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About Halo: Spartan Assault

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Genre: Action | Publisher: Microsoft Studios | Platform: PC
Developed by Vanguard Entertainment, with help from 343 Industries, Halo: Spartan Assault is the first top-down twin stick shooter in the Halo franchise, and it remarkably keeps a lot of the elements that makes Halo special intact. You play as Spartans, Palmer and Davis, against a rogue sect of Covenant in missions set between Halo 3 and Halo 4

Both fans of Halo and newcomers will find an engaging experience with Spartan Assault, although knowledge of the weapons, vehicles, and enemies one would normally face in a Halo game is a huge plus. The game is available on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC via Steam, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Halo: Spartan Assault Basics

There are six missions in Spartan Assault, each split into five smaller levels that take five to ten minutes to complete. You are assigned various weapons depending on the level you choose, as well as armor abilities that range from invisibility to decoy holograms to a speed boost.

Each mission and task you complete earns you XP, and that can be used to upgrade your arsenal for any single task. You can buy weapons such as the Rocket Launcher and Spartan Laser, or drones that can take out enemies for you. You can also purchase boosts to edge you closer to a three star rating on more challenging stages.

Halo: Spartan Assault: Core Challenges

For those newer to the Halo universe, the specific rules of when to use plasma weapons or throw a grenade might be difficult to grasp. The game assumes you’ve played other Halo games, so learning the rules that those games taught will catapult you to success.

Scavenge For Resources
In Halo: Spartan Assault you’ll always start a level with more familiar weaponry, a shotgun or a magnum pistol. However, you will usually run out of ammunition rather quickly, which means relying on the arms of your fallen foes to keep pushing forward. Picking up the Plasma Repeaters and Focus Rifles dropped by the bigger Elites are usually a safe way to go, although there are usually weapon and grenade drops scattered on the edges of each stage.

Respect The Vehicles
Vehicles in Spartan Assault can be a blessing or a curse. They offer a great upgrade of firepower, but they’re also powder kegs that can explode quickly if you’re caught off guard by a group of Jackals. If you’re facing an enemy piloting a Ghost or Wraith, try not to run in front of it. You’ll be killed as soon as they touch you, much like it was in Halo: Combat Evolved. However, sneak around to their side, and you can board the vehicle and use it for your own purposes.

Use All Your Tools
Each enemy in Spartan Assault can be taken down quickly, but only if you know their weaknesses. The insect-like Drones take plenty of bullets, but go down after only a single melee strike. Similarly, the Elites all have energy shields that deflect bullets for a while, but fall to Covenant arms with ease. If you find a scenario that you can’t overcome, don’t forget your armor ability as well. A well placed Stun Blast or Regeneration Shield can give you the edge you need.

What We Like About Halo: Spartan Assault

Deep Halo Lore
For those who have kept up throughout Halo’s various releases, there are plenty of throwbacks in Spartan Assault to entice you. Weapons like the Plasma Repeater were only in Halo Reach, and vehicles like the Grizzly and Wolverine tanks were previously exclusive to Halo’s sole RTS outing Halo Wars. It does seem like the developers wanted to bring together elements from the entire franchise and present a united world, something that both Bungie and 343 has had difficulty doing at times.

Pick Up and Play
Due to the game’s origins on mobile devices, it makes for an excellent lunch break game. In Halo: Spartan Assault each set of five levels is long enough to be satisfying, while being short enough that just about anyone can run through them one at a time. This isn’t a game you want to sit down with for long stretches, but instead something that will pass the time wonderfully between more strenuous activities.

Impressive Mission Variety
Despite being more limited than its first person shooter siblings, Spartan Assault still brings you the Halo levels that you expect. There are stealth sequences, long standoffs with waves of foes, and even a few levels where you are let loose to blow everything up in a Scorpion

Top Questions of Halo: Spartan Assault

Are there microtransactions for this game?
The Xbox One version does feature a system where you can buy credits to expedite the purchase of single mission boosts and new weapons. The other versions, including on mobile, do not feature any such system, instead relying on XP for upgrades that you can earn reliably by playing the game.

Can I play with a friend?
It depends on the version of the game that you have. The mobile and PC versions of Halo: Spartan Assault are single player only. If you get the game on either Xbox platform, there is an exclusive co-op mode that introduces an endless horde of Flood enemies for you to mow down.

Does my campaign progress sync across versions?
Again, it does depend on where you’re playing the game. If you’re within Microsoft’s ecosystem (Windows 8, Windows Phone, or Xbox), then you can play on multiple devices without a problem. If you buy the game on Steam or iOS, that’s a separate version that you’d have to start over on.

How can I earn extra XP?
In addition to completing missions, the game also has a weekly challenge feature that allows you to grind certain enemies and encounters for a bigger XP boost. You can also gain more XP by turning on Skulls, which makes the game more difficult in exchange for an XP multiplier.

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