Halo: Spartan Assault (Xbox One) Review
Halo with a twist
Ever since Halo: Combat Evolved launched alongside the original Xbox in 2001, the Halo series has become a mainstay on the Xbox and other Microsoft products. Three years separated the release of Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, as well as the releases of Halo 2 and Halo 3. After the release of the third entry in the series, Microsoft decided to expand the franchise, which has led to there not being more than a year and a half between entries in the series, some of which have been spinoffs.
Halo Wars was the first attempt to really shake up the franchise by switching to a real-time strategy gameplay style. However, while the game was received well by critics, the series has not tried anything completely different until the release of Halo: Spartan Assault earlier this year for Windows 8 PCs and Windows 8 phones. Now, Halo: Spartan Assault has been brought to consoles for the first time on the brand new Xbox One.
Halo: Spartan Assault changes up the Halo formula quite a bit by going from the first-person shooter genre to a top-down third-person shooter. This new playstyle is more similar to a game like Geometry Wars than any of the previous Halo games, but it still really does feel like it belongs in the Halo universe regardless. The controls are very simple to learn and use. The game uses a two stick control scheme where you move around with the left analog stick and aim with the right analog stick. Whether you aim or not, you can shoot with the RT button. The aiming isn’t hard to do, but it isn’t always the most accurate, especially at longer ranges, but that is just how Halo is with some guns having less range than others.
Speaking of guns, Halo: Spartan Assault brings back many of the weapons you know and love from the Halo series, such as the Assault Rifle and Needler. This also helps you to connect the game with the Halo franchise as some of the weapons are very unique to the franchise. Sadly, there are some weapons that are enemy exclusives, such as the Energy Sword and Gravity Hammer. It could have been fun to use these weapons, but there are enough projectiles to mix up the experience regardless.
Just like the mainline Halo games, there are also vehicles and turrets that you can pilot or hijack. The inclusion of Ghosts, Wraiths, and Tanks really do make the experience better, as ammo is unlimited. The problem when inside vehicles is that when they are destroyed, you are instantly killed and often make you want to avoid them due to some enemies taking the vehicles’ health down too fast.