Posted by : Unknown Friday, August 16, 2013

 | 8/16/13 12:00PM |

The Cost of a Red War

Mars: War Logs is an Action-RPG title that contains a significant amount of gameplay for the $15 asking price. The game is split up into a few chapters and has you taking control of Roy, a former Technomancer who finds himself in a POW camp as he plots his escape with the help of a young prisoner named Innocence.

Characters in this game have all been given new virtue names as identification, and Roy's virtue name is Temperance, although he doesn't really like going by that. He begins has a pretty mysterious person who you'll get to learn more about over time.

With War Logs, you'll be getting a game with an interesting story full of different characters to interact with, dialogue options that can change the outcome of situations, and a pretty fun combat system with a wide array of skills to use and unlock.

With only a couple of chapters to tell the game's story, you'd probably think that the game would be pretty short, but that's not the case with War Logs. Each chapter takes place in specific areas that contain multiple sections to explore that are pretty size-able to traverse. There are characters in each section who usually need some help solving their problems that can take around twenty minutes or so to complete.

Even if you were to ignore all of the side-quests in the game, it would still take some time to explore the areas as you look to complete the main quests, which will have you choosing various dialogue options and utilizing all of Roy's unlockable abilities as you use the combat system throughout the adventure.

It took me a little to get into War Logs at first. The beginning area of the game contains simple quests to complete that help set up Roy's plan to escape from the camp, and you'll have to go back and forth between areas as you begin to learn the mechanics of the game. Things build slowly, but by the end of the first chapter and beginning of the second, I was really immersed in the game.

Exploring the POW camp and completing quests reminded me of the Chronicles of Riddick game, as I encountered friendly and hostile prisoners to interact with who offered up new quests and the chance to level up when talking turned into fighting. Allied with Innocence, I was able to fend off attacks in the beginning areas, but there were times where I still got overwhelmed. Some of the quests that need to be completed in the beginning were pretty tough, but dodging and countering helped later fights go my way a bit better.

Combat in Mars: War Logs is presented to players in a pretty simple way. X and Y are used for different attacks and the shoulder buttons are used to access hot-keyed items and abilities such as nailguns and special attacks like throwing sand and blocking or parrying attacks. Later in the game, you'll get to use Roy's Technomancer skills in combat on top of all of the regular skills he possesses. Technomancers are trained combatants who can utilize electric currents and unleash powerful attacks on foes, and you're able to increase these powers individually so you can use your favorite moves in combat.

Other combat elements such as sneak attacks, parries, and counters are all possible, which deepens the combat even further without complicating how you pull off these moves.

During the middle of the first chapter, story progression for me picked up quite a bit. There are a fair share of both main and side-quests to complete, and each offer various types of rewards aside from the welcome experince they bring upon completion. With the game's crafting system, you'll want to complete quests and defeat enemies to unlock new parts, which can be used to create or upgrade existing armor and weapons.

What's neat about this too is that changes are visual as well as being regular pointed improvements, so upgraded weapons change looks and armor piece show up more based on the materials you used to craft them.

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Visually, the game looks pretty nice, containing some great lighting effects and dust particles that truly capture the feeling of being on Mars like Red Faction has done in the past, but there also seem to be limitations with what they were able to do for the game.

Character models are nice, but some have odd body animations and you'll frequently find the same NPCs in various areas re-skinned a bit but still easily recognizable. The main character Roy and his allies look the best in my opinion, as do the set of main characters you meet in various cutscenes throughout the game.

My other main issue with the game was the map. While it's great that you can access it both in the menu and during gameplay, it appears across the whole screen as a transparent map, allowing you to still see the game in action. I found myself having to pull up the map frequently, so I wish that it would have just been in the corner of the screen or something. I can understand not having it there for the sake of immersion, but having an option to have always there in a corner would have been great.

Mars: War Logs takes great gameplay mechanics from some of my favorite titles and puts them into a unique blend. The story and choices you can make really give you a sense that you're affecting the game's outcome, and the combat and crafting system are simple enough to use, and can really give you an advantages when facing the tougher enemies in the game.

With a solid soundtrack and 20 hours of content, and you've got a great summer game to play without ever having to go anywhere to buy it. Give it a download!

Developer- Spiders
Publishers- Focus Home Interactive
Release Date- July 26th, 2013
Price- $14.99 MSRP
Review Platform- Xbox Live Arcade

-Review Disclaimer-

A copy of the game was provided for reviewing purposes by Focus Home Interactive

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