Halo: Spartan Assault Reviews

205,298 (120,904)
TA Score for this game: 2,788
Posted on 31 December 13 at 21:26, Edited on 05 January 14 at 17:23
This review has 30 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
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Halo: Spartan Assault- 3.5/5 Stars
Price- $14.99 ($4.99 with prior copies purchased)

First I would like to get this out in the open before we go any further: I might be one of the biggest Halo fans out there (comics, shorts, games, books, toys, etc). Ok. Just wanted to make sure you readers know that before you read my review. Trust me it was hard for me to write as much as it will be for you to read.

Alright, everyone on the same page and pitch forks stowed away(for the time being anyway)? Good. Halo: Spartan Assault is a mediocre game at BEST. Dont worry your little heads, i will explain why here in the next few paragraphs. But before we dive into the stuff that sucks lets talk about the stuff that doesn’t suck so much.

Despite not being made by Bungie or 343 Studios and ditching the FPS look for a top down/ twin shooter game play style, Vangard Studios did an half decent job with this IP and at least the graphics. Simple and non- taxing for your new Xbox One hardware to be sure but the colors are vibrant and crisp. No slow down whatsoever even when there are 12 enemies, 4 marines, explosions, Ghosts and a Scorpion Tank on the screen. The world feels alive with wide vistas of the war going on miles away or down in the canyons that dot the planet. Vangard Studios put my fears to rest with what i was afraid they would miss, capturing the feel of Halo.

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Speaking of top down, twin stick shooters, this will be the main turn off for most Halo fans out there (unless you absolutely loved Halo Wars). This too was a worry for me when first downloaded it for my Windows Phone a few months back. The game play was definitely different from what we were used to in the Halo Universe. Halo SA making the jump to Xbox One was a great move for Microsoft. For no other reason than the game felt like it was born to be played with a controller, not with a touch screen. The left analog controls Sgt. Palmer(more that later) and the right analog controls your aim, the right trigger fires and left trigger lobs grenades. It works, really it does. But now is where all bad stuff starts to crop up.

Halo always been about weapons and which one was right for the job. Vangard has made Halo a microtranaction game. I’ll let that sink in for a second. Our beloved Halo franchise has been lowered to that level of gaming reserved for freemium mobile and PC borderline adult fantasy games. A lot of the weapons you want to use in the game are purchase only, i.e, Sniper, rockets, spartan laser. The weapons; that leads us to the top down/twin stick shooter part of the problem. Some weapons simply do not work in this set up. The sniper rifle comes to mind along with the BR. There is no aim assist and you find yourself missing more often than not and in a game where ammo count is paramount this sucks. Fragment grenades fall under the same problem. You throw them and the baddies simply move. It almost feels they added these things because they felt like they had to. However, the vehicles of Halo have shown up in spades and they do handle well. In addition to grenades, guns and vehicles Vangard added armor abilities also. Why I’m not completely sure because they are just about useless. To the point that it just fills up space on your HUD.

Now some of that is easily overlooked granted but the constant crashing of the game is not. The game crashes once every other mission or so for me and almost always at the end of a mission. This is also a problem that occurred in the PC and phone/tablet version of the game. The game has been out for months and this was a known problem. Why hasn’t it been addressed? This problem really takes you out of the experience and makes you not want to play in fear of losing your progress.

One thing they did manage to add is multiplayer for the Xbox One version of the game. Well I hope they will add something that resembles multiplayer considering it is a Halo game and at the premium price of $14.99. The MP feels like it was added just as an afterthought with poor matchmaking and uninspired “Flood” Firefight mode. That’s it. No going through the Campaign with a buddy or VS. Just a watered down Firefight mode where you fight nothing but the Flood.

Next in the laundry list of problems of Halo: SA is the story. Ohhh the story (or lack there of).This game is suppose to fill in the gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4 in the story arc but the game conveys this not as the events as they are happening but as simulator of those battles. HUH? This might sound trivial but that makes the campaign feel like it is not important at all and the missions feel more like boring tasks than life or death scenarios. The Campaign has you follow Sgt. Palmer from Halo 4 fame as she leads other Marines and Spartans in various missions to control and unmentioned forerunner planet. That’s it. End of story. If you are interested in the adventures of SGT. Palmer (I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t) I would recommend reading the Halo comics by Dark Horse Comics that chronicle the same events but in better detail and actual character development.

Lastly is what brings most people to this site and therefore reading my review, the achievements. For the most part they are straight forward and boring to get. Actually they are so drab I had to go back and look twice during this review to remind myself that almost all of them are just beat missions, beat missions with gold stars, beat mission on Legendary, etc. Nothing too exciting but a time sink for anyone looking to 100% this game. The multiplayer achievements are worth tons of points so find a friend and grind them out. Also I should add that if you own multiple copies of this game across platforms , the achievements are stackable. That means you can get points for the same achievement for the same game on different platforms.

Should you buy this game? For the average gamer that isn’t all that familiar with the Halo Universe I would have to say no. For the Halo fanatic like myself and others out there? Yes. I pride myself on playing all of the Halo games that have come out on all platforms but this game has many problems I feel that could be addressed to make this sort of Halo game a huge hit and not a low point in the series. Too many crash issues, uninspired multiplayer, questionable game play choices, and high price keeps this game from really being a stand out game on the fledgling Xbox One.

After thoughts: Well I have spent a few more hours with Halo Spartan Assault after I wrote my review and I feel I should add a few things. First, I have narrowed down exactly what makes the game crash (in my game anyway). I played 7 missions in a row with no crashes as long as I didn't upgrade my weapons. The moment I upgrade my weapons the game crashed just as the level was going to end 4 out of the 5 times I tried it. I tried it with all the weapons and boosters and armor abilities. It seems that only the weapons make the game crash. Purchasing any other upgrade has not resulted in a crashed game.

Secondly I would like to point out that the game is fun. After going back and reading my review and your comments it did sound like I was bashing it to oblivion. However, the game is quite enjoyable despite the crashing and weird choice of gameplay choices. But I still stand by the fact that I feel that Halo fans will get more out of this game that Joe Casual Gamer.

And Grimkillah, I did go check if any of the achievements count towards your Halo Waypoint career. Sadly enough as of 01/05/2014 the achievements for Halo: Spartan Assault DO NOT have any bearing in your Waypoint career. Also SpectralWolf, the music is fantastic and that went a long way in the part of making this game feel like a Halo game.
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