Halo Spartan Assault review
- 60fps 1080p
- Faithful sound effects
- Co-p is always fun
- A bit light on new content
- Graphically underwhelming
- Feels a tad over priced
You could be forgiven for looking at the immediate future of Xbox One and not being totally won over.
Aside from Forza Motorsport 5, there's no exclusive big hitters coming until Titanfall in March (we hope) and if you're waiting patiently for something along the lines of Halo 5, you'll be lucky to see it this time next year.
So we're not all that surprised that Spartan Assault has made the jump to Xbox One. It's still a decent Halo game after all, and Microsoft Game Studios has added a few bits and pieces to flesh it out.
Halo: Spartan Assault is set in between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4. You control Spartans Sarah Palmer (who fans will remember from the Spartan Ops episodic campaigns in Halo 4) and Edward Davis, as they battle with rogue Covenant troops amid a fragile ceasefire.
While the single player story revolves around the Covenant, the new co-op mini story has you staring into the salivating maw of the Flood again...
Halo Spartan Assault: Gameplay
Those of you who have played the Windows version will know what's up here - there really aren't any changes of note. Those who haven't - read on!
Spartan Assault is a top-down shooter, a little in the mould of the original Grand Theft Auto games. You can run around the map with the left stick, whilst the right controls your aim as you fire and throw grenades with the shoulder buttons.
Aiming down sights will slow your Spartan to a walk, but gives you much more control over accuracy.
Twin SMGs make a welcome return since the days of Halo 2, spraying bullets at short-range enemies, whilst other classic weapons like the Assault Rifle, DMR and Battle Rifle are also present. And you can throw in some new enemies and armor abilities too.
Halo Spartan Assault: Graphics
Top-down shooters, strategy games often look rather pretty at first glance, and Spartan Assault was no different on Windows tablets.
And it still looks pretty on Xbox One - claiming to have had a 'graphical boost' - but not outstandingly so. We reckon if Spartan Assault was being made today for Xbox One only, it would look a country mile better than this.
That said, there are some welcome tangible benefits to playing on Xbox One. The environments and characters are sharp in 1080p, with nice effects around grenades and firearms. And it runs at a very smooth 60fps.
Halo Spartan Assault: Features
The major bonus for Xbox One players is the addition of five new co-op missions. These are two player missions only, with each we played coming in at around 15 minutes long.
Some of these are survival missions, where you simply have to defend your position from waves of enemies, while others are traditional objective-based missions.
Alongside that are 30 single player missions - the same campaign that featured in the Windows 8 version - and though difficulty modes will, as usual, affect the way the mission plays out, there's not a lot of replayability here. And that's about it really. It's all about the co-op if you're coming back for more.
Halo Spartan Assault: Verdict
When Spartan Assault appears on December 24th, it'll be available for two prices. If you've already bought the Windows version of the game, you can grab the Xbox One edition for £3.99, while newcomers will have to splash out the full £11.99.
Those prices aren't bad, but we don't think it's immediately unreasonable to offer Windows owners the chance to play it for free on Xbox One, especially when they've just shelled out £430 on the console too. Again, £12 seems a little steep for what is essentially an old XBLA game, but it's not a terrible price.
The game itself is good. The beauty of co-op is that playing a game with a good mate often papers over a few cracks, but the single player campaign is solid too and there's replayability in the multiplayer. If you're not put off by the price, there's fun to be had here.
Halo Spartan Assault release date: 24 December 2013
Halo Spartan Assault price: £11.99. £3.99 for existing Windows version owners