M.A.R.S, It’s an acronym: Mercenary Assault and Recon Squad. I’m reminded of F.E.A.R (First Encounter Assault Recon). So why a M.A.R.S Review? Well, I applied, and the developers gave me a key. This is not a Back 4 Blood case, I’m just in 1 of those reviewer circles now. Anyway, what is M.A.R.S? The closest comparison I can think of is something like Warface but easier to access. It has PvE, PVP, Points stores and fun multiplayer. All the free-mium trimmings, none of the pitfalls.
Though I was not paid in anyway for this M.A.R.S Review, I still feel that I should point out that this isn’t a game I signed up for knowing what it was. I freely give this information as due to the game being a beta or early access build, we received some good starter items. These however will not impact the final thoughts on this game.
As I stated this is an early build of the game and if you do pick it up then, its free but changes may be made. To this I must add that everything I say here is subject to change but will be updated in the future.
Everyone, please meet ‘The power tool’, A.K.A The Drill. We start with specs, mine and the games.
|Intel core i7-7700k||NVIDIA GTX 1080||32GB|
If you recall, I said this game was easier to access, that’s because it is. M.A.R.S boasts some impressive system specs, for 2014. That being said, if Among Us has taught us anything: Good graphics doth not make a good game. I do however want to draw your attention to something.
|MIN||Intel Core i5 +|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750+|
|REC||Intel Core i5 +|
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860+|
These are the game specs in accordance with SubaGames page on the game. Let that sink in because I have 2 questions: How vague can that CPU be and when did Hard Drive space factor into performance? I hate to be the harbinger of bad news but, you download the game and that’s it. I do not remember an option for a high res texture pack and there’s no option to download one. This may be a future release, but at the time of writing it’s missing… and the game is actually 11GB.
I want to just quickly bundle in here Performance. Absolutely zero issues. No crashes or stutters. A surprise for a beta really but I won’t argue, a pleasant surprise none the less.
Yeah it’s a premise game this time. M.A.R.S is interesting. Its 20-sometin’ and there’s a war between man, and mechanically augmented man. The augmented soldiers (UNITA) have been creating little wars here and there and generally being not nice. As such man (The League of Nations) create the NRC, insect based robots with galaxy brain intellects to help them fight. The robots however gain a form of sentience and go rogue, who doesn’t love a three-way?
Anyway, you’re the F.N.G (fuckin’ new guy) and you’re at war with UNITA and the robots. Typical Sunday in 20XX am I right? Anyway, this is where things diverge into gameplay.
When we talk about gameplay we talk about 2 separate categories: PvE and PvP. PvP sees you fighting actual people… and bots if there aint enough people. PvE sees you fighting with people against AI in multi-stage arenas. Let’s start with the PvP.
PvP or Player versus Player is where the fun begins. I have only had the chance to play quick matches as you need to be level 15 to play ranked, I will not make it to the end of this closed beta and be level 15. Now you get a nice selection of maps and honestly, they seem pretty balanced. They straddle a fine line between fun to play and balanced, how? They are basically mirrors. A deviation here and there helps but in essence they are mirrored.
This game states to take influence from Call of Duty and CSGO and that can be felt in the map design. M.A.R.S manages to take the simplicity from CSGO and the fun of Call of Duty and blends them well. The game also has smaller influences from arena style games, announcing doubles, triples, quads and even penta kills. After a while it just shouts that you’re dominating.
And that’s when I knew something was afoot. This may be a free, easy to play, third-person shooter game, but matches can be littered with bots. I regret asking to be honest. I just thought I was good at the game. Turns out I’m good at killing AI. Now let that not discourage all ye who attempt! I am playing a closed beta. There may only be 5 thousand players worldwide at the moment, all higher levels than me. When this game launches I know I will be creamed.
Overall though, PvP is fun. It’s a clear cut and dry who will win after thirty seconds, but that does not mean we can’t have fun.
Your typical Player Versus Environment or PvE game is broken down into the story or random ‘WTF’ arenas. When I played some of the story missions I was taken back by just how bad some of the voice acting and directing was, but also the scale of what is being done. For a free game, on PC only, it’s laying down set pieces. Granted most of the story I played was essentially the tutorial but that’s neither here not there. What actually got me was the random PvE game I joined.
Remember how I said about cybernetic humans, normal humans and galaxy brained AI robots? I never once mentioned the ancient Egyptian curses mummy zombies now did I? Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Z.M.R or Zombies, Monsters and Robots A.K.A Another fucking acronym. I won’t lie, this was a little thing I was told on the games Discord server.
Now I digress, PVE is fun. The separate arenas I was able to play in showed me that the team have experience in different locales and architecture types. I was only playing on easy and it was easy. Even the final level boss went down easily, I would have liked to play on a harder difficulty, but nobody wanted to play with the level 7. With the 30/1 KD/R over 3 games on a 2:1 W:L Ratio. The audacity.
My overall experience with the PvE is lacking, no doubt but for the short time I spent with it I did enjoy it.
Let’s summarise, shall we? PvP, Good; PvE, Good. M.A.R.S is good, but we do need to address the premium side of freemium. You can unlock guns and attachments and all that good stuff, or you can rent it. This is good and bad in my opinion. Since you can use real money or in game money it boils down to skills. I bought the AK, it kicks like a mule. This is good.
If all guns had little to no recoil, you could just buy the best gun, make the money and when your time expires just buy it again. I found the starting weapons perfect in all honesty. Rate of fire was fine, recoil was manageable, spread was good, damage output was good. Damage even seems regional, a headshot with a sniper spells curtains.
The idea of renting weapons too means that unless you’ve got fat stacks in the bank or you sweat like a pig, you will eventually get reset. All your unlocks and nothing more. This also goes for weapon upgrades, scopes, barrels, mags and scopes – all unlockable, rentable and resettable. It’s great.
No scores this time! Shocker I know. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much to go off of. Yes, it’s great and fun and works well. All the good mechanics are in place and ready to rock but it’s a beta. Subject to change. I can rate this a 10, then the full game comes out and it’s a 5. Given my experience rating betas and early access games from lesser-known developers, I won’t risk it.
In three years time, I don’t want to be giving yous a firth iteration of the review, as such, we will come back to this in the future. With more information, more knowledge and a better understanding of it all. Until then: If you can get into the beta or any upcoming betas, I recommend you do. This game is a great time killer and honestly rather fun. It made me nostalgic, it reminded me of old games like Drift City, Gunz: The Duel and FlyFF of all things.
It took me back to a simpler time, high school. Relaxing with my mates and playing games with my brother. A simple life where all’s I wanted was to have fun. I still do, just learned that I can enjoy a game alone and M.A.R.S, it just joined the list.