Halo Spartan Assault preview is everything you hoped it would be

first_imgMicrosoft is hoping that their soon to be released exclusive for Windows Phone and Windows 8 will be the final straw that causes some users to consider switching platforms. While it’s too early to say whether or not Spartan lightning has struck twice, the early preview of the game we were treated to recently is nothing short of impressive.343 Studios took on one of the biggest modern gaming franchises and sought to make new games that resonate even deeper with the core of Halo fandom. With over 11 years of heritage, including a library of books filled with extra backstory and character development, they had a lot to go from. Halo 4 upset a chunk of the core audience with the visual changes and the return to a world where Master Chief couldn’t dual wield, but from a story perspective the game was absolutely amazing.What made this experience even more impressive was the extra gameplay scenarios, where you play a Spartan being guided through missions by UNSC Commander Sarah Palmer. Unlike the Spartan Ops of Halo 4, you’ll actually be playing as Palmer for this mobile version of Halo.The big question is how well does the Halo we all know and love translate onto smartphones and tablets? Halo: Spartan Assault is a top down shooter that takes some visual cues from Halo Wars, where you’re at just enough of an angle to make everything seem just a bit more 3D. Controlling your character happens with a pair of virtual joysticks as well as a host of buttons that live around the edge of your device. You use the left thumb for moving, and the right thumb for shooting in whatever direction you point in. The button layout for the game depends on the kind of device you are playing on.If you’re on a tablet, you have separate buttons for weapon switching, ammo readout, and two different grenade throw keys. On a phone, however, your ammo readout and weapon switcher are one and the same. Both versions of the UI feature a generic action button, which does everything from climbing into vehicles to setting explosive charges in missions.Most of the weapons in this game are auto targeting. If you’re using a battle rifle, for example, if you hold down fire in any one direction it will shift from target to target as long as there are more enemies in that direction. Pistols and sniper rifles will aim for the nearest target when you flick your thumb in their direction. Spartan Lasers and machine gun turrets will not auto target, since they spray a line of hurt in the direction you are pointing your weapon. Grenades are the exception, as they will only auto target when your body if facing the enemy. It is not enough to simply be shooting in that direction with grenades.Vehicle control is an interesting aspect of Halo: Spartan Assault. In the preview, the Wraith was the only vehicle available. For this vehicle, you need to use your left stick to go forward and back and strafe while you use your other stick to control the nose of the vehicle. The right stick will also fire the plasma turret on the side of the vehicle. If you want to fire the plasma cannon, you flick the right stick and a ball of plasma will be fired in whatever direction the Wraith is pointed. This steering method takes some getting used to, and it will be interesting to see how this translates for other vehicles.It’s clear, just from the preview, that there’s quite a bit to do in Halo: Spartan Assault. The game itself is broken out into multiple chapters, with missions inside those chapters that play into a common story arc. This should be familiar to anyone who played the Spartan Ops section in Halo 4.In a brief conversation with Halo franchise manager Kevin Grace of 343 Studios , it was made clear that the storyline for this game would continue telling Sarah Palmer’s story while offering some insight into the Spartan 4 program from the books. Nothing about the preview missions gave any insight into the actual story for the game, in fact it wasn’t even clear that we were playing as Palmer until told that was who the main Spartan was in this game.While there were no Windows 8 devices at the preview event other than the Surface RT, members of the Surface team were on hand to confirm that the game would run the same on all hardware types. Despite being considered a slow and often laggy tablet, Halo: Spartan Assault played flawlessly on the Surface RT demo units on hand at the event. Halo: Spartan Assault will first be made available on Windows Phones later this month, starting with the Lumia 928 on Verizon Wireless. Shortly after this launch, the game will come to the Windows Store and be available on everything from the Surface RT on up. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY Halo: Spartan Assault artworkHalo: Spartan Assault artworkHalo: Spartan Assault hashtagUNSC LogoHalo: Spartan Assault Double KillWindows Phone Halo: Spartan Assaultlast_img

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