Exclusive first look at N.O.V.A. 3 for Xbox Windows Phone 8

Yesterday’s E3 2013 press conferences gave us lots of juicy console news and game announcements, but our gaming readers who don’t play consoles didn’t get much to chew on from the conferences. Hey, we haven’t forgotten you guys (or me since I love gaming on my phone). We squeezed in a few meetings yesterday and came away with…

Exclusive first footage of N.O.V.A. 3 in action! That’s right, we played Gameloft’s sci-fi First-Person Shooter for Windows Phone 8 and lived to tell the tale. I actually had a little more time to play than usual, and so we can show you lots of highlights of the first level. Head past the break for the video and more details!

Mobile combat evolved

N.O.V.A. 3 stars an officer in the Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (not the most meaningful acronym) named Kal Warden. Kal is the hero of previous games in the series and therefor many of the soldiers he meets will be impressed by his exploits. Kal’s mission in the new game is to recover an alien artifact that could make the earth livable once more while also battling the equally alien but evil Volterite army.

The game starts with our hero’s arrival in the ruins of San Francisco. After learning the ropes of shooting and using his Force-like powers, Val quickly joins a squad of soldiers already battling the Volterite forces. You’ll experience fully voiced cut-scenes throughout each level, giving the game a very cinematic feel.

Since this title has less of a real world focus than Modern Combat 4, it allows the player to jump about like a rabbit. Buttons for jumping, zooming, sprinting, and using Kal’s powers can be found near the virtual stick and primary fire buttons at the bottom of the screen. I really like the virtual stick; it shows up wherever you place your left thumb and relocates when you put your thumb in a different position.

N.O.V.A. 3 generally controls just like Modern Combat 4, so if you can handle those controls, you’ll do fine with this game. I found them easy to jump right into, but some players will require more of an adjustment period. With a game this beautiful and fully featured, the learning curve is worth braving.


Want to know N.O.V.A. 3’s Achievements early? Well, here you go.

  • Lightning Fast: Complete Level 2 in under 20 minutes
  • Flawless: Complete a campaign level without ever retrying
  • Close Call: Have your hP reduced to less than 10%, avoid dying and recover to full HP
  • Lone Ranger: Complete a level using only the pistol
  • Versatile Warrior: Kill at least one enemy with each weapon in the game in the same level
  • Headhunter: Get 10 headshots with the sniper rifle in a Campaign level
  • Blind Shot: Kill one enemy with the sniper rifle without using the aim
  • Bullseye: Finish a level with accuracy higher than 60%
  • Collector: Buy all the upgrades available in the Campaign mode
  • Humanity Saved: Complete the Campaign mode


  • Full Armory: Wield 7 weapons in a match
  • Stress Relief: Kill a sniper with a melee weapon
  • Against All Odds: Kill 5 enemies in a match while under 25% energy
  • Fly Swatter: Kill a flying enemy
  • Star Player: Be the best player during a match
  • Slick: Capture 3 flags without dying during a match
  • Make it count: Kill an enemy with your last bullet
  • Five in a row: Win 5 consecutive matches
  • Hijacked: Hijack a vehicle after killing its driver
  • Ghost in the Machine: Kill 10 enemies with the Mech

The fight starts soon

We can’t say when N.O.V.A. 3 will launch, but it will have been worth the wait. It features one of the most robust single-player campaigns around AND local Wi-Fi and online multiplayer, so FPS fans won’t want to miss it.

N.O.V.A. 3 requires a Windows Phone 8 handset with 1 GB of RAM and plenty of storage space. It will cost $6.99.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • -.- 1 gb ram... Again
  • It's totally normal... If you want good quality, you need a minimum of RAM...
  • It works fine on my iphone 4. It has like 256 MB ram. 
  • +1
  • This. do you buy a cheap, low-end Computer with 2GB of ram and expect it to run Crysis 3 on very high? NO! so you can't buy a cheap, low-end Phone with 0.5 GB of ram and expect it to run NOVA 3.
    it's that simple. upgrade your devices losers
  • Do you mean people owning phones with 512MB RAM are loosers?
    Not everyone can afford a high-end device. Think about that.
  • I have a "high end" lumia 820 and can't install any of the new games because i have "other storage" issues.
    Unless Microsoft fix this in the next update or give us the possibility to install things in the microSD i'm sooo jumping ships.
    It's simple, devs and microsoft need to get their sh## together
  • Is that really a surprise?
  • No its not a suprise for nova 3, but games like temple run can absolutely be optimized for 512mb ram
  • Then go optimize it. Developers are wanting to make sales of games and phone manufactures want you to get current phones, not hold on to old ones.. This is their way of saying "get a newer phone"..
  • I dont agree here:
    a) temple run is silly game that should run on any silly device
    b) game manufacturers are not keen on spending a lot of time optimizing for a new platform
  • For Temple Run the problem is Unity3D that is in BETA and need lot of optimization
  • The 512 ram phones are not old, just end!
  • 512 phones are low end and you end up with what you paid for! So stop complaining.....
  • shut your mouth. Lumia 620, 520, 720.yeah, such an old devices. 
  • Not old, low end.
  • Rovio and other developers still optimize their apps for all versions of Windows Phones. I really don't see people all of a sudden tossing their WP7 devices just so that they can play this game.
  • it's about a million times easier to optimize a dinky physics puzzle game than a fully 3D, graphically intensive game.
  • If I had a $1 for everytime someone complained about a high res phone game requiring a GB of RAM...........
  • I own a L620, i cant play this, BUT THIS IS PERFECTLY FINE!! complaining about temple run is OK but this freaking awesome game on a 512mb device?  go check your android friends before you complain about this !!
  • Good thing my Lumia 928 has none of these issues :)
  • Another Gameloft game. Another endless argument about 512 MB Vs 1GB RAM. Life goes on in the world of windows phone :)
  • Good
  • Going to get this game after I finish modern combat 4. Can't waste space.
  • Yea same here, not enough space on windows phone to store all these games. Too bad.
  • I have completed Modern Combat twice, but not sure I want to remove it...hmmm...
  • Buy a 16GB or 32GB model with MicroSD card slot ;) I have much more space than what I want on my Ativ S (16GB + 64GB). -> I only use 7GB of internal memory :P
  • Can you store games or apps on there? if not - i pretty useless to have a sd card just for pictures
  • What can you put on the sd card? Music? I have the 8x.
  • Music,photos and videos. Which means that it is a waste.. I have a 16gb sd card which i'm only using 1gb. Woohoo..
  • I ran out of space really quickly with my 8X (16gigs). Having 32gigs on my 928 is such a nice improvement.
  • The "other" storage takes up around 4 gigs on my 8X. That's a quarter of my memory gone.
  • Use the other-storage cleaner? :)
  • how about solving the issue. btw i still have 3 gb other storage after "tmp files deleted"
  • Hurry up
  • Didn't like it that much actually.. This controlling mode is difficult in any game. Especially on a small screens.
  • Hope you got a hands on with Halo SA as well.
  • Controller support?
  • Glad to see good games coming to Windows Phone 8 but I already beat it. I have no desire to play it again, if I did I already have it on my tablet. So sorry to say I will not be purchasing. We need to get new and fresh games as well.
  • Way too expensive.
  • Not for the game's level of production values. It contains everything you'd find in a $60 retail release.
  • I'd say more like a $20 XBLA game
  • not enough space i guess on my L820. I wish MS would add an "install apps and games on th SD card" support.
  • This would be awesome on a Surface with an Xbox One controller
  • In WP 7.x we had the problem of porting apps/games.Now on WP8.x we have enormous problems of optimizing the apps/games.MS should push devs to optimize the apps.It's ridiculous seeing games to run @ 256mb ram on other OS and on WP demand a minimum of 1GB.
  • Yes this is pathetic.
  • Yes, even when the PS Vita(Yes it's a game console, but its the graphical benchmark for handhelds) has 512MB.
  • The "graphical benchmark" for handhelds is currently the iPad 4, having the fastest GPU. It also has 1 GB ram
  • It's pushing over 2 million pixels and still has iPad 2 quality graphics. The GPUs share architecture, but the Vits is slated to play console quality games. I'd like to see the iPad 4 play a console game a full resolution with no screen tearing and AA.
  • And technically the iPad is more than a "handheld" as I'm using one to type this. It's actually more than a handful.
  • It's MS's own fault. Not the Devs
  • Halo meets Crysis
  • Great graphics when is this available cant go wrong with shooters
  • What's this week's release?
  • Why Windows Phone Users dont got access to the gameloft account? Why we dont play multiplayer with other OS players?
  • Because we don't need it, we have something better called Xbox Live which does the same thing.
  • The game looks great. I'll need to cop.
  • Hey Paul did you ask about updates to there other games to fix acheivos or framerste issues?
  • I always ask but nobody ever knows. So I would not be too hopeful about the existing games getting fixed.
  • Just a heads up Paul, it looks like NOVA 3 is already live in the store (:
    Here's the link... http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/n-o-v-a-3/09441aad-8e27-4a77-9ad4-c8a55bee21a7
  • Interesting! Doesn't look like people can buy and play it yet though. Publisher info is wrong too.
  • The video shows a HTC 8x, odd. Let's just hope it isn't a Nokia Exclusive.
  • using the front camera for eye tracking to aim and look around is the only way i would consider playing this
  • So how murdered was your battery after playing a gameloft title for more than 8 seconds?
  • It probably lost 50% percent.
  • I don't get what Gameloft's problem with this is. I wish they'd fix it though, because I want thier titles but it seems like merely having it installed on my phone is enough to kill my battery.
  • I'd like some mod/admin/writer to shine some light on this fact because Devs are copping a lot of flak for releasing unoptimised games for WP8. I'd like to lay the blame squarely on Microsoft's shoulders. The current Xbox has 512 MB of RAM and runs the latest releases whereas WP8 devices with anything less than 1 GB of RAM cannot run any of the top of the line games because MS has this restriction where even on 1 GB RAM devices, no single app (game) can actually utilise more than 380 MB of RAM. THAT, there is the problem. So when a Dev says 1 GB needed, he/she actually has only 380 MB of RAM to work with. This applies only to 1 GB devices and is lesser for 512 MB devices and so now you can see why it takes so long to "optimise" or port to the bulk of the WP userbase. You don't have to take my word for it, check out the developers documentation or Google it. TL;DR: 1 GB is actually = 384 MB RAM limit for games on WP8. Blame Microsoft
  • http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsphone/develop/jj681682(v=vs.105).aspx There. 1 GB phones give a game about 380 MB to work with. But that is like the absolute maximum you can have. For 512 MB phone, you usually have less than 150-180 MB to work with.  
  • Looks great but the controls are awful unlike Mass Effect Infiltrator.
  • Yep its free for India region but I can't download it yet, I'm not on WiFi. Darn it.
  • laggy on my 920 :(
  • Thanks for beta testing it for us non-Nokia Windows Phone owners, it's appreciated!!!
  • The video was painful to watch, not because Paul was bad. First person shooters rarely translate well on touchscreen and it shows.
  • Would it be impossible for a FPS to reconfigure the "top" buttons (i.e. Volume and Camera on my Lumia) to serve as triggers, so that we could use our thumbs for only for the "move" and "look" virtual sticks? You'd have to set audio level via a menu screen instead of course, but wouldn't this be so much better?
    The gameplay here looks very clunky when the player has to relinquish aim in order to fire a shot.
  • Getting sick of my 8X being treated as a second-class citizen - the game is out and it's yet another Lumia exclusive. Very disheartening. If Nokia plan to force every other manufacturer out of the WP hardware race, they will most likely find their struggle to gain traction will be [i]harder[/i] if no other OEMs are trying to push it. They need to understand that too many exclusives is a bad thing.
    Not to mention there wasn't even the slightest hint that this was going to be a Lumia exclusive.
    I do notice that on the Web Store page, the app's capabilities include both WXGA (Lumia 920 resolution) and HD720P (8X resolution). Usually Lumia exclusives only list WXGA capability, so I am vaguely hopeful that this game will come to other non-Lumia devices before the end of time. If we have to wait out the ridiculous exclusitivity period, then 1) the game will be obsolete, or 2) WP8.x will be obsolete and the game may not even run on newer versions...
  • It's definitely not a Nokia exclusive. Just have patience and wait for the real link to show up or the store error to get corrected.
  • I assume that's confirmed by both Nokia and Microsoft?
  • I feel exactly the same way
  • Nova 3 disponible en región india.
    saludos desde España.
    un seguidor.
  • That's it!!! only for Nokia!! I'm sick of this bs! I'm going to get me an IPhone now! :)
  • Look at it this way, Nokia users who downloaded now are beta testing it for the rest of us!!!!
  • Get Nova for free by following these steps... Works for me in the UK and shows up in my purchase list from windowsphone.com Go to settings Go to language and region Change region to India Press restart Visit store, search for N.O.V.A. Wait for the download to finish Change region back
  • That looks really clunky. I'm not even sure that I will say something like that is playable.