Tl'dr version: A fun and responsive top down shooter. Bizarre design choices and a weak story does not stop me whole heartedly recommending this game to anyone who likes this kind of thing. If you're a Halo fan you probably already own this. I would however advise buying this on a sale if you can help it as the games replay value is limited.
Now if MS would hurry up and get Halo over here on pc, that would be nice.
Halo Spartan Assault is a isometric top down shooter brought to you by 'Vanguard games', who holds reasonable pedigree, as they made the well received title 'Gattling Gears', another top down shooter.
Originally made for Windows Phone, then ported over to Windows 8, then to both generations of Xbox consoles, then finally to Steam, which means it will run on anything. Basically you'll find this title on virtually any reasonbly current gen platform you can find.
From the very start, you can tell this is a ported mobile game almost instantly. Giant menu buttons and a small array of graphical and audio options are not unexpected for these types of game. However it doesn't make it any more excusable. This stuff does not belong on pc and, where I can forgive a smaller company the lack of attention to detail, this is f***ing Microsoft and Co!
Controlling your Spartan is easy. WASD keys will move your guy around, while aim and shoot with the mouse. Pretty simple. Everything here feels tight and responsive. Quite an achievement for a top down shooter, where many a time you'll find yourself struggling to control a slow and unresponsive character.
Gameplay wise, this is about as good as you're going to get out of this genre. Good stuff!
Graphically, the game is very pleasing to the eye. It's by no means going to win awards. But it definitely has it's own style and charm to it. Everything here feels like Halo. Plasma grenades explode with a satisfying buzz Halo players will no and love, while the chatter of different weapons all feel hefty and interesting. One of Halo's greatest strengths is its weapons variety and while it does taught some of the best weapons from the game, I was slightly disappointed they didn't include more weapon variety.
Also, due no doubt to this being originally a Mobile game, some weapons are extraordinarily overpowered (The automatic rocket launcher for example) This completely breaks the tactical nature of the game, and really only limits you to a few weapons which you'll either start with at the beginning of the level, or by unlocking them XP points. None of the guns enemies drop are worth anything. And they'll more than likely get you killed if you attempt to use them on harder difficulties.
This brings me to another strange design choice the game has. Instead of paying for an advantage, on console and desktop versions of the game, you can simply buy OP weapons with XP points you earn by repeating levels. This to me, feels sloppy and hurried. Maybe I was expecting too much, but it would have been cool to have some kind of progression system to unlock more guns. It would have lengthened the games longevity somewhat also.
The story here is about as by the numbers as you'll get. Rookie Spartan Sara Palmer gets into trouble with the covenant. Davis, and her fight back and win the day. Pretty standard stuff. This is by no means going to make you fall in love with the Halo lore if this is your first outing of Halo. Which it very well might be,given MS's track record of releasing Halo games on PC.
One massive, and rather nonsensical issue I have with the game however is that MS has actually made the decision to strip the CO-OP mode out of the game entirely. Unless you own the game on Xbox One, (which I do) you wont be able to play with friends. Aside from the insanely short sighted design decision to rip pieces out of the game so the Next gen port would look more favorable, I can't think of single reason to do this. This severely hurt the games fun factor as two players really makes this one of the best top down shooters out there.