Memories of Mars (MoM) Beta- First Impressions
I first described Memories of Mars as Subnautica without the water. Others have called it Subnautica with a bigger oxygen tank, other groups are describing it as Rust in Space. I haven't played Rust, so I will have to bow to others on that comparison but one thing is for certain - this game has a LOT of potential.
First of all, whatever review you read - they are based on this closed BETA weekend which I was lucky enough to get into through The Sovereignty Stream Team. For a weekend Beta, there is quite a lot to do. Sure, the learning curve is fecking vertical, things like the tech tree GUI needs enlarging and micro-stutters show the need for an optimization pass but..BUT... the amount of discussion and different play styles generated in 24 hours points to a rosy future for the game.
As you can see from the image posted above, customisation is in from the off, hence my natty red and green pistol. You can change up the colours on you space-suit as well - it was interesting to see that SteazTV took exactly the same approach as me and tried to match his suit to the planet surface colours. Others such as Yamiks went straight for the "is it cool?" jet-black look. In all honesty I missed the customisation option at first which possibly says more about my level of observation but I am hoping there will be more in the way of tutorials when the game goes live, perhaps taking the form of Fallout4-esque educational videos accessed through a terminal in your first exporable safe zone.
The general premise seems to be that you awake as a clone, freshly grown with a spikey tube in you that is extracted in the opening cut-scene. During this intro, you are also introduced to some red-eyed, evil-mechanical spider-douche behind a grating which lets you know immediately that all is not well (tm). Cue quick exploration of Cloning chamber, retrieval of a pistol, ammo, 3D printer and suit helmet and you are ready to spawn on the big bad planet. This safe zone, without murder-hobos, lets you get orientated and I hope this is where they provide ways to teach you more about the game before setting out. Perhaps more ways to discover what has happened to the planet but, without being spoilery... there was one, large screen with worrying information on it- see if you can spot it.
You need to think fast on your feet because there were plenty of murder-hobos in my initial play-through! I know... because I was one of them! It was funny how my first instinct on seeing another player was to reach for my gun and, with the exception of one person that ran past me with arms waving like a dancing, inflatable advertising prop, I shot everyone I met. No negotiation. No exploration of the friends mechanic. Just murder. That's quite a brutal approach because solo play currently takes a lot of work to get enough resources to make the initial mining tool and start to progress through the tech tree. Saying that, I dropped my viewers into Liete's channel and they were working as a group of approximately 6-7 people, progressing a lot further in the game than I had managed. I think they even built an open settlement for all to enjoy.
As an initial Beta weekend offering, this game has great potential. I have heard a lot of talk of how there needs to be PvE server options to avoid murderous players like me and that's fair, I guess. It might also be interesting to stick with the current approach but with much bigger maps and more variation on spawn points. The need for resources and to top up oxygen will still create moments of conflict or negotiaiton whilst a larger map might give those less interested in recreateing the Thunderdome on Mars a chance. It's going to be interesting to see how this game develops.
As an aside, I do like their sense of humour - HighTower and Mahoney would be proud.