Shortly after arriving at the camp our young soldier is introduced to Roy Temperance, a mysterious stranger who steps in to help when some of the other inmates don’t take too kindly to their new neighbour. What follows is a cyberpunk-themed road movie as Roy, soon becoming the game’s protagonist, sees this new friendship as a chance to escape and the two ragtag adventures set out to face fearsome opponents and some of the most nightmarish creatures of Mars.
The story, while interesting, was initially difficult to follow due to a lot of information being thrown at you early on. Names were being mentioned but nothing was being explained and trying to understand who was working for which warring corporation was slightly confusing. They keep mentioning Technomancers, but who are they and what is their role? And an important one, what is Roy’s goal from all this? With all this information being pushed out it can either drive the player away with sheer confusion or if you’re like me, it will draw you in as you want to know what the answers are.
I really liked the rough and broken art style and the overall presentation in Mars: War Logs. As you continue to play further on into the game you start to see the remnants of the catastrophe and the war that has taken place, with the broken shanty towns and makeshift slums darted around, every environment feels unsafe. Not forgetting to mention the mutants, as they have been out casted by humans there are groups loitering around the streets adding to the odd and tense atmosphere.
When it comes to an RPG today you know there will be a lot of spoken dialogue, in and also out of cut scenes there are people talking the majority of the time. The main character especially needs to have a voice that will be easy to listen to and give feeling to situations. Roy in this case has none; he is monotone with everything that is said and in every situation. When a big fight was about to occur he sounded the same as if he was back at the merchant trying to buy a weapon. Mars: War Logs has a lot of interactions with NPC’s and having multiple dialogue options when chatting to them is a great thing to include as you feel like you are making your own choices as well as choosing how the world around you will shape.
Sadly again Mars: War Logs doesn’t give you that feeling. It seems that the choices are there so you can talk your way out of a fight or get into one quicker if you don’t fancy hearing some of the story. It got to a point that on some side missions, Roy’s voice was bland and the choices I would make felt like it had no consequence I just ended up choosing anything and skipping the chat so I could continue on.
Apart from chatting I had a good overall time with the gameplay. Everything is explained well, to a point that on the main menu there is a guide tab that will take you through nearly everything you can do in game. If you have never played a RPG like this before you could pick Mars: War Logs up and get a grip of everything you need to do, exactly what you would want.
Each time you level up you’re give skill points and these can be put into three skill pools. These are combat, Technomancy and Renegade, where you can unlock new powers and skills or upgrade your health or damage dealt. Chose your skill points wisely though because it will definitely play into how you fight. The fighting is free flowing with a (dare I say it) Mass Effect feel to it, despite it being heavily on melee combat. You can go into the ‘Tactics Menu’ to slow down the fight and chose your next move, be it a skill to attack or to heal or even tell your companion what he should be doing in the fight.
Crafting items in this game is again simple but extremely rewarding. Using the items you salvage from the world and the characters you have defeated you can create upgrades for the weapons and armour that you may acquire. With some RPG games upgrading an item will just add some attributes to it and that’s it. But it’s good to see a game that changes a items look when it’s upgraded.
Heading into Mars: War Logs it’s apparent that this game was clearly made on a budget but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth playing and really credit has to be given to Spiders Studios for doing what they have done and being so ambitious. If you’re a Science Fiction RPG fan then you’ll be sure to like Mars: War Logs. Triple A title or not, it’s the games like these that offer an enjoyable experience that people shouldn’t miss out on.