Mars War Logs is a cyberpunk action RPG from Focus Home Interactive I followed the development for this game through press releases ever since it was announced. I will be honest, I am a sucker for anything cyberpunk. I have such a weakness for it. Needless to say, I was more than stoked for Mars War Logs. What I ended up getting was nuggets of disappointment and moments of satisfaction.
You play as Roy, a gruff Ex-Technomancer with a bone to pick and a dream to be free. While escaping from prison, or trying to at least, he takes a young man under his wing, Innocence. Yes that is his name. Upon escaping the prison that held Roy and Innocence the two are thrown into a world conflict to free the people from the organization of the Technomancers. Oh yeah, and this all takes place on Mars.
The story is really standard. It is not bad, just really average. We have our gravelly voiced protagonist who wasn't asked to save the world. We have our plucky sidekick aptly names Innocence. We also have the save the world setting. It is all so perfect...ly average. Quite frankly, it is very disappointing because it is never gone into detail what the organization of the Technomancers do or how they rose to power, which kind of what makes a story cyberpunk, is the corporate takeover and greed. However, I digress.
The cyberpunk setting is not driven home to be honest. Yeah Technomancy and Mars, but that is really all there is. The story is not very corporation run and the design is more Mad Max/Riddick than anything. The game still looks cool, but the cyberpunk selling point is not quite there.
The combat is possibly the best part of this game. It is varied and fluid with a learning curve. You have three ways to attack, close combat, Technomancy, and ranged combat. Ranged combat is nail gun attacks and thrown explosives. Technomancy is all electricity based spells and close combat is pretty obvious. You have your hot-keys to designate your abilities but you also have a slightly more handy ability wheel that slows down he combat and lets you choose what you want to do.
Similar combat styles are found in games like Aarklash Legacy and Of Orcs and Men, even Dragon Age. You have the ability to lock onto enemies but this is only essential for throwing grenades. Locking onto one person in melee combat is pretty much a death sentence. Mainly because the combat is so fast paced, you can never focus on just one person. One infuriating problem I cam e across what the “Needs a Target” message I got when trying to cast spells. Roy's body must be facing the target not the camera. The two tend to disrupt the flow of battle. While not needed for a target, this also disrupted the grenade throwing when you would waste a grenade throwing it in the opposite direction.
The second best thing about Mars Wars Logs is the crafting system. Looting enemies and chests will net you, well, junk. You use this junk on your weapons and armor to make better augments. It also changes the appearance of the weapon. Some weapons are better used with Technomancy while others are better suited for pure offense/defense. The same goes for armor. The base armor has a lot to do with what path you are going with in terms of combat readiness. The problem with the crafting is that it feels unfinished and not big enough. I wanted to do more with the crafting and even unlocking the crafting perks didn't do much.
The difficulty can spike, most of the fights you will be dying from are when you are outnumbered significantly. Boss fights are usually remedied by throwing grenades at them until they die. When you do die, yo will not have to worry about traveling far, the maps are small and intimate (which is a good thing) and the game auto-saves often.
Technical issues are more in the line of audio drops and characters will start new sentences without finishing the previous one. It doesn't help that the voice acting is pretty bad as well. It is like the cast took that no emotion drug in Aeon Flux.
The final product in Mars War Logs is disappointing. The game feels partly unfinished and it makes the game feel smaller than it should be. I give Mars War Logs for the PC a 5/10. Sadly, I could not live up to the hype and stand on its own as a cyberpunk RPG. You can pick it up on Steam now. It is also available on PS3/Xbox 360