In some ways, the French studio Spiders accomplished a miracle with Mars: War Logs. They produced a full-fledged RPG game with an appealing tale, an exciting environment, and a comprehensive battle system based on three opponent models, a few additional textures, heartbreaking character voices, and zero marketing costs. War Logs is a title you should seek out right now since no one will remember it in six months.
A competent production, devoid of faults, for a somewhat reduced price, but with a complete range of options, not trying to be a timeless success – this appears to be the independent Spiders studio’s mode of operation. The earlier title, Of Orcs and Men, was the same. Already at that point, the emphasis was on intriguing mechanics and collaboration between two characters in an intriguing environment, which was well received. In the case of Mars: War Logs, the developers took a somewhat more well-trodden road, willingly emulating Mass Effect or the Witcher 2 solutions. The fight was inspired by a Polish video game. CD Projekt Red has created a challenging and demanding system that will keep players guessing until the finish. The same may be said about French manufacture. Even after your character is completely evolved at the conclusion of the game, a bigger number of adversaries might be challenging, making the combat satisfying till the finish. Even if the action takes place on the eponymous Mars, we still battle in hand-to-hand combat, and the ranged weapon is only an addition, similar to throwing daggers in Geralt’s second journey.
Other aspects familiar from RPG games enhance the robust fighting system. Roy, the main character, earns experience points for each mission done and opponent destroyed, which translates – no surprise – into higher levels of initiation. As we proceed, three skill trees emerge: “physical” fighting, stealth, and magic. As you can see, we have a wide range of options, though it must be admitted that looting enemies directly is the obvious choice, and silently sneaking behind enemies’ backs and “technomancer” skills are only an addition, and completing the game based on the remaining skill trees certainly requires more dedication. What more should a decent RPG include? Making your own products? No worries. The developers have created a brilliant crafting system upon which we will build character items. There are just two pieces of equipment available – armor and hand weapons – however there are several expansion options. We increase the likelihood of a critical strike, damaging opponents, or replenishing health points by using components collected throughout the game. Importantly, we are not bothered by the interface, which is superbly designed. It might serve as a model for more than one studio; CD Projekt, for example. Inspiration was also taken from beyond the country. When it came to the Mass Effect trilogy, however, the least favorable components were chosen. The gameplay is very linear. We travel on approved pathways, which are frequently simply short passageways. It is possible to interact with a mind-boggling three items. There are boxes and mountains of junk concealed in the nooks and crannies that we extract valuable goods from.
The tale in the game is obviously less “epic” than that of Commander Shepard’s trilogy, but it is intriguing enough to keep you hooked on the computer. The narrative is told via the eyes of a prisoner of war named Innocence, who encounters the game’s main character, the aforementioned Roy, in a prisoner of war camp. Complicated? Yes, at first glance, but it’s an intriguing and unusual approach. The plot is structured into three segments that take place in three different locales. The sceneries are very repetitive and identical to each other due to the minimal amount of textures and item models, but the developers have once again exceeded themselves by producing a lot of fascinating side missions that do not simply require removing whoever is needed. It’s a shame that the supporting characters are so ineffective. In fight, it is common to see a friend whose sole purpose is to draw the attention of foes. At least for a dozen or so seconds before collapsing unconscious into the Red Planet’s scorching sand, leaving him on the battlefield. During skirmishes, our players may access a context menu with four different sorts of commands.
Throughout the story, we make moral decisions, decide the destiny of certain people, associate with one or more factions, and witness sacrifice and treachery. Spiders has attempted to deliver the complete variety of story twists found in other games. We haven’t even mentioned the option of romancing the accompanying NPC. There are more of these details, but the creators strove to incorporate all they could in a 12-hour plot, including side tasks, without setting any constraints on themselves. This frequently makes the scenario pretty amusing as we endlessly move from one storyline cliché to the next. We allow one of the NPCs to accompany us on a quest. The hero dies three minutes later, and Roy reacts with a quick “Well, so you probably won’t come with us.” Let’s cut to the next scene and move on! However, it must be acknowledged that it has a certain cheap appeal. It’s also worth noting that all of the characters talk in their individual voices, despite the fact that, for obvious reasons, not many actors were engaged. While the main character’s voice may still be regarded proper, the supporting characters are heartbreaking. To summarize, the spoken words frequently break the immersion during the task. The visuals are little better, but not amazing. The video layer is in charge of the original Silk Engine, which works well with basic textures and character models. The entire thing will undoubtedly function smoothly even on low-end hardware, and the production’s excellent technical implementation is also critical. I never made a serious mistake along the expedition, and the frame rate never went below 60. This is now considered a respectable accomplishment.
I had more fun with Mars: War Logs than with many high-budget releases. The developers have the capacity to produce even larger things, as seen by a really solid fighting system and an engaging setting and plot.