MAG: Massive Action Game

MAG: Massive Action Game Review for PS3

On: PS3

MAG is a new online shooter coming in 2009 where up to 256 players wage battles as 8-person squads in a new and unique World.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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One of MAG's better features is the skill point system. As you level up you're able to improve not only your weapons, and unlock new weapons, but improve the abilities of your operative.
One of MAG's better features is the skill point system. As you level up you're able to improve not only your weapons, and unlock new weapons, but improve the abilities of your operative.

One of MAG's better features is the skill point system. As you level up you're able to improve not only your weapons, and unlock new weapons, but improve the abilities of your operative.

Unfortunately, MAG's clever structure is undermined by some design decisions we can't quite understand, or forgive. MAG is a brutally hardcore shooter for hardcore shooter fans. Zipper can argue the toss until the military grade cows come home, but that's the reality of the game it's created. Its huge, sprawling war-torn environments are designed to make mince meat out of any and all who dare to step out into the open and walk its muddy soils. Running and gunning Rambo-style will get you killed; quick. There's no shield to soak up enemy plasma fire, or regenerating health system as you cower behind a rock. No. In MAG, a single bullet can kill you. In MAG, a single bullet – one that's travelled a long way - often kills you.

That's fine. We can accept that some games are all about "teh hardcorz" in the great Counter-Strike, Operation Flashpoint tradition. But MAG commits some cardinal gaming sins that make it unpalatable for all; mega hardcore shooter fans and, well... everyone else, alike.

In some FPS games, when you die, you wait a few seconds then you spawn at a predetermined spawn location. In MAG, when you die, you bleed out. During this 30 second countdown (I know it's 30 seconds because I timed it), in which you're writhing around the ground in agony, another player can trot along to your position, point his or her medical kit at your body and revive you, granting you a second chance.

Again, that's fine. MAG encourages players to revive each other by granting twice as many experience points for doing so than for a standard kill. But - and this is our experience – healing is a rare occurrence. The overall feeling is one of boredom as you wait half a minute for a revive that never comes. Sigh.

Exacerbating this problem is MAG's rolling spawn system: players spawn every 20 seconds; you have to wait for this countdown to end before getting back in the action. This, in combination with the bleed out system often means you're out of the action for up to 50 seconds. 50 seconds! That's almost long enough to make a cup of tea, or, well, go on the internet and do that thing no-one likes to admit they're doing.

MAG's unforgiving nature, coupled with the amount of time you spend waiting to spawn, makes the game awfully frustrating. This is how most of our game modes felt: sprint for a minute to get back into the action, fire some shots, get killed by a sniper holed up behind some rock half a mile away, wait nearly a minute to respawn, rinse and repeat.

There are a number of simple gameplay additions that would have made MAG better in this regard. Why not have infinite sprint, for example? Not particularly realistic, but, let's be honest, MAG isn't particularly realistic, anyway. Or why not display the rolling spawn countdown as you bleed out, so you can time your spawn just before it resets? Or how about being able to do something meaningful while you wait to spawn, like check out other players and their load outs, or get some tips on the game mode you're playing? That alone would have improved the experience immensely.

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146 Comments

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Highest Rated Comment

rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ wryte

Did you join up just to post that rubbish.

"your retarded"

Not correct btw, if you are going to call people "retarded" do it right.


Idiot.
Posted 22:00 on 30 January 2010

User Comments

isamanta3's Avatar

isamanta3

free full game download require
Posted 05:39 on 10 August 2010
TheSkipper's Avatar

TheSkipper

Your review only makes me want to play this game [if I ever go with a console]. It sounds to me like the same issue we have in most multiplayer online games...

Which is that people want to play warriors without having any clue what that means. They don't want to stick together, work as a team, learn even a few solid squad tactics or do anything else but hit the ground running and get themselves killed as quickly as possible.

If you want to be a warrior you have to prepare yourself with knowledge, discipline...and the right equipment!

It is the developers' fault that the people don't have headsets?

What modern or ancient warrior walks onto a battlefield with a keyboard? If you're not communicating with a few hand singles then you're communicating with your voice! Thus the reason deaf-mutes aren't allowed in the military!

Furthermore, don't cry about not being in a clan or being stuck with people without microphones. Create a clan that is *microphone required* and lay down some core rules about what won't be tolerated in terms of lack teamwork. Take the initiative and stop crying.
Posted 00:11 on 04 March 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Karlius

Yeah there was too much arse kissing lol
Posted 17:47 on 08 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ rbevanx

***** you Bev you big me up to hit me down. lol

Cheers GeNeCyDe I thought it was a good mini review I promised I'd give my view.
Posted 17:45 on 08 February 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ GeNeCyDe1993

I know it's totally childish and unfair.

If anything he's the smartest person here about the current gen games and tech.

He is a MS fanboy though lol.
Posted 17:40 on 08 February 2010
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993@ Karlius

I just love the TD for Karlius when in a way he was trying to defend the game
Posted 17:34 on 08 February 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ wyp100

He's not even worth your effort Wes lol.
Posted 17:29 on 08 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Finally played this on Sat. I think I'll call it a diamond in the rough. There is a great game in there somewhere but without the right techniques for extracting that diamond its just a dull rock. Games seemed hit and miss and without a mic difficult to get the best out of the game.

After spending so much time working as a team in Gears 2 I can see how this game could provide a similar experience. While the mechanics aren't as refined and there are a few too many game-play failures for my liking. But these will certainly be tweaked with time.

Gears 2 is now on Title Update 5 and when it was released had problems not as big problems but problems and as a first effort MAG is a great start and i'm sure it will be supported. I'll play it again.
Posted 17:27 on 08 February 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis

http://uk.gamespot.com/ps3/action/ma...opslot;title;1

Its certainly getting more nearer 8's on other sites, which is a great score for an online only game.
Posted 09:17 on 03 February 2010
wyp100's Avatar

wyp100@ greensaskuatch

Your post seems coherent, so I'll respond to your criticism.

Quote:
The respawn system is completely misrepresented in this review. I cannot believe the reviewer offering a supposedly unbiased opinion would suggest the spawn time is 50 seconds. 50 seconds is the absolute maximum, and this has actually NEVER OCCURRED ONCE in my playing (over 10 hours now). You would have to get shot and have a maximum bleed out (30 seconds) with EXACTLY 10 seconds left on the team respawn counter for this to EVER happen; which is next to impossible.

I don't think I have misrepresented the spawn system. What everyone seems to forget is that the game encourages you to sit out the bleed out and wait for a revive. I did this as often as possible. And occasionally this would result in a 50 second wait when added to the rolling spawn. But really, even if it is only 15 seconds, or ten seconds, or whatever, I feel that this is too long to sit out and it frustrates me. Zipper has acknowledged this.

Quote:
In addition, I truly question the dedication of this reviewer. Suggesting that team work is not possible without mics is also a huge falsehood. Your objective is CLEARLY marked, and a good portion of players have also been playing since Beta (similar numbers online, and I would imagine like me, many beta players bought the game).

The review talks about identifying squad leaders quickly and easily and FRAGO commands, not where your objective is. Indeed, the game is poorly explained throughout. You can't expect every MAG player to have sunk hours into the beta.

Quote:
Additionally the level system: You make no reference to how in many ways it is far superior to the unbelievably imbalanced MW2 system.

Actually, the review praises the level system, in the caption on the second page.

Quote:
I don't see how our reviewer can commend MW2

What? The review says the experience system and upgrade system is influenced by Modern Warfare, which it is. Almost every FPS is.

Quote:
Lastly, as evident by the reviewers mention of ONLY ONE GAME MODE (Sabotage, which unlocks at level 2) betrays the fact that you have likely played this game very little.

I'm not going to dignify that with a response. Oh wait...
Posted 09:57 on 02 February 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I could not care any less to be honest.

Why don't people (particularly those who have played it), continue discussion about the game instead of flinging poo about Wes's review?
Posted 09:02 on 02 February 2010
Nolgan's Avatar

Nolgan

review lies, respaw 50 seg

video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt7_xWj8ZNI

all next review lies too
Posted 23:52 on 01 February 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu@ greensaskuatch

I have to agree, sorry wes, although your review was very good I just have to simply agree with this guys face noise.
Posted 20:15 on 01 February 2010
greensaskuatch's Avatar

greensaskuatch

The respawn system is completely misrepresented in this review. I cannot believe the reviewer offering a supposedly unbiased opinion would suggest the spawn time is 50 seconds. 50 seconds is the absolute maximum, and this has actually NEVER OCCURRED ONCE in my playing (over 10 hours now). You would have to get shot and have a maximum bleed out (30 seconds) with EXACTLY 10 seconds left on the team respawn counter for this to EVER happen; which is next to impossible.

Regardless, people (our reviewer included) seem to forget that the most successful online FPS of all time, could have respawns in intervals of SEVERAL MINUTES! Do people forget so readily about how COUNTER STRIKE WORKS!? Did that deter reviewers from excellent reviews (surely a couple games of the year), indeed did it stop a massive community from forming?

Seriously, tut tut Wes, spending FOUR paragraphs lamenting the respawn system; and further more, totally misrepresenting it! Suggesting that this respawn system is a cardinal sin (you use this saying and immediately launch into your 4 paragraph tirade) is absolutely ridiculous.

In addition, I truly question the dedication of this reviewer. Suggesting that team work is not possible without mics is also a huge falsehood. Your objective is CLEARLY marked, and a good portion of players have also been playing since Beta (similar numbers online, and I would imagine like me, many beta players bought the game).

Furthermore suggesting that people rarely heal is another huge falsehood. In most games take a look at the top of the leaderboards; 0 kills 10-20 deaths, but 1200 xp? How do you think those players gain that kind of xp? HEALING.

Indeed it seems the reviewer simply played the first game mode (others unlock at level 2 and beyond) in which most players would NOT have medical kits, and most players would be level 1; maybe 2.

Additionally the level system: You make no reference to how in many ways it is far superior to the unbelievably imbalanced MW2 system. You have to buy and unlock upgrades, perks, etc. Now each weapon, equipment, attachment has a point value with a maximum of 3000 points; so you do not end up with a guy with a .50 cal sniper running around with akimbo shotguns; or a fully loaded assault rifle with fully loaded secondaries, grenades, smoke grenades, etc.

I don't see how our reviewer can commend MW2 (suggesting that it influenced MAG; Bad Company would be a more fair inspiration) in some areas of the review, but lament the "brutally hardcore" nature of this shooter.

Further: no regenerating health system when you hide behind a rock? Use your MEDICAL KIT. It isn't just for kicks; but has a dedicated purpose.

Lastly, as evident by the reviewers mention of ONLY ONE GAME MODE (Sabotage, which unlocks at level 2) betrays the fact that you have likely played this game very little.

Realistically, when all this is taken into consideration (the reviewers main lamentations being too hardcore, and too long respawns) the game deserves an 8 at least based on technical achievements.
Posted 20:03 on 01 February 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Well this thread has sure evolved since I last visited it.

Points good made very sense +1.

Made very bad sense points -2.

Oh, and chitty chitty bang bang.
Posted 09:52 on 01 February 2010

Game Stats

MAG: Massive Action Game
7
Out of 10
MAG: Massive Action Game
  • Technically impressive
  • Thrilling when played as intended
  • Often frustrating and uncoordinated
  • Too much downtime
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/01/2010
Platform: PS3
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: MMO Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 858
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