Mars: War Logs – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Spiders
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PC, 360, PS3

Mars: War Logs – Review

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Good: Good and satisfying combat
Bad: A little underdeveloped, confusing story
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

“I never thought I’d end up in the middle of the war, but I didn’t really understand how.” Can a game redeem itself after the first line of spoken dialogue is completely nonsensical? Strap yourself in for a journey to the Red Planet.

Mars: War Logs Logo

Mars: War Logs is a sci-fi RPG action game that tries to blend decision making, factions, companions, crafting and stealth elements in a single game. An ambitious project in its own right, but adding to the challenge, the developer, Spiders, were on a very tight budget during development. Needless to say, some parts of the game feel rough and undeveloped and one should ask whether Spiders hasn’t bit off more than they can chew. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves and make any judgments before properly introducing the game.

Mars: War Logs starts the player off 200 years after the colonization of Mars, when a major disaster occurs and an electromagnetic storm destroys all electronic equipment on the red planet. So no machines or vehicles, but more importantly, no more protection from the sun. Chaos ensues and the corporations that provide the most precious commodity on Mars, water, fight for power. The two main factions are the conservative and somewhat archaic Abundance and the Aurora, a young guild whose powers stem from their Technomancers, the technological equivalent of a mage.

Mars: War Logs graphics

Factions, corporations and guilds? Well, the game throws all these terms around and never seems to settle on what it wants to call something. They all mean the same thing though. A “corporation” in this dystopian future is a bit of a mix between a tribe and an actual corporation. Every corporation has an army and people it wants to protect. Some corporations, like the Abundance, are in it for the power and the money, while the Aurora want to make sure water remains affordable for their people. Confusing right?

Anyway, you assume the role of Roy Temperance, a stereotypical alpha male and member of the Aurora. Together with Innocence – yes, the name matches his personality – you try to escape from the Abundance POW camp you were taken to after being captured. Because there no longer is any protection from the harmful radiation the sun sends out, animals and people have started mutating. Humans consider the mutants as lesser beings who can be exploited and enslaved. Roy comes up with a plan to get the mutants to riot against their human overlords in order to facilitate escaping.

Spiders has been hyping up the story for as long as the game was being developed, but they may have overestimated their ability. The first third of the game is absolutely fine, but after the great escape, the story starts to meander around and you’re just running errands for NPCs without you ever getting the feeling that there is any purpose left. Eventually, after a very rushed finale, the credits start rolling and the game just suddenly ends.

Mars: War Logs Combat


Graphically the game isn’t all that impressive, but it doesn’t look too bad considering the developers were on a tight budget. As they did in Of Orcs And Men, Spiders again make use of their own Silk Engine, which was forked Sony’s PhyreEngine a while back. Whilst being good at rendering faces and emotions, the Silk Engine does a poor job at rendering the backgrounds. Let’s just say that if you ever need a break from the confusing story, you can always count the pixels.

It should also be noted that the entire game is orange. Orange and grey. It becomes quite boring to look at after few hours of play. The fact that the same houses, huts and piles of rubble are copied and pasted all over the game doesn’t help either.

Basically, if you’re looking for an RPG with stellar graphics, you’ll be better off buying a triple A title like Skyrim.

Mars: War Logs ThisWasfunnyAYearAgoMaybe


The music is atmospheric and unobtrusive, but generally speaking, the sound isn’t particularly exiting. Gunshots sound like gunshots and hitting something produces a believable thump. Sound libraries where developers can simply go shopping for a fitting noise have put an end to hilariously bad effects. Unfortunately though, this means every game tends to sound the same and Mars: War Logs is no exception. The game sounds like any indie action game.

It should also be noted that the voice acting ranges from good to atrocious. The main characters are all voiced by competent actors, but some of the lesser characters seem to be voiced by emotionless cyborgs with absolutely no sense of rhythm or pacing.


You must be wondering where the score came from as everything up until this point has been mediocre. Well, the most important thing a game must do is play well, and Spiders has gotten that right at least.

The combat system is excellent. You can run, roll and evade, perform guard breaks and block incoming attacks. These abilities can all be upgraded by spending skill points.  You have three talent trees and you get 2 points per level. As you level up fairly fast, you can almost max out two trees by the end of the game. It is therefore meaningful to replay the game and try out some other combinations.


During combat, you can bring up your tactics menu, which pauses the game and allows you to perform a non melee attack or heal yourself. For example, you can throw sand in the eyes of your opponents in order to blind them. This requires some thought however, as enemies wearing sunglasses will be immune to the blinding effect for example. The tactics menu is effective in breaking up the combat, and gives you some breathing space to plan your next move.

Later in the game, you get access to Technomancer abilities and this spices up the combat quite a bit. You’ll be able to shoot lighting and create a force field around yourself to help mitigate the incoming damage. You can also “electrify” your weapons in order to make them more effective. Combining melee attacks with gunfire and Technomancer abilities makes it very satisfying to kill a group of enemies.

The companions that follow you around and aid you in combat aren’t as impressive however. They do don’t do enough damage, run out of health quickly and the commands you can give them are too basic. At best they are a distraction to the enemies so you can sneak up on them and stab them in the back.


Leveling is accomplished by defeating enemies or by completing (side)quests, most of which involve you fetching an item or stomping a few enemies in to the ground. Whenever you gain a level, you aren’t just rewarded with the 2 skill points we discussed earlier, but you also get 1 “character feat” which you can spend on improving Roy. These character perks include things like increased XP or a higher percentage of chance to obtain loot. It all remains fairly basic however.

Weapons, armor and other things you can equip can either be bought from the local merchants, or can be found by looting fallen enemies or by searching boxes or piles of rubble. Your gear can be improved by crafting upgrades. You can add spikes to your pipe for example, or add some extra armor to your pants. It’s all rather straight forward, but upgrading is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to get stomped into a pile of mush.


Aside from the combat, Mars: War Logs doesn’t really excel at anything. The limited budget shows. Sloppy storytelling, uninspired an claustrophobic environments, shallow customization and a low playtrough time of about 12 hours or less. However, if we take in to account that the game retails for only €20, some of these faults can be overlooked. If you’re trying to save a bit of money and you don’t expect AAA quality, Mars: War Logs is worth picking up.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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