A little bit delayed, but better late than never. Spiders RPGs started for me with their latest one – Greedfall and it was actually pretty good (unfortunately didn’t write a review back then). Now I got to one of their earlier games and playing through dilogy of their Mars games, currently finishing The Technomancer and that review is probably coming next day off next week.
But for now it’s about Mars: War Logs, so let’s get to it…
Game actually has decent reviews and if any jank was there it is already fixed, so that stuff is not really even a problem anymore, not sure how bad it was initially. Overall runs and looks pretty good, well for my taste at least, so tech-wise it’s nice, no need in modding or patching, just install Steam version and go. Price on sales is also super low, so value is real good for around 20 hours of gameplay and story.
Gameplay of the game is actually surprisingly pretty good, I really enjoyed Greedfall combat and I can see that Spiders already had pretty good foundation in their earlier games. Main issue of combat system for me is that rolls don’t give you any invincibility frames so it just makes you frustrated by not being able to avoid some damage sometimes, because you need to actually start rolling fast and far enough to not get reached by the attack. You can rely on pure melee, or use different consumables/abilities, or go full “mage” (even though that’s not an option in the beginning of the game), you can even use stealth for your advantage. I personally enjoyed combat even with little annoying nuances and playing on hard was quite nice, wouldn’t really call it challenging, but by being a hoarder as always it was a bit more of a challenge.
Character progression is also Spiders signature in a way, since talent “tree” is similar in Greedfall and The Technomancer. Actually quite nice in all games from them I played so far and you really want to get all the XP and level ups to improve your character, speed of acquiring levels is also pretty decent, so it doesn’t feel like too long between getting more skill points.
Now to the main RPG thing for me – story. Game starts in quite an intriguing way throwing you in jail, giving me a little Gothic 1 vibes that I sure like, then doing a bit of a turn with main character and character that becomes sorta narrative tool providing us with those War Logs from the game title. Way to setup the story and present it to you is pretty fresh, I’d say Spiders tried to make something ambitious with a small budget and it works to some extent. Story itself with all the twists is a little anti-climactic I would say and outside of interesting approach to delivering that story it’s nothing super special, quite linear too, but not bad. Feels like it was more for world building to setup whole Mars world better for future games, Technomancer uses a little bit of that already, but also sets it up from another perspective, still need to finish to see how it ends, even though I feel like there’s enough space to fit more games in Mars universe, but I guess after Technomancer’s reception it might take a while.
To sum it all up I would say that game is totally worth checking for everyone, who’s into RPGs, for educational purposes at least, sure was a fresh experience, playing all the RPGs back to back is some good 5Head material to compare and analyze different approaches to making them.