A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know Halo: Spartan Assault is a top-down third-person shooter focused on gunfights. The action is presented from a raised perspective, so little detail is seen, but the combat is pretty much constant, and colorful spurts of blood appear when characters get shot. There is no puzzle solving and not even much in the way of strategy formulation. Also, be aware that this game could serve as an entry point for the Halo series' much more popular and violent first-person shooter games (they're M-rated versus this one's Teen rating) and that it supports and encourages microtransactions.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Originally designed for Windows mobile devices and PCs, HALO: SPARTAN ASSAULT is a top-down third-person shooter spin-off of the more popular first-person shooter Halo games. It tells the story of a pair of soldiers fighting a rogue faction of Covenant aliens shortly after the events of Halo 3. The action is similar to that of other Halo games but only insofar as players are running around shooting aliens. The raised perspective and twin-stick controls make for a much simpler adventure. One stick is used to move, and the other is used to aim. All you need to do is make sure you kill all your enemies before you run out of bullets. It was originally a single-player-only game, but the Xbox One and Xbox 360 editions come with a bonus mode that allows players to hook up with a friend online and fight through a handful of co-op missions against a different enemy.
Is it any good?
Likely the most middling of any game yet released under the Halo banner, Halo: Spartan Assault never manages to fly like other games in the series. The combat, while competent and at times even fun in a rudimentary way, is extremely repetitive with little variety in tactics or weapons. It's generally only a matter of exploring maps on foot or in vehicles and shooting until no Covenant are left alive. Plus, the story is presented mostly through stills and long strings of text, making for a decidedly uncinematic experience. Add in the occasional prompt to spend real money on some pretty pointless virtual goods, and you may end up more annoyed than entertained. The saving grace is that the console editions offer a short series of online co-op missions that liven things up considerably. Pity that local co-op play isn't supported.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. How do you feel after seeing violent action in a game or movie? If you feel different, does this feeling influence how you act and what you want to do?
Families also can discuss the notion of microtransactions within games. Are you ever compelled to spend money within a game? Do you feel like you get good value when buying virtual goods?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Skills: Self-Direction: achieving goals
Communication: conveying messages effectively
- Price: $14.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: December 12, 2013
- Genre: Third-person shooter
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Blood
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.