Memories of Mars is an upcoming game by Limbic Entertainment with publishing support from 505 Games. I got to spend some time checking it out during PAX East last weekend.
Story: You’re a clone who wakes up on Mars and it appears that the planet is abandoned. 100 years in the future, the red planet now no longer sustains the life it once did. Though you’re just a clone, you need to collect resources, materials, and rebuild a place to live and survive on the planet. In addition to rebuilding, you need to defend yourself and survive against other clones and strange enemies that seem to come out of nowhere.
The demo started off with a cutscene that shows what appears to be a robotic spider trying to attack you, but is blocked by a metal grate. You quickly make your way to the exit of the facility, grab your helmet, and walk out into Mars. That’s where the demo begins.
Once you leave that facility you’re in full-roam and “figure it out mode.” The game doesn’t really hold your hand or give you a ton of direction, and you’ve basically got the ability to roam the entire play area and discover what’s going on. In my opinion this is both a gift and a curse, because with a game this expansive it can give you a bit of choice paralysis in terms of what to do. Do you spend your time exploring and collecting materials? Or do you build a base and go full on defensive mode instead? My time with the demo was a bit of “just run around and see what this thing can do,” and because we were given a cheat to give us materials and weapons, I didn’t have to waste time actually mining materials or finding weapons/ammo.
The game is an online-only multiplayer experience, and there were about a dozen of us roaming in the same server, so building an alliance is going to be an important feature in the game. Without an alliance might prove fatal, as basically you’re relying on someone you encounter to not just straight up kill you and take your supplies. The upside is that since you’re a clone you just respawn….but without all that stuff you might have been farming for several hours. Partnering up with some friendlies as you explore the vast red planet might be the better idea than going it alone, since at current there is no single player or passive gameplay mode. It’s going to be a really interesting dynamic as players come into the space (pun!) and hope that they can fend for themselves or group up with other players just trying to survive. That’s before you deal with the AI enemies in the game, though I only encountered a few enemies that didn’t seem too powerful and mostly an annoyance when they got in your way as you were trying to explore a facility or travel somewhere. Who knows what may happen when alliances start to make bases, but I could totally see all out battles for resources happening in this game.
From a visual standpoint the game looks great. The shadow effects and lighting were really nice, and while some textures on the facilities looked repetitive (the screenshots I’m posting have much more variety). I can’t really fault that, because it’s very possible that visual elements are not fully developed and over time there may be more options for the way things look. The dust effects looked good too, especially when you’re away from any sort of structure and just exploring the landscape for materials. I didn’t experiment too much with building my own structures but the builder looks pretty flushed out and there were a fair amount of ways you could choose to build structures. We got to experience both day and night cycles to see how the visuals changed, and I think night-time exploration will be a pretty awesome experience. The youtube video below is from the Developer Diary which shows the base building feature more in-depth for anyone interested more on that, since I didn’t spent much time with it.
Conclusion: Memories of Mars an impressive game that seeks to of change the open-world space by creating a lot of survival elements for what will be an immersive game. For me, it’s a little too open ended at this point to be really sold on it, because I’m just not a huge fan of games that don’t have a specific “end-game.” I could be selling the game short, but I also don’t expect developers to give me everything about the game up front either. So for now I’d say if the game is interesting to you, give it a follow on Steam and keep an eye on the Early Access release to check it out for yourself.
Written by Andrew(@SoAfterISaid)