343 Industries and Vanguard Games' Halo: Spartan Assault port for Xbox 360 and Xbox One offers players a frantic co-op mode that encourages teamwork and strategy.
In a recent hands-on demo with the Xbox One version of the game , Polygon played the new co-op mode — which was not available in the original Windows 8 version — alongside the campaign mode, and the two experiences were very different. The co-op mode is characterized by floods of weaker enemies that are punctuated by bigger, more powerful enemies that can take more damage. The arena was chaotic, and we had to strategize with our co-op partner to stay alive and avoid being overwhelmed.
The single-player campaign mode was a much more mellow experience in comparison. With the absence of Flood, we mostly dealt with the much smarter and more powerful Convenant. This required us to take a more considered approach and involved shooting, finding cover and maneuvering ourselves around the battlefield to defend mission objectives.
"If you look at the kind of shooter this is, bringing back the Flood and adding an extra player is a very different experience to the main campaign, but one that's very complementary," lead designer at 343 Industries Mike Ellis told Polygon. "The idea being we wanted to emphasize people sticking together and co-operating and complementing each other's attributes. So if one person is using a short-range weapon against the Flood, I would use the long-range weapon to take care of the big guys. We can stand on the turrets together in order to maximize our fire power.
"Just having the Flood themselves made for a very different type of gameplay. It's more about holding the tide and not being overwhelmed, versus fighting the Covenant in the single-player campaign, who are a more considered enemy who will take cover to try to preserve themselves in a way the Flood won't."
The top-down shooter was released earlier this year exclusively for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 mobile and tablet devices. It will launch on Xbox One as a downloadable title on Dec. 24, and on Xbox 360 in January 2014 for $14.99. Those who purchased the game for their Windows 8 devices prior to Dec. 15 will be able to pick up the Xbox One version of the game at the discounted price of $4.99.