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Halo: Spartan Assault

343 Industries Reveals Halo: Spartan Assault

Earlier this month, Microsoft registered a domain name for Halo: Spartan Assault. You can stop guessing what it is now, because I’ve played 343 Industries’ new Halo game. The developer is taking the franchise to mobile devices. The Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 game is inspired by twin-stick shooters like Robotron and tells a new story across 25 campaign missions set between Halo 3 and 4. Halo 4 owners will also earn experience, emblems, and achievements by playing Spartan Assault. I got my hands on the tablet version and blasted apart Covenant forces from the new top-down perspective.

The missions of Spartan Assault are a mixture of pivotal UNSC battles told in a framework that expands on Halo 4’s Sarah Palmer and the origins of the Spartan Ops program. Players choose between Commander Sarah Palmer or Spartan Davis. The game is presented like it’s a training tool for prospective soldiers. It allows users to relive the most important Covenant conflicts from the history books. The story is told through slick cinematics, which look like polished motion comics. 

I played through a section of the game on a Windows 8-powered Surface tablet. Players customize their load-out before each mission, and unlock classic Halo weaponry as they progress. I stick to Halo 2’s classic dual SMGs for my hands-on time. Digital thumbsticks can be a pain, but Spartan Assault mitigates this with controls that pop up wherever you place your thumbs on the touchscreen. Movement is controlled with the left thumb, and your Spartan shoots in the direction of the right stick. Various on-screen buttons let you switch grenade types and swap weapons. The control scheme works well for the missions I played, but we’ll have to wait and see how it holds up during more chaotic skirmishes.

An overhead perspective offers a broad look at the lively battlefield. Banshees streak through the air, trailing light from their wings. Blue blood splatters from Covenant grunts and elites as they fall to guns and explosives. The lighting, particle effects, and detailed character models and vehicles make Spartan Assault resemble a zoomed-out look at an intense battle from one of Halo’s console entries.

Vehicles play a key role in the game. One mission tasked me with taking out a squad of anti-air Wraiths. I begin by using the powerful and accurate sniper rifle to clear out a pack of elites guarding a Wraith. I hijack it with a press of the touchscreen and hop inside. I proceed to use the commandeered Wraith to destroy the rest of the fleet. Just like in the console games, vehicles gradually begin to smoke and show wear as they take damage, concluding with a dramatic explosion. 343 Industries’ attention to these details keeps the experience grounded in the Halo universe.

Halo: Spartan Assault arrives on Windows 8 devices this July. If an accessible, single-player twin-stick Halo game sounds like a good fit for you, be sure to set aside $6.99 for it. 343 Industries is supporting wired Xbox 360 controllers for all versions of the game with a post-launch update, so here’s hoping the downloadable game makes it to XBLA.

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  • http://www.xbox360achievements.org/news/news-15090-Microsoft-s-E3-Slate-Reportedly-Leaked--Includes-Fable-IV--Halo-5.html maybe what's posted in that link is real? Could we expect the others listed to be real also?
  • Hmm, didn't see that coming. I just figured it would be the name of the Steven Spielberg show.
  • Microsoft: "We want to support the Xbox One with as many exclusives as we can get it." *TWO WEEKS LATER* Microsoft: "NEW HALO FOR MOBILE DEVICES!" I don't understand this move
  • Shouldn't they be waiting for E3 to reveal this?
    I saw an image yesterday showing this, Halo5 and Dead Rising 3 as well.
  • *cough* Cash-grab *cough*
  • So first they step out on stage to announce a Halo TV series, and now this... It's like they they give zero *****. As much as I loved the new mechanics to the gameplay of Halo 4, a lot of their other design choices with that game left a VERY bad taste in my mouth. That combined with these two recent announcements, I am starting to realize I am not a fan of 343, not a fan at all.
  • If it has some RPG elements, I'm in. Finding armor and weapons would be really cool. I doubt they'll do that, though. It just looks like some average mobile game at this point.
  • Yeah one problem... Who the hell has windows devices?
  • Holy crap its out. Holy crap its out. Spazzing now
  • Looks like a decent time killer......if they ever put it on xbla
  • Well this is slightly disappointing, I hope it at least comes to XBLA soon that way I can try it out. A twin-stick shooter Halo game could actually be kind of cool if they get it right, hopefully it is not limited by the fact that they had to make it for mobile devices.

  • Twin-Stick-Shooter without sticks. Great idea :D

  • Its like Diablo mixed with Halo, not a bad idea. but most of us dont have a windows 8 phone or other.

  • This is a pretty cool concept in relation to the story, but the rest doesn't appeal to me. I think a story between 3 and 4 would be FAR better as a full length console game.
  • So it won't work with Windows 7???
  • When I saw the spartan picture at the GI.com home page,for a second I thought that was a Republic Commado sequel.:D

    No seriosly,I really thought that.That spartan helmet looks too identical to republic commando

  • ............I miss Bungie =(
  • I kinda like this idea. BTW,why don't they have ops that call back from old games like aVR misson type of thing?

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