What is it about the Red Planet? It’s been a favorite setting for sci-fi games and movies for a while now and, as the recent colonization rumors suggest, the fascination remains. So, until we are actually able to go there and set up a brave new world, let’s take a look at the latest video game exploring our red neighbor – Mars War Logs, developed by Spiders.
A cyberpunk, third-person action RPG, Mars War Logs is set in a distant future where humankind not only has colonized Mars, but has already ruined it with ongoing war and hostilities. It’s a promising, ambitious plot, as any post-apocalyptic storyline would be, especially one set in space or another planet. Unfortunately, Mars War Logs is unable to fulfill its potential and slips into a predictable and ultimately unrewarding plot.
The game is actually a resistance story that starts with a young soldier named Innocence, who is about to get raped in a war camp somewhere on Mars. Innocence, who turns out to be the narrator, is saved by the game’s mysterious protagonist, Roy Temperance, and the two set out on a plan to escape the prisoner camp. Which they do, but the escape is so simple that it leaves the player underwhelmed.
The ambitious narrative blends together several ideas that show promise: relics buried underground, a threatening villain who is a Technomancer and would actually be an impressive character were it not for the fact he’s called Sean. But none of these ideas are taken to a conclusion, and this is where Mars War Logs’ biggest problem lies.
What partly redeems the game, however, is that the graphics, gameplay, combat and character upgrade systems are great and well suited for the storyline and setting. This is not a game where you get your hands on some cool weapon that doesn’t seem to run out of ammo and shoot your way through countless monsters and foes. No, this is a game where every weapon or piece of armor – which are generally pipes or pieces of metal, is hard earned.
In conclusion, this is indeed an RPG on a budget. It’s an ambitious game that has everything it takes to be special and memorable. But it seems to drown on its own ambitions and the result, while not entirely bad, is utterly unremarkable.
[Image via Spiders games]