The name of a game is crucial, get it right and you will attract media attention for all the right reasons, get it wrong and it becomes a laughing stock. War Logs isn’t either, but it is ever so slightly amusing. War Diaries would have sounded better for sure.
It certainly isn’t a bad game though judging by my experience with the first chapter. There is a low budget feel to things I will admit, the voice acting is middle of the road, character models are re-used quite a lot (though BioShock Infinite suffered from that, so don’t take too much away from it) and visually it lacks the refinement you might have been hoping for. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if the visuals feel worse than they really are thanks to the prison environment of the first chapter of the game.
Despite these quibbles, I have enjoyed my time on the Red Planet so far, certainly not enough games use it as a setting. You take the control of Roy, a chap with some decent fighting tricks and a burning desire to escape the prison. He is accompanied by a young man called Innocence, confusingly Innocence is the narrative lead in the War Logs and between chapters while Roy is the one you actually play as. I hope I’m not the only one who finds that setup a little bit odd.
The prison of the opening chapter lets you get a feel for the back-story with various factions fighting it out to control the resources left on Mars with some folk walking around with magical powers. You open the game with Roy defending Innocence from a brutal prison assault and then quickly getting into a bit of fisticuffs. Combat unfolds with melee attacks, guard breaks, blocks and the use of weapons of other explosive items when you get a chance. It is simple enough to get your head around in the early going, but as this is an RPG you don’t need to aim any guns. Just select them from your hotkey or the mid-combat-pause function which also lets you assign orders to any companions you might have.
I was pleasantly surprised by the various side-quests on offer, some of them tie-in to the prison break scenario with one giving you the chance to convince a guard to assist you. I didn’t persuade him to help, but found out he wanted to get back to his family. I got the cook to brew up something to make him ill, but sadly for me he was too sick to get taken home. My bad.
It did give me hope that further on in the game the side missions evolve similarly and with a decent bit of depth to add to the main story. Mars War Logs might not have the production of a Mass Effect or Fallout, but early impressions are that it is a decent alternative.