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Games : Worth a Look
Release Date: December 24th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Halo: Spartan Assault

Overview -

Every new console needs games, but those games don't have to be new. Continuing a stream of minor but fulfilling releases on the Xbox One post launch, Microsoft leans on a familiar friend with 'Halo: Spartan Assault,' originally a mobile and Windows 8 release. As a top-down, twin-stick shooter, it's not exactly the full-size 'Halo' anyone is waiting for, but it is an excuse to revisit the sights and sounds of a franchise known, no matter the view, for its vibrant presentation.

Worth a Look
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
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Release Date:
December 24th, 2013

Video Review


Though not much has changed in the translation from mobile to next-gen console, this game was pleasant to look at to begin with. Tiny spartans and space marines scatter across the battlefield like toy soldiers, swapping bullets with the covenants plasma fire. It's a blessing that any game should adopt a well-known and wonderfully conceived mythology as 'Halo's, and the development team did a good job of translating those visuals. But, like the rest of the game, it's clinical and direct. Unlike, say, 'Halo 4,' where a new planet and species really opened up the 'Halo' universe in interesting ways, the levels of 'Spartan Assault' do very little that hasn't been done before, or better, in previous games. Well, there's more ice this time.

The change in perspective is amusing, no doubt, but aided very little by a lost desire to find new ground.

Audio Review


Here we go again. It sounds like 'Halo.' Submachine guns rattle convincingly, grunts do their little yelps and suicide screams, and, as my personal favorite, the covenant wraith fires off its barrage with a powerful futuristic sound I can't even describe. Closing my eyes put me back into 'Halo 2,' which I imagine is exactly what the team was going for.

The same goes for the score, with dramatic choruses and echoes of Marty O'Donnell's score reminding us exactly what universe we're in. Maybe it has something to do with the linkage of nostalgia and sound, I found the audio in 'Spartan Assault' a much more convincing method of immersion than the purples and greens of the visuals.

Master Chief is on vacation, and with no intergalactic war to fight we'll have to settle for a simulation. Not a facsimile, nor a cheap knockoff, it isn't even something in the middle. It's something off to the side. Understanding that virtually any genre privy to guns and bad guys, that 'Halo' technically works as a twin-stick shooter isn't surprising. It's just there isn't much surprising beyond that either. It works, and those with a propensity for some laid-back, arcade-style gunplay will certainly be happy, if not happily overwhelmed, with the result. The best thing you can do is find a friend and go after the Flood.

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