MAG: Massive Action Game Review for PS3

Platform: PS3 Check Price
MAG feels bare bones. With no single-player component, barely functional menus and only four game modes, you're not getting much for your money.
MAG feels bare bones. With no single-player component, barely functional menus and only four game modes, you're not getting much for your money.

MAG feels bare bones. With no single-player component, barely functional menus and only four game modes, you're not getting much for your money.

Zipper will, of course, cry "COMMUNICATION!". MAG's all about communication, you see. It's not a game for lone wolves; the John Rambo types you often get in Halo. The game is best played when people are talking to each other on microphones, calling for revives, letting downed players know revives are coming, announcing FRAGO commands and generally all heading in the same direction.

The reality of the situation, however, is that most players aren't using headsets. This is our experience of the game, anyway, having played it since its US release on live servers. The odd player does, but most don't. The inescapable truth is that if you're not in a clan or taking MAG very seriously, it's not fun. If you were to play MAG with 127 mates it would probably be one of the most thrilling multiplayer experiences around, but we can't play it with 127 mates. We don't have 127 mates.

Again, there are a few simple tweaks Zipper might have implemented that would have made MAG more enjoyable for the headset-less or the clan-less. Why not have your squad leader clearly identifiable, for example, so you can quickly and easily see where he or she is and make sure you're there, too, enjoying the FRAGO bonuses? Why not have an auto "I need a revive" call, or a quick to trigger "I'm coming!" call?

There are other problems. The controls are just bonkers. To get to your grenades, medical kit or repair kit, you have to cycle through your "Gear" with the L2 button. Why not throw a grenade at the press of a button? Again, not particularly realistic, but much more enjoyable. In MAG, if you're in the thick of it and you cook a grenade, you're already dead.

Put simply, MAG is an impressive technical achievement and a great idea, but it has been poorly executed. Hardly anything is explained. The woeful tutorial might as well not exist. The four game modes are a cacophony of failed and completed objectives that seem to bear no relation to what you're doing, or impact the overall goal. This problem is at its worst in the 256 player Domination mode, which really could have done with a video tutorial of some description.

MAG is a hardcore shooter, and will no doubt attract a small but loyal following as a result.

MAG is a hardcore shooter, and will no doubt attract a small but loyal following as a result.

It's a shame MAG suffers so, because buried underneath the rubble of frustration is a superb, unique, often thrilling shooter. When you find yourself in a chatty squad, one packed with players willing to revive each other, stick together and play smart, MAG's great, and unlike anything else. Unfortunately these joyous occasions are rare indeed.

The game modes are designed to keep squads apart, almost doing there own thing, until the match reaches its climax, when, basically, everyone runs at each other shooting – a bit like a 25-a-side next goal wins game of footie. Take Sabotage, the 64-player mode, for example. Here, one team defends A and B as the other team attacks. If A and B are taken at the same time, the action moves on to C, where all 32 defenders run to defend, and all 32 attackers run to attack. The idea is that as matches go on, you gradually feel less like your squad is fighting in its own little world and more like you're in a giant scrap fighting with hundreds of other players for survival. Here, the idea is realised.

And, from a technical point of view, MAG's impressive. Its graphics won't send anyone at DICE or Infinity Ward running for the hills, the environments and effects are bland, and there's loads of texture pop-in, but the fact that the framerate remains solid and everything looks crisp and clear, even in Domination mode, is impressive. We haven't experienced any noticeable lag, either, which is another plus. Everything you see in the war-torn maps is player driven, from billowing smoke clouds to burning turrets, from air strikes to parachuting enemy soldiers. Nothing is scripted, and that's spectacular.

The upshot of all this is that, like all MMOs, MAG is a work in progress. It's not the finished article by any means, and through updates Zipper may realise its potential. It needs more game modes, tweaks to the spawn system, better controls, and it needs to make everything a lot clearer for those who find clans and massive action intimidating. If it does this, MAG will gain a foothold and thrive. If it doesn't? Well, with Battlefield Bad Company 2 looming ominously over the horizon, MAG may find itself full of blanks.

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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

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: 852 64
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