Halo: Spartan Assault

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Halo: Spartan Assault
HSA-Cover.jpg
Developer(s):

343 Industries, Vanguard Games

Publisher(s):

Microsoft Studios

Platform(s):

Windows 8 (PC and tablet)
Windows Phone 8
Xbox 360[1]
Xbox One[1]
Steam[2]

Release date(s):

July 18, 2013[3][4] (Windows 8)
December 23, 2013[5] (Xbox One)
January 31, 2014[6][7][8] (Xbox 360)
April 4, 2014 (Steam)[2]

Mode(s):

Campaign
Cooperative[1]

Rating(s):

ESRB: Teen (T) for Blood and Violence PEGI: 16+

 
"Halo like you have never played before."
—Halo Waypoint[4]

Halo: Spartan Assault is an isometric shooter video game developed by Vanguard Games in collaboration with 343 Industries; it is the eighth game in the Halo series. Originally designed and released for Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, enhanced ports of the game are upcoming for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.[1] Set between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4, the game features 25 missions that tell the story of the SPARTAN-IV Program's earliest operations.[9][10][3] The game went by the codename "Bootcamp" prior to its official announcement.[11] Spartan Assault was released on July 18, 2013 for Windows 8. The complete version of the game (including all DLC) was released on December 23, 2013 for Xbox One and released on January 31, 2014 for Xbox 360.[5][6][7][8][12] The game was released on April 4, 2014 for Steam.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Set sometime between March 2553 and July 2557, Halo: Spartan Assault's main narrative explores the SPARTAN-IVs' first Spartan Ops during the Battle of Draetheus V.[13][14] This battle is part of the second war between the UNSC and the remnants of the Covenant, which is still being waged during the events of Halo 4.[9][15][16] The story unfolds through the UNSC TACSIM, a historical computer simulation which the SPARTAN-IVs use for combat analysis and training, much like Halo 4's War Games mode,[10][17] though the framing story takes place at some point after Halo 4's campaign.[note 1] This framing structure explains some of the game's arcade-like elements, such as weapons' ability to fire continuously;[13][14] indeed, Roland jests that the TACSIM doubles as "a fun game you can play in your spare time".[18]

The campaign has two protagonists, Spartans Sarah Palmer and Edward Davis, whose first meeting is depicted in the Halo: Initiation limited comic series.[15] Rather than the in-engine cutscenes used in most Halo games, Spartan Assault instead makes use of motion comic-style animations between missions, much like the terminals in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary and Halo 4.[3] Various quotes are displayed in the game's mission loading screens, some acting as gameplay tips while others provide backstory for the events of the game.

Campaign[edit]

The campaign mode is divided into six chapters called "Operations", with five missions each. The co-op mode comprises five missions.[19]


Gameplay[edit]

Control input[edit]

Touch input for Halo: Spartan Assault

As a "twin-stick" top-down shooter title, Halo: Spartan Assault is developed primarily for touchscreen platforms. The default controls for the game use some of the common control mechanics of touchscreen games: the movement control is located on the left screen whereas the aiming and firing control is located on the right. Halo's staple abilities, (such as grenade with a single button and using vehicles seamlessly), are readily accessible to the player and are placed next to the aiming and firing controls for ease of use.[20]

On Windows 8 PCs and tablets, the game can also be played with a mouse and keyboard. Keyboard controls use a standard shooter format: the "WASD" key group controls movement and the mouse is for aiming and firing. On August 29, an update was applied to the game which enables the use of an Xbox 360 controller as well.[20] The console versions of the game feature an altered control scheme in which the player must press the Right Trigger in order to fire weapons; in contrast, the other versions do not distinguish between the "look" and "fire" controls.[19]

Player loadout[edit]

Player loadout

Players are able to customize their Spartan character's primary and secondary weapon loadout, armor ability, and booster (akin to Halo 4's a tactical packages and support upgrades) at the start of each mission.

Cooperative play[edit]

The Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of the game include a two-player online cooperative mode. In this mode two Spartans battle against hordes of Flood forms across five missions.[1] The also mode features never-before-seen weapons and equipment, including an M6 machine pistol (which is dual-wielded like the M7), a teleportation armor ability, and a what appears to be a "cryo bomb" which emits a cloud that the Flood cannot penetrate.[19][21]

Features[edit]

Characters[edit]

UNSC[edit]

The following characters are only mentioned in pre-mission quotes:

  • Private Aaron Landvik (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Abbi Strand (First mentioned)
  • Sergeant Albert Sessa (First mentioned)
  • Private Alexandra Tran (First mentioned)[23]
  • Private Amber Penzak (First mentioned)
  • Private Andy Dimotta (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Benjamin Wallace (First mentioned)
  • Spartan Bethany Kossup (First mentioned)
  • Captain Brad Falkenrath (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Brendan Hale (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Caitlin De Sauveterre (First mentioned)[24]
  • Lieutenant Chandana Pasternack (First mentioned)[25]
  • Private Charlie Sultan (ODST) (First mentioned)
  • Private Christopher Olsen (First mentioned)
  • Corporal Craig Prinz (First mentioned)
  • Private Dave Moriarty (First mentioned)
  • Private Edward Levesque (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Elizabeth Kwan (First mentioned)[26]
  • Major Geraldine McNally (First mentioned)
  • Private Gerry Payne (First mentioned)
  • Private Guy Amjad (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Han Quigley (First mentioned)
  • Private Harold Amundsen (First mentioned)[27]
  • Sergeant Harry Benton (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Henry Darzi (First mentioned)
  • Private Jamie O'Neal (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Jim Nikolai (First mentioned)
  • Private John Rosenfeld (First mentioned)
  • Private Kelly Tremblay (First mentioned)
  • Sergeant Lindsay Asturias (First mentioned)[28]
  • Lieutenant Mark El-Hashem (First mentioned)
  • Sergeant Mary Russo (First mentioned)
  • Private Matt Salamanca (First mentioned)
  • Private Molly Markozi (First mentioned)
  • Private Monica Ernst (First mentioned)
  • Captain Nada Rand (First mentioned)
  • Private Nick Rhee (First mentioned)
  • Private First Class Nozomi Li (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Patton Liao (First mentioned)
  • Private Paul Voclain (First mentioned)
  • Private Peter Zhou (First mentioned)
  • Sergeant Ramone Dakota (First mentioned)
  • Commander Richard Moe (First mentioned)
  • Private Rob Petersen (First mentioned)
  • Private Roger Alfarsi (First mentioned)[29]
  • Private Samantha Hass (First mentioned)[30]
  • Lieutenant Sasha Wu (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Scott Pham (First mentioned)
  • Doctor Sheila Nerrivik (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Stefan Morris (First mentioned)
  • Lieutenant Tara Nguyen (First mentioned)[31]
  • Sergeant Tom Winter (First mentioned)
  • Private Victor Quintana (First mentioned)[32]

Covenant[edit]

Equipment and technology[edit]

Events[edit]

Locations[edit]

Organizations[edit]

Species[edit]

Vehicles[edit]

UNSC
Covenant

Weapons[edit]

UNSC
Covenant
Forerunner

Development[edit]

Design[edit]

Vanguard Games began development of Halo: Spartan Assault around April 2012 for the Windows 8 platform, before the announcement of Windows Surface.[35] During initial development, Vanguard experimented with several prototypes by bringing the traditional Halo first-person shooter experience to the mobile platform and found out the gameplay is wholly unsuitable for the platform.[35] The game's AI system is managed by HAVOK, the same AI system management technology used in Halo 4.[36] The Microsoft Surface Pro version of the game runs at 60 frames-per-second; the Xbox One versions runs at the same frame rate with a native 1080p resolution.[19] The Windows Phone 8 and PC versions are locked at 30 FPS.[citation needed] The game's top-down view and stylization result in an aesthetic very similar to that of Halo Wars.

Sandbox[edit]

The sandbox features weapons, vehicles, and armor styles from throughout the series' past. Most of the UNSC's arsenal from Halo 4 is represented in Spartan Assault; indeed, all but one usable UNSC weapon comes from Halo 4. The Covenant's arsenal is instead an eclectic mix of weapons from previous games, notably featuring the focus rifle and plasma repeater from Halo: Reach. Several vehicles and stationary weapons which originated in Halo Wars are virtually unchanged from their incarnations in that game, aside from improved textures. The Covenant Wraith and Banshee also appear to use their models from Halo Wars, evidenced by the former's plasma turret and the latter's canard layout.

Aside from Merg Vol, the Covenant species are based on their appearances in earlier media rather than their Halo 4 incarnations. Specifically, the Grunts, Elites, and Jackals have the physiology of their Halo: Reach counterparts and wear corresponding armor. The Brutes and Drones are instead represented with their designs from Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST.

Integration features with Halo 4[edit]

The game is closely integrated with the player's experience in Halo 4 where players can unlock experience points, new achievements, and an emblem for their Halo 4 account.[9] After purchasing the Champions Bundle Pack or the Bullseye Map Pack, the game will unlock:

  • The Striped (STP) skin for the DMR.
  • The Vision (VISN) skin for the Air Assault armor.
  • The Rush (RUSH) skin for the CIO armor.
  • A new stance called Determined.

Title update[edit]

On August 29, 2013, Operation F: Hydra was released in the form of a title update. Hydra includes five new missions as well as five new achievements, worth a total of 50 gamerpoints.[37]

Trivia[edit]

  • In terms of platform availability, Halo: Spartan Assault is the first Halo game to be released on mobile devices, the first to be released on Xbox One, and the first to be available for download as an Xbox Live Arcade game.
  • Despite being depicted on the cover art, Hunters do not appear in the game.
  • When shot, the Drones make the same noises Engineers make in Halo 3: ODST and Halo: Reach.
  • This marks the first Halo game in which Jackals use plasma grenades.
  • The first mission's briefing screen and the opening cutscene for Mission 9 depict Unggoy and Sangheili in their Halo 3 likenesses, whereas they resemble their Halo: Reach counterparts in gameplay.

Reception[edit]

Internet Sites
Reviewer Score
Destructoid 7/10
Eurogamer 7/10
IGN 6.7/10
VideoGamer.com 7/10
Magazines
GameInformer 8.25/10
Maximum PC 8/10
Metro 7/10
Pocket Gamer 9/10
PC Gamer US 58/100
Compilation Websites
Metacritic 71/100 (PC)
54/100 (XONE)
Game Rankings 68.7% (PC)
55.39% (XONE)

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This section requires expansion.

Gallery[edit]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ Roland was activated on December 5, 2557, roughly five months after the First Battle of Requiem, to replace Infinity's previous AI, Aine. The game's framing story thus takes place after the events of Halo 4's campaign, though when it occurs in relation to Spartan Ops is unclear. However, Halo: Escalation indicates that Infinity returned directly to Earth after Requiem's destruction, suggesting that the framing narrative takes place in the gap between Roland's creation and the Second Battle of Requiem.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault Is Coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360
  2. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault Is Coming to Steam!
  3. ^ a b c d GameInformer: 343 Industries Reveals Halo: Spartan Assault
  4. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault
  5. ^ a b Xbox The Official Magazine - Halo: Spartan Assault is out now for Xbox One
  6. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault Release Date Revealed
  7. ^ a b Xbox.com - Halo: Spartan Assault
  8. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault for Xbox 360 Releases Tomorrow!
  9. ^ a b c d Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault
  10. ^ a b Halo: Spartan Assault Announce Trailer
  11. ^ Halo Waypoint: The Halo Bulletin 6.5.2012
  12. ^ Xbox The Official Magazine - Halo: Spartan Assault Xbox 360 now available on Xbox Live
  13. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault - Defend
  14. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo: Spartan Assault -Clear
  15. ^ a b Halo Waypoint - Halo Initiation Writer Interview
  16. ^ Coming this summer: Windows Phone Blog A new Halo for Windows Phone 8
  17. ^ The PA Report: The next Halo game is coming to hardware you don’t have, and software you don’t want
  18. ^ Halo: Spartan Assault, opening cutscene
  19. ^ a b c d e Venturebeat: Mike Ellis interview
  20. ^ a b YouTube: Halo: Spartan Assault - Debut Gameplay Reveal
  21. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: SPARTAN ASSAULT XBOX ONE - CO-OP
  22. ^ Vine.co - Xbox: Meet Roland, your A.I. guide in Halo: Spartan Assault
  23. ^ a b c YouTube - Halo Spartan Assault gameplay w/ 343i employee Jay Frechette (E3 2013)
  24. ^ YouTube - PC 1080p | Halo: Spartan Assault Gameplay
  25. ^ YouTube - Halo: Spartan Assault Launch Party Demo
  26. ^ YouTube - Halo: Spartan Assault on Surface Pro @E3 2013
  27. ^ YouTube - Halo: Spartan Assault On Surface RT gameplay
  28. ^ Youtube Halo Spartan Assault Walkthrough - Level A-1 (Part 1)
  29. ^ a b YouTube - Halo Spartan Assault Impressions (inc Gameplay)
  30. ^ YouTube - Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows Phone 8 @E3 2013
  31. ^ a b c YouTube - E3 2013: Halo Spartan Assault
  32. ^ YouTube - vgBR na E3 2013 - Gameplay de Halo Spartan Assault
  33. ^ YouTube, Halo: Spartan Assault Reveal Trailer
  34. ^ a b c Halo Waypoint: Halo: Spartan Assault Achievements
  35. ^ a b Windows Phone Central: Halo Spartan Assault coming mid-July, will include future game updates
  36. ^ Havok: Havok’s AI Technology Powering Halo: Spartan Assault on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8
  37. ^ Halo Waypoint, New Halo: Spartan Assault Achievements Released

External links[edit]