I pose an interesting question, fellow gamers – how many of us hero types (such as myself) wondered what it would be like to help save the world on a totally different planet other than Earth or some other other worldly place for a change? Well, that’s what the fine folks at Spiders and Focus Home Interactive aim to find out also, with their sci-fi RPG, “Mars: War Logs” for the 360.
M: WL is a cyberpunk story of doom and despair over water that has become quite the precious commodity on Mars, due to cataclysmic chaos that erupted almost a century prior. You take over the role of Roy — a bad-ass renegade rogue of multiple talents, who has managed to get himself involved in the thick of things — starting by saving a young soldier-in-training, “Innocence Smith”, from becoming a man in the most unkind way possible. From there, that’s when every decision and every action counts, so make sure you choose wisely.
M: WL is certainly not your ordinary run-of-the-mill RPG here. Sure it has some of the basic elements, but the storyline is what keeps it exciting. There’s an abundance of quests and mini side quests to do, and you’ll do plenty of talking to folks and searching for items as well, while you level up your character and develop combat skills that you can tailor to your liking. You can choose from melee, ranged combat, stealth, healing, and devastating Technomantic skills and perks to learn and master, with thanks to a fairly deep skill tree. And as you continue with the story and your character developing, you also get to craft your own weaponry and armor from the raw materials you find scattered around the planet and from your fallen foes.
During your epic quest on the red planet, you’ll encounter many enemies along the way. But don’t think that you’ll be facing your battles alone, as you’ll be recruiting companions along the way, including a depressed prison camp inmate and the aforementioned “Innocence Smith”. These companions will come in handy too, as you’ll often be outnumbered by formidable enemies; you’ll need every ounce of help that you can possibly get.
The graphics are actually what you’d expect in this type of game. The backgrounds are very well done, perfectly setting the grim, cyberpunk tone of the story. The cutscenes are frequent here, most of which are character dialogue driven and involve you having to make the right kind of response. The sounds are also what one would expect, but are well executed. Even the character voice-overs are very well done; I definitely like and appreciate the variety of accents from the various characters, and strangely enough — there are some moments when Roy’s voice kind of reminds me of Wolverine.
Controls in M: WL are very simple and extremely straightforward, and you’ll be given on-screen help if you don’t read the game guide from the main menu. Combat happens in real-time and is also as simplistic. As you learn more skills, you can later assign said skills to the shoulder buttons on your controller to assist you, whether it be shooting a nail gun, healing yourself in mid-combat, or even throwing sand in your enemies’ faces.
I couldn’t find hardly anything wrong with this game. In fact, the only thing I really noticed was purely cosmetic, and again this is another cinema cutscene issue that I’ve remarked on in previous games: about character lip syncing being off, but not always. It’s just something I happen to notice, but certainly doesn’t distract from gameplay at all.
Overall, I think this game makes for an excellent entry in the sci-fi/RPG genre and it has a solid enough of a story to keep any gamer enthralled for hours on end. There’s plenty to do, plenty to see, and plenty of folks to talk to (just be prepared for lots of foul-mouthed dialect), so there’s no chance of getting bored there.
So if you’re looking for some different interplanetary hero action, then suit up and get ready for the good, the bad, and the bleepin’ ugly!
Platform: XBox 360
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: 1200 MS Points
|Gloomy, but with a very convincing cyberpunk look.|
|Background noise is excellent and the voice-overs are good.|
|Fun to play, simple control and combat schematics, very addictive.|
|Solid sci-fi RPG with decent depth to it and an excellent story.|