Does Halo Continue to Dominate or is it Becoming Stale?
Halo: Spartan Assault Intro:
Halo: Spartan Assault is the latest in a long line of smash-hit games bearing the Halo name. The original trilogy of games developed by developers Bungie grossed record amounts for Microsoft. After Bungie split from Microsoft, development of the Halo franchise was handed over to 343 Industries, which created Halo 4 and now, Spartan Assault. Without the Halo tag attached to it, this game would probably have gone largely unnoticed. As it stands, Spartan Assault is an average shooter game. It doesn't do much wrong, but there aren't any parts of the game that appear particularly inspired.
For starters, the game does away with the traditional first-person viewpoint and instead sets its action in the top-down, dual-stick shooter perspective. This immediately renders most aspects of what made the original Halo series great impotent. The Halo series is known for the epic scale of its battles, the cinematic depth of the environment and the fantastic arsenal of weapons. By going with a top-down style, Halo: Spartan Assault loses much of the ingenuity of the series. The only thing you are required to do as a player is point and shoot, and almost all the guns in the game feel like variants of each other. The little novelty that the game provides is found in its auxiliary abilities such as armor and health regeneration.
The single-player campaign features 30 missions, and these are sufficiently varied. Some of these will have you at the helm of the monstrous scorpion tanks, dealing out death and destruction to your enemies. Occasionally, you can hijack vehicles from the enemy alien camp. Other missions employ staple shooter set-pieces such as base defense and surviving for a set period of time. The game shines a bit in the multiplayer segment. The two-player co-op missions are well designed and are a lot of fun. You will need to employ tactics and teamwork to get through them. Unfortunately, there is no split-screen multiplayer, so you will have to connect with another player through the Xbox Live service.
Is fairly generic and is told through a mixture of cutscenes and onscreen text. This is another area in which the presentation suffers. Since you aren't invested in the Spartan soldier you play as, most players will probably just end up skipping the long walls of text. Once you have finished with the campaign, you can replay some of the missions to see if you can achieve a higher score. Earning a high score is not a straightforward proposition, since your score multiplier depends on how many kills you can chain together in blocks of four seconds. You can ramp up the difficulty slightly by applying modifiers such as one that reduces the ammo you find in weapons that you scavenge from the battlefield. Another modifier uses up your shield meter as you continue firing. These variations offer a bit of a break from the monotony of the campaign and force you to think before you shoot. The in-game purchases are pretty pointless - they involve giving you the ability to change your selected weapons when you begin a mission. Since the only time you will be doing this is if you are replaying a certain level, these microtransactions seem forced.
Halo: Spartan Assault on Xbox One is a fairly run-of-the-mill shooter that employs tropes from countless other dual stick shooting games. The missions are moderately challenging if you turn on some modifiers. The best part of the game is the co-op multiplayer, and this is where most players will be spending their time. When you consider the kind of impact that previous Halo games have had for Microsoft consoles, it is really unfortunate that the first Halo game to appear on their next-gen Xbox One is thoroughly underwhelming.
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