Mars: War Logs – Preview

Title   Mars: War Logs
Developer  Spiders
Publisher  Focus Home Interactive
Platform  PC, PS3, X360
Genre  RPG/Action
Release Date  2013
Official Site

Focus Home Interactive and Spiders games have been working on Mars: War Logs for quite a while. While supporting games like Of Orcs and Men they have been putting together the new third person action RPG, Mars: War Logs. The game is set on Mars, about two hundred years from the present day. At this point in time the population of Mars has been cut off from Earth for about a century, which has led to a general break down in society, giving the game a very post-apocalyptic look and feel.

Due to their isolation the Martian population have lost access to things like gun-powder and numerous technologies that they used to get from Earth. Water is also incredibly rare and this has led to the four main water companies becoming the main political powers. Each of these water companies goes to war and has a particular focus or political leaning. A few of the factions were described to us by Spiders CEO Jehanne Rousseau,  who explained that one of the factions is heavily military, taking what they want from the local population, while another other acts as a semi-religious sect.

The player character is a recent prisoner and in the first chapter will work towards breaking out of the prison and performing numerous tasks for the inmates. During this initial chapter the player will pick up a number of companion characters along the way. Interestingly these companions seem to work in quite a unique way and will react to the player and other non-player characters differently, depending on how the player treats them. For example, if the player is tough on their first companion, they may react with respect to the player but may go off and start a side mission where they have killed someone in a fit of rage. This kind of dynamic storyline should be incredibly fun to play if Spiders manage to pull it off.

Combat works a lot like you would expect from a third person game that relies on melee combat. There are the typical lunges, parries and dodges, along with a nice stun where the player character throws dirt in their opponent’s eyes. There is also a little bit of ranged combat in the form of what I think was a nail gun. Later in the game you will gain access to technomancy abilities, giving the player the ability to shoot lightning bolts etc.

Due to the Martian atmosphere being slightly thinner than our own, the population on Mars are unable to go out into the direct sunlight for too long. If they do they may mutate and these mutants are one of the major enemy types in the game. During the demo we were shown, we were tasked with going to a cave and killing a queen, which involved traveling down to the queen’s lair with an apprentice of the Techno Mages – a group of people who have developed technomancy abilities through the use of long-forgotten technology from Earth. Jehanne explained that the advanced technology from Earth has become more like religious relics on Mars. The people who can use this technology are considered almost god-like and form the elite of society. Think of the Techno Mages like the Sith, ruling the people with fear of their magical powers.

Mars: War Logs will also feature a number of crafting abilities that allow the player to break down and improve weapons, many of which are constructed from bits of scrap. For most of the demo our character had a steel pipe; this pipe can then be upgraded with a large weight at the top and form a more powerful mace. The game carries on like this, with the crafting system being used to tear down and rebuild bits of kit.

There are few games out there that sound like they could match a BioWare title in terms of storytelling and companion character interaction, but from what I’ve heard and seen, Spiders are well on their way to achieving this. While the game has been in development for a little while, it still has a way to go and Spiders expect to release it in the spring next year on XBLA and PSN.

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