first_imgTranslating Halo from the console to a handheld sounds impossible. Even if you could figure out how to create a similar look-and-feel, and even if you could make holding a phone or a tablet as comfortable as holding a controller, you’ve still only got half of the equation. You need to have a story that ties into the existing franchise, and enough in-game options that the player wants to own their character.When you look at a game like Mirror’s Edge for iOS, you see a game that meant well. Hardcore fans will appreciate the extension of the title, but in no way is it anywhere near as great as the original. 343 Studios delivered the Halo experience to mobile hardware in a unique and compelling way, while breaking the game up just enough to make it possible to play when you are out and about.UNSC Commander Sarah Palmer is the main character in Halo: Spartan Assault. While playing, you are learning about the missions your commanding officer completed right after she transitioned from ODST to Spartan-IV armor. If you’re familiar with Halo 4, these are essentially Palmer’s Spartan Ops.The game is set between Halo 3 and Halo 4, with 25 mission broken out into five sections. The missions, including story cinematics that explain in greater detail what is happening in each part of the story, feel very much like Spartan Ops.In our preview of Halo: Spartan Assault, I noted that the on-screen game controls feel as close to an Xbox controller as you could possibly get with digital joysticks. Because the joysticks on the screen are not in a fixed position, you can place your thumbs anywhere on the left or right and get the desired movement effects as you slide across the screen. This becomes useful in jungle situations, with enemies hiding behind trees or running at you with a pair of plasma grenades. In a Wraith or a Ghost, this means the right stick will also control the nose of the vehicle, since that’s where the weapons are located. In a Scorpion, it means the right stick controls the top part of the tank exclusively.Weapon loadouts are preselected at the beginning of each round, but you can choose to purchase new weapons and armor upgrades. The experience credits you earn from gameplay can be used to purchase certain items, but everything else requires game currency. Using an In App Purchase, you can trade in real money for temporary use of weapon upgrades. You get to use your purchased item during the mission you have signed up for, but lose it as soon as the mission is completed or you move on to another mission. IAP starts at $2.99 for 500 credits and moves all the way up to $39.99 for 10,000 credits. In no way do you need weapon upgrades to complete a level, but in some cases it will certainly help out your score.If you’re familiar with the weapons in the Halo franchise, you’ll notice a bit of a balance issue with some of the guns in their current state. The UNSC pistol will give you flashbacks of the original game as you one hit kill every Grunt that isn’t armored. At the same time, the shotgun’s maximum effective range is rarely far enough to make the weapon worth it, and there doesn’t seem to be a charged shot option for the plasma pistol which is also noticeably overpowered. One mission in particular saw the return of dual-wielding SMGs, though it is only the pre-configured weapon option in a couple of levels. Most of the time you rely on your trusty Battle Rifle, and whatever Covenant tech you pick up along the way.Rather than roll the game out to their entire audience simultaneously, Halo: Spartan Assault will first be available on Windows Phone. If you decide to play on Windows Phone first, and then move up to your Windows 8 tablet later on, everything you do in the game is synced. When you log in, you’ll pick up right where you left off on the phone. Additionally, all 40 achievements and the experience points earned in this game will be applied to your Spartan Career. This will be useful for anyone who participates in Halo Waypoint or the Halo 4 Spartan Career features.Halo: Spartan Assault isn’t just a good game, it’s a milestone in the evolution of mobile gaming. It’s a testament to the result of constant growth in an industry that was previously dominated by Sony and Nintendo, and has now merged in this really strange way with smartphones and tablets. As a member of the Halo franchise, as an example of high quality gaming on a mobile device, and as proof that Windows Phone hardware is more than capable of delivering a quality entertainment experience, this game is a terrific creation. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY GhostGhostBuy CreditsArmoryScorpion Battle TankTurretSimulator Startlast_img

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