Mars: War Logs ReviewPC
key review info
- Game: Mars: War Logs
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Mars: War Logs aims to be something that gaming rarely sees these days: a solid mid-budget video game with good mechanics, an interesting story and graphics good enough to keep players engaged in the long term.
The title largely succeeds it its attempt and the development team at Spiders and publisher Focus Home Interactive deserve some praise for this Xbox 360 (later during the year) and PC experience.
Players will become Roy, a combatant in the Guild wars on Mars who got captured and now seeks to escape prison and all authority, but only succeeds in getting embroidered in a larger scenario that involves Technomancers, the political leaders of the world that can also channel some powerful abilities.
The world of the game is interesting and there are hints at a larger backstory, but the writing really lets the experience down as early as the opening cutscene.
Mars: War Logs is built around a mix of action and role-playing mechanics, with the player in charge of one character that explores environments, battles enemies, loots quests and bodies and solves quests, sometimes with companions by his side.
The entire experience is played from a third-person perspective and the game also has a progression system that focuses on both skills and general character upgrades.
Crafting is also part of the game’s mechanics, with a variety of materials that allow the player to upgrade his armor and his weapons in various ways.
There’s a lot of combat in Mars: War Logs, most of it based on hand-to-hand moves, against both human and monster enemies, both in large groups and one-on-one.
This is the most interesting aspect of the game and the most divisive one.
The system is similar to that seen in The Witcher series, with rhythm an important element and with parrying a necessity for anyone who’s trying to stay alive.
Players also have access to shield breaker moves, a number of items that can be used during fights to restore health or damage enemies.
My favorite weapon is the nail gun, impressive in terms of damage dealt and fun to use, although I would have preferred to simply make it the primary weapon sometimes.
This is a solid system, but it’s also very challenging and, at times, enemies can seem unfair.
Martian monsters tend to have a ton of health while the main character is very vulnerable, especially in the middle of the game, which means evasion and regeneration potions are required in order to progress through some levels.
Mars: War Logs encourages players to use their special items, from traps to bombs, rather than hoard them and I have often found that I could only make progress when I got access to some more toys to play around with.
But the biggest problem is that there are some fights where the number of enemies is so high that’s virtually impossible to take them out without resorting to a repetitive pattern of attack, dodges and running away.
This process can quickly become tiresome and detracts from the overall value of the combat system, as does the fact that enemies respawn endlessly in some game areas.
The Spiders team has managed to create an experience that’s solid in terms of graphics, but it fails to come anywhere near the leader in the field.
There are times when I wished that the team had more resources in order to improve the various textures, make characters more detailed and breathe more life into the Martian scenery that the game explored.
The audio design is also somewhat limited, with some of the voice actors unsuited to their roles and some weird phrasing at times, but the ambient elements, music and sounds are well implemented and manage to infuse the entire story with a sense of place.
Mars: War Logs is a game that costs 20 dollars or Euro and at that price point, it might be a good purchase for players who enjoy its combat and can accept a lower quality level than that seen in AAA releases.