The Average Gamer

Mars War Logs Hands-On Preview

mars_war_logs_logoMars War Logs is a cyberpunkish RPG being made for XBLA, PC and PSN by Spiders Games. Set on Mars, the planet was settled by humans but shaken up by a cataclysm that’s left the potable water supply controlled by two main factions, Aurora and Abundance.

You’ll play Roy Temperance, a technomancer of the Aurora guild with the ability to wield magical powers and jury-rig weapons. Starting in the sand-showers of Abundance’s prison, you meet a young man named Innocence (apparently naming people after virtues is a thing with Aurorans) and proceed to break out of jail.

Here’s a trailer of cut-scene moments featuring Roy and some chick I didn’t meet in my preview.

I played through the opening segments of the game and, for a downloadable, it has a pretty good range of RPG elements. Innocence and your other companions will react to your dialogue choices – be a smart-arse to Innocence and he’ll be less willing to jump into a fight to protect you. Be a supportive mentor and he’ll help you out. As long as other companions react differently to cheeky retorts vs polite responses, this could be fun.

You’ve plenty of options in a fight even if melee combat seemed a little slow-paced when I played. You’ll have to block, attack, counter, break blocks and so on. I wouldn’t compare it to a Rocksteady game but it’s definitely more than a button masher. Throw in the ability to stun people with a technomancer shock, or apply that shock to your weapon and things get more interesting.

The build I played was clunky, with attacks failing to connect for no reason. I’ve been told that this will be addressed by the developers (as you always are at previews). Guns feature in the game as well but weren’t available in my brief playthrough from the initial jailbreak.

Stealth is pretty rudimentary, so I wouldn’t recommend going for any satisfaction there. Sneaking purely based on your skill and the guards’ cone of vision, so it’s entirely possible to “sneak” across an brightly-lit courtyard patrolled by guards because none of them have any peripheral vision. It is nice to have the option to nobble troublesome guards on the head but that’s about all you can say for the stealth in Mars War Logs. There’s an option to hide bodies as well, since guards will be alerted by the remains of their colleagues. Just go up to a body, press the “hide body” option and it vanishes after a few seconds. Another useful tool with no skill required.

The world itself stays on the super-serious side, at least from what I played. With the right dialogue options you can skip battles but expect to see a lot of “What are you doing on my patch, boyo” style of gritty dialogue in the opening chapters. There’s an in-depth crafting system and a host of technomancer skills that could prove fun.

Scheduled for release this Spring, Mars War Logs will cost €14.99 or equivalent UK price (about a tenner, right?) have 15-20 hours of content that could very well scratch an RPG itch. Watch out for it on PC, XBLA and PSN soon.

Mars War Logs - Innocence Mars War Logs - Mary