A morality system is similarly tied to the way you choose to complete missions, taking stolen money for yourself or delivering back to the rightful owner and so on, but more contentiously and gamic is a system where after a fight you can extract the game’s currency from the bodies of knocked out foes, killing them in the process. This is considered an evil action and will poorly impact people’s opinion of you. It’s a bad system for a number of reasons. Firstly, there’s rarely a reason you’ll even need to spend money. You’ll be fine with what you can salvage in the environment. Secondly, by remaining good you’ll eventually get a blanket 50% discount from retailers. This negates the difference. At a point, the benefit of being either evil or good is effectively the same thing.
The environments don’t feel fully realised, which is a crime given how everything takes place in a few tiny hub areas. It’s not a game with a grand amount of scale, the amount of locations are tiny and yet none of them provide a sense of genuine presence. If the game’s environments were perhaps more varied you could forgive a lack of detail, but you spend so much time wandering around within them it’s terrible there’s not more life and vibrancy. The game ends up feeling empty as a result. It desperately needed more ambient dialogue from non-playable characters you can’t interact with or more diegetic music to better provide a sense of immersion. It’d be fine that a game set on Mars lacks believability, it’s inexcusable that it lacks verisimilitude.
Weapons and Armour don’t come fully completed as a base item, there’s a crafting system where you scavenge for materials in the world and then can combine them to create additional parts. It’s a very interesting idea and one of the few genuinely notable things here, but the way that it’s been implemented is lacking. Because the attachments - for instance - increase the amount of damage you deal, it’s hard to measure up against another piece of equipment that doesn’t already have upgrades attached to it. You’ll find it tough to tell if it has the potential to be better because you can’t effectively determine what it’s like at it’s best.
The system doesn’t let you remove attachments you’ve created for existing armours, but it does let you recycle materials into new upgrades. This suggests that you should create worse add-ons while you wait for better materials, but in reality you’ll probably just wait until the new armour set is increased in effectiveness over your existing set before putting it on. It’s a good idea, it’s just not one that’s been thought through quite well enough.
Mars: War Logs is an attempt at a AAA title without the necessary tools to provide it. The problems it faces are as a result of too high an expectation of what could reasonably be achieved. Scaled down it’s highly likely that something more meaningful could have sprung from development, but the content is stretched too thin. The best thing we’ve received from the team’s efforts is a reference point for how not to implement great ideas.