movies before each section that boast some cool cut scenes. If you’re a Halo fan and you’ve been on the fence about this one, I would say not to worry about it and give it a try. It’s bite size Halo. It’s fun and it’s worth the price of entry.