"This feels a lot like Doom." This is my very first impression of "Memories of Mars" during his last closed beta weekend not so long ago. It is a first-person game. It's set on Mars. And the first thing that brought me the game was collecting pieces of a sci-fi space suit, oh, and a pistol. Then there is the abundant presence of shadow, where everything could lurk.
Not long after, Memories of Mars turned out to be a lot less than Doom, though it seemed to shoot quite a bit in my time. But I'm ahead of myself. Memories of Mars is one of those survival games where you feel on the back foot from the first moment. It did not help that it was the most densely populated server on America's west coast.
This means it was an unbelievably bad experience involving movement, worldwide interaction and shooting.
In practice this is artificially delayed The initial learning curve became steeper because you need to hold the buttons for a moment before registering. Well, there I was, thinking that the game was not responding, though in fact it only required patience to see my input on the screen. I could get over it and how it felt to sprint across the surface of Mars (you'll do a lot of it), but it made the fight especially itchy.
My first fight was against a poor juice that I must have been AFK when I approached them. To be honest, I was more interested in treating Memories of Mars as an exploration game in which other people on the 64-player servers are seen as more than an opportunity to explore and build together rather than being a threat. So I reluctantly approached this person, did not know how to communicate with them, but I do not trust them either.
I landed behind them until they moved, and when they stopped again, all I had to do was shoot. A few headshots later and that player crumples. I looted what they had and thought about robbing them (like an RPG with a theft mechanic, you can crack stuff out of players' inventory if you're close enough.)
I felt bad because of killing that unsuspecting person, so I was looking for someone else, this time with intensified passive intentions (no, really). It was not long before I stumbled upon a player who dug resources out of a rock. Remember that at the time I only had my reliable pistol, but with fewer laps and everything that I had teased off the first player I met.
I approached with my pistol in a leaping way, hoping that they were friendly. They were not. I quickly learned that high latency combined with the typical shooter A-D-A-D sidestep dance is a powerful combination. So does this other player. The thing is, I ran out of ammo first and despite some solid hits (there's a scoreboard and blood), I was killed as I closed the gap and tried to finish things with my fists.
Maybe it was the latency or maybe it was the lack of feedback in the game, but it's really difficult to tell when to land blows. Still, that was the end of my first bash at Memories of Mars, and when I came back to try co-op it got harder. Instead of spawning in this launch room, I had the opportunity to select one of two spawn areas (one small, one large) on Mars. Although my hotkeys said I had a gun, I did not have any in my inventory, so I just stuck with my fists. This is just one example of Early Access Jank.
I watched as a player ran past me at incredible speeds. Maybe this is an upgrade I know nothing about, or a latency trick, but there were several people in the chat who accused someone (or several people) of playing both times. This time I met with a friend and we explored together.
When we approached another player for the first time, they mysteriously disappeared: either separated or simply gone. Not far behind, I could see a player's arm cut through the wall of a structure they were building, so we said hello. Once again a pacifist approach was the plan, but it quickly turned into a shooting and boxing match. The trick is to identify without recognizing players, and all of us are stuck with the same player model, things got messy.
We finally killed this player, only to find that they re-opened a few seconds later in the base. The next time we dropped them, I made sure I interacted with the clone computer to create another respawn option. This was repeated for a while. Eventually, I plundered some items, including weapons, and flung the door out.
As far as I could tell, a player had built this structure, but when I discovered an external elevator that led to an extensive lab, I felt it had to be placed there. Except maybe not. That's the real beauty, why I hope Memories of Mars has local servers and why I want to use it for another round. There is this vivid prospect of altering the face of the landscape with sprawling structures that others will discover, loot and fight.
I did not expect Mars memories to be as action-intensive as my experience. I could only find a cave that showed the remnants of a PvE battle, and latency problems kept me from digging too far into the design aspect.
Memories of Mars appear to me as one of those games that has a steep learning curve. But for patient players who persevere, there is a world of player-driven potential to immerse in. How long this appeal will last, is not yet clear, but assuming that the latency is not a problem, when it starts next week (June 6), I'll like to bring my ass to Mars to see what else is offered. 1