I had high hopes for Mars: War Logs given the current state of RPGs on Xbox 360. Mars: War Logs attempts to emulate the best parts of many of its AAA predecessors. Unfortunately, the end result is a stripped down version of the Mass Effects and Dragon Ages it’s trying to copy. It’s not a bad game, just glaringly average. With that in mind, let’s talk about how different types of gamers may react to the Mars: War Logs experience.
The Action Junkie - Combat uses a hybrid system mixing real-time action and the tactics wheel that Mass Effect made popular on consoles. There are several skills you can use in battle, but the action is grossly repetitive.
The Bookworm - Bookworms need not apply. There is a story here and it is endearing at times. However, the characters are flat and lifeless and the story is rushed. If you need an excellent story with great characters to enjoy an RPG, this is not your game.
The Explorer - I believe explorers will be disappointed. MWL is an utterly a linear game with sidequests (read: errands) peppered in. You basically traverse 3 different towns in the game’s 3 chapters. You’ll spend a lot of time running around with your map on just to make sure you’re going the right way.
The Strategist - Battles can be difficult and intense even on easy difficulty. The problem here is that they’re repetitive and what makes them difficult – when they are difficult – is simply the number of combatants on-screen. You use the same 3 sets of attacks Technomancy – Standard Attacks – Guard Breaks. Once you use all three in a battle, you’ve seen every battle you’ll ever have in the game.
The Audiophile & Visualist - Mars: War Logs looks dated and the soundtrack is less than memorable. If you look for great visuals and sound in your games, this isn’t the one for you.
The Builder – The minor saving grace of this errand running simulator is its crafting and leveling system. Running errands to NPCs as well as completing main storyline missions, will grant you access to skill points and components you can use to customize Roy’s abilities and the weapons and armor he rocks. The crafting and leveling systems are decent, but not really enough to make a player forgive this game for being tedious and derivative.
Verdict: I really wanted to like Mars: War Logs. If I’m being completely honest, I never would have finished the game if I wasn’t reviewing it. It tries hard to give the player something new, based on what older, better games have accomplished. Unfortunately, in the end, it’s just a derivative game that doesn’t do enough to make it worth playing.