MAG Beta Impressions


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Beta

This is still “beta”, but since it’s less than a month away from release, I can assume this is fairly representative of the final product.

I expect a few bugs and kinks to be worked out before the final release, but I expect the bulk of the game to remain the same.

Lack of Polish

Compared to the other great competitive multiplayer shooters on PS3 (Modern Warfare 2, Killzone 2, and Uncharted 2 are among the best), MAG is definitely the least polished of the bunch. The lobby, perks, upgrades, weapons, secondary abilities, control polish, the artwork, animations, the UI screens, and all the subtle implementation details are much less refined than the competition.

This is surprising since this game had such a long dev cycle, it is competitive multiplayer ony, and this comes from the team originally responsible for the runaway success of the SOCOM series in the PS2 days.

Teamwork

The big strong point of this game is the team dynamics and strategy. Most shooters have some type of squad system, but they usually don’t matter, and the real action is basically a bunch of indepedent players.

In MAG, squads are controlled by human leaders and they have a very noticeable impact on the ebb and flow of battle. You actually care who your squad leader is, and you can feel a coordinated team strategy.

In all the preview coverage, the developers stress the 256 player count, and talk about the game’s back story. Forget that: the back story is throwaway, the game is basically team A vs B, and the real point to this game is the strategic team dynamics that go with the large player count and the human chain of command system.

Unique Blend of Fun

This game has a lot of flaws, but I still had a lot of fun playing it. In addition to the teamwork elements, a lot of the details of the game just felt fun and different from what I’m used to playing.

There are tons of multiplayer shooters out there, and while this isn’t the best, and probably has the most flaws, I had more fun with this than most games, and it is really worth playing.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by Ves on January 10th, 2010

    That is how I’ve felt about the game as well. It’s by far not the best FPS out there but it more fun then most of them.

  2. #2 by Fleakitten on January 10th, 2010

    Sounds like MAG is shaping up to be a flop. It’ll sell a million by the end of 2010 I predict.

  3. #3 by kingjames32 on January 10th, 2010

    One word, FAILURE. MAG is a complete waste of time. This game is not fun at all. The graphics suck the controls suck and the experience suck. You’ll be better of playing Killzone2, MW2 and U2 than this game. This game deserves and EPIC FAIL even for an beta.

  4. #4 by Darrin on January 10th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    I would also pick MW2, KZ2, and U2 as the best three competitive shooters on PS3. They are definitely better games overall, but honestly I’d still put MAG as a worthy #4 on that list for the moment.

    I’ll have to see if I still like it as the community develops, and I level up enough to try the different game modes, and squad leader positions.

    BTW, a million is a lot of units. That’s not really a flop. Maybe by old SOCOM standards.

  5. #5 by SL33PY on January 11th, 2010 [ 2371 Points ]

    Little mistake in the article, section “Lack of polish”, first sentance, PS2 should be PS3… I think ;)

  6. #6 by Jeremy on January 11th, 2010

    i never understood they respawn times. why is it sometimes 3 seconds then sometimes 18?

  7. #7 by Smegmazor on January 11th, 2010

    MAG is the best game to grace the FPS genre. After playing the beta I’ll never play MW2 again. All of those other games make it easy for a player to play as a one-man-commando and MAG forces people to work as a team. Otherwise, the team with the least use of strategy will fail .

    The graphics are not up to par with a game like COD, but that’s not what’s important. It’s the gameplay that keeps fans of tactical shooters addicted. Just because a game doesn’t have that plastic look to it doesn’t mean anything at all.

    I’ve noticed that many COD, Killzone, Battlefield etc.. fans were disappointed in MAG. Well, that’s because it’s not a run n’ gun game where the most important thing is player’s K/D ratio.

    Zipper did a fantastic job and I’m so looking forward to the release on the 26th.

  8. #8 by Royalty32 on January 11th, 2010

    @Smegmazor r u kiddin me. Ive played the beta and its complete TRASH. The graphics suck to be a ps3 game. The gameplay is terrible, the way u throw a grenade is completly stupid as hell and the biggest disappointment is that is NOT FUN to play, at all. If i cant enjoy the game then there is no point to play. MAG definitly deserves an major EPIC FAIL. Yes 256 players is an huge accomplishment but it doesnt matter if the game is terrible. Maybe MAG 2 will be better……..If they even earn enough dough from the first………Doubt it.

  9. #9 by Emrah on January 11th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    I had more fun playing MAG than Killzone 2, because I don’t like frag fests.. I spent a lot of time playing Killzone 2, enjoyed it to some extent, but everytime I stopped and listened to the game, I just heard a cacaphony of gunplay. MAG was a lot fun to play with a good team, and once you get to call the shots as team leader, it was even better.

  10. #10 by Kenneth Harris on January 11th, 2010

    @smegmazor….damn you for essentially saying what I was going to say. I just wanna say that from the very beginning that I’m really digging MAG. I was a big fan of Warhawk (says a lot about my judgement I suppose) and have been looking for a online multiplayer game that really focuses in on the teamwork aspect of war. I had been excited by the concept of MAG from way back at that initial E3. I’ve been in the various beta phases since about the 2nd wave and I have to say that I’ve seen MAG come along quite a bit. Is it perfect no….are the graphics superior…no. But for me at least it sure is fun. Before this open beta and right after MW2 dropping I was concerned about MAGs ability to compete with all the other bigger FPS names. But from the community participation from the open beta I think things will be just fine. Also its important to remember that this is STILL BETA and not the final product. In fact, I had a friend that went to Vegas and said that he heard from the devs that the game will go through a another graphics improvement for the final build. Frankly compared to what they started out as I’m compeletely fine with the graphics now. I played a game wit a couple buddies on the same squad the other day and it was just awesome calling stuff out….working together….plotting/raiding. As mentioned earlier…if you’re all about the run and gun you’ll like the others…if you desire more of a team atmospher then you’ll probably like MAG.

  11. #11 by Kenneth Harris on January 11th, 2010

    oh also I want to say that…the 256 players was never really that important to me…..but the leadership component and team atmosphere is what makes MAG really shine. A good game of domination though simulates the real insanity and chaos of war unlike any other game I know though. Shit is crazy!!!

  12. #12 by Trieloth on January 11th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    I really really like MAG. I have alot of fun. Its alot better than that pile of shit called Modern Warfare 2. I dont feel like explaining why I like it cuz it dont matter…I know people get there butt handed to them so they hate it, that isnt you know is it?

  13. #13 by Emrah on January 11th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    I hated warhawk, tho..

  14. #14 by Royalty32 on January 11th, 2010

    @Trieloth u r insane if u think that MAG is has a better multiplayer than MW2. Ive been playin the MAG beta since Jan 4th and it SUCKS. There is no enjoyment in this game.

  15. #15 by matt on January 11th, 2010

    I just hope it gets decent reviews. For this to work you need a good amount of units sold. Who wants to wait for games when there aren’t enough players. If it drops to 64 or 32 player matches then it defeats the point of 256.

    My favorite multiplayer game of all time on consoles was Return to Castle Wolfenstein on the original Xbox. You had to communicate and work together to win as a team. I hope this is similar to the experiences with RTCW and I will pick it up.

    So far it seems like a Love/Hate type of experience, which isn’t the worst thing in the world.

  16. #16 by Royalty32 on January 11th, 2010

    Just a gamer question. 2010 is a new year with a bunch of good games coming out. I had a ps3 slim and it was awsome online was pretty cool to and U2 is without a doubt the best game Ive ever played besides MGS4 and Gears of War. I wanna stick with PS but the 360 has alot of good exclusives this year. Such as ME 2, SC:Conviction, Alan Wake, Halo Reach etc.. Now then again God Of War 3 is coming out right around my b-day, played the demo and OMFG its AWSOME. Havent heard to much of PS exclusives besides WKC, FF 14, and the RStar game Agent. Everybody tells me that online is way better on 360, plus they have project natal. My question is which console should i get??? I like BR-Disc and the free online for PS but i wouldnt mind payin $50 a yr for something that is better and games tend to look better on 360 jus look at Beyonetta. They both have pros and cons, so somebody plz help me. I know this is PS3blog.net but gve ur honest opioions. Dont jus say ps3 is better because ur on this website.

  17. #17 by Trieloth on January 11th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    @Royalty at the gamer question. If your a “Gamer” get both systems. Then you can play what ever you want…like me. They are both cheap enough. But if I had to pick, it would be PS3 all the way.

  18. #18 by Royalty32 on January 11th, 2010

    i hear u on gettin both the systems, but i dont wanna fork out $600 for two systems that i prolly jus buy there respective exclusives. So far i only see one worthy exclusive for PS which is God Of War 3 and maybe Heavy Rain. 360 is stacked with exclusives with ME 2, Alan Wake, SC:Conviction and Halo Reach. So Trieloth why should i go wit ps3 instead of 360.

  19. #19 by Smegmazor on January 11th, 2010

    Royalty32, I’m definitely not kidding you. Obviously, you’re into a different type of shooter, the sort that tends to bore me to death. Sure COD was a fun Popshooter for a couple of months, but nothing as epic as MAG.

    If running n’ gunning is your thing, stay away from MAG, as it’s probably the best team based tactical shooter to hit next gen. You can’t play it with a Rambo mindset or you’re just going to get killed a lot. Perhaps that’s why you didn’t have fun.

    Also, there were a lot of new jacks playing (myself included) the public beta for the first time. Things were very chaotic at first and there weren’t many medics or squad leaders that new what they were doing. Naturally, that changed over the course of the week. People were starting to understand how the game modes worked and the matches became truly epic.

    Damn, I’m jonesing like a heroin addict for the 26th. ****ing MAGnificent.

  20. #20 by Royalty32 on January 11th, 2010

    @Smegmazor, MAG is complete GARBAGE. From graphics to gameplay its jus terrible. Even the way u throw an gernade is dumb as hell. MAG is by no means EPIC, it has way to many flaws to be an epic game. U2 is epic, Batman:AA is epic even Demon’s Souls is epic. MAG is just a good concept gone trash. 256 players is epic but it doesnt matter if the game is terrible. MAG=EPIC FAIL for sure.

  21. #21 by Darrin on January 11th, 2010 [ 17143 Points ]

    Take the PS3/360 debate to the forums

    Royalty, you can dislike the game but that doesn’t mean that others didn’t find something they liked for a legitimate reason. I dislike tons of games that other people love.

  22. #22 by Smegmazor on January 11th, 2010

    Royalty32, it’s a good thing your opinion won’t affect the waves of new MAG fans who’ve come to love the game. Had it been actual “GARBAGE”, everyone would have the same conclusion as you. As it stands, MAG has just gained a lot of new fans and I don’t know any GARBAGE game that has that effect.

    Good luck with the Popshooters.

  23. #23 by Tosh on January 11th, 2010 [ 1102 Points ]

    Darrin: Take the PS3/360 debate to the forumsRoyalty, you can dislike the game but that doesn’t mean that others didn’t find something they liked for a legitimate reason. I dislike tons of games that other people love.  

    I agree with Darrin.

  24. #24 by kingjames32 on January 11th, 2010

    I agree with Royalty. If u put MAG up against any good multiplayer shooter it has no chance. MW2, KZ2 and U2 blows it out of the water 10 fold.

  25. #25 by Trieloth on January 11th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    omg you said the 360 has a stack of games coming lol.
    Sorry but how is 9 vs 9 worth giving a **** about? MW2 is weak.

  26. #26 by Sam on January 11th, 2010

    MAG is a better overall experience. the author of this post really should have given us more info like what team they played ad, what type of character, and what level they got to.

    The teams all have different menus and UI. playing as Raven they were VERY sleek. you also didn’t mention the intense clan support that this game touts. no other game comes close to it.

    I only got to level 29 but its hard for me to play MW2 after this experience. the graphics may not be up to snuff but knowing i am in a 256 or 64 player battle that has absolutely ZERO lag eases my mind. a lot of people also hate this game because they can’t get kills streaks like they can in COD. this game has ZERO auto aim, unlike any other shooter you named. the clan/squad/tactis aspects of this game(for me) make it far superior than any other shooter besided bad company 2.

    Also, i am a sucker for any game i can play support.

  27. #27 by Sam on January 11th, 2010

    hhaha Royalty, if you are going for exclusives… dont go to 360. there are like 4 or 5 the whole year. ps3 has 8 or so just by april or may at least.but you also think MAG is garbage so i dont know what to think of you.

  28. #28 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    Im not sayin MAG is garbage jus because. Ive been playin the beta which is pretty clode to final product. I mean c’mon ppl in comes out Jan 26th, u cant tell me that the beta wont be the final product. Anyway the total experience of MAG is BORING and it doesnt excite me.

  29. #29 by Kenneth Harris on January 12th, 2010

    well I’m telling you that the beta is not final product…and so does the start up screen at the beginning of the beta…and as I said earlier…I have a friend that went to the meet-up in Las Vegas and talked to the devs and they said that the games graphics will be upgraded in the final build. By how much I don’t know…but I take my friend at his word. So we’ll have to just wait and see…anybody that wants to add me…..psn=bmore2bstuy….see u on the battlefield.

  30. #30 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    **** MAG and **** PS. The only game worthy on this console is GoW 3 and maybe Heavy Rain. Ima say it again and again MAG ****in SUCKS. Im switchin to Xbox360. Project Natal will kill Sony’s Magic Wand bull$#it (fake-ass wii mote). ME 2, SC:Conviction, Alan Wake and we all know Halo Reach will rule this yr. **** PS3Blog.net.

  31. #31 by Smegmazor on January 12th, 2010

    GOW 3 the only worthy game on this console? How do expect anyone to take you seriously?

  32. #32 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    Im sayin comin out in 2010 jackass. 360 rules and ill be buy an elite pretty soon. See u guys on a lag less online……. Oh no i wont because ps3 is a complete lag-fest. Punks

  33. #33 by Kenneth Harris on January 12th, 2010

    lmao…I figged it would devolve to this….clearly someone wants attention….and I’m no longer providing. Anyone want to talk further about MAG…hit me up.

  34. #34 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    Bite me Kenneth Harris. Ur jus mad because MAG sucks and u wish it was as good as halo or even MW2 on 360 of course.

  35. #35 by Emrah on January 12th, 2010 [ 7319 Points ]

    You know the site is getting popular when you have angry kids trying to get some attention.

  36. #36 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    @ EVERYONE LISTEN UP. Im not bashin the ps3 for no reason. Yes it was the best console of 09 i admit that. From games like U2 and Demons Souls it really made the ps3 shine last year, but those are the two key words LAST YEAR. Yes it has built in wi-fi and blu-ray and 7.1 surround sound and the GOTY in U2 and free online. Thats all good and erthing but xbox live is better and it has to many games for young and old ppl alike. So no im not hatin jus statin facts. Plus some ppl must of forgot bout Gears 3

  37. #37 by Smegmazor on January 12th, 2010

    Seriously? Jackass? No wonder you think MAG is garbage. Young children don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend the strategies involved. You’re probably really excited for the new sonic the hedgehog game, aren’t you, Royalty32.

  38. #38 by Smegmazor on January 12th, 2010

    I thought this was PS3blog.net?

  39. #39 by Royalty32 on January 12th, 2010

    Who isnt ready for the next sonic game, espcially if they do it rite and stop the BS they’ve been puttin out. PS3 is a beastly machine for sure but it means nothin if nothin is comin out of it meaning games. Not relatin that to this past yr but the ps3 is jus now starting to get hot and its been out for what 3-4 yrs now. Besides exclusives mutiplatform games always shine on 360 ( Beyonetta). U know what enough trash talk we’ll jus see at the end of 2010 who will be on top. GEARS 3 is coming and its brigin evry chainsaw gun with it.

  40. #40 by JimmyMagnum on January 12th, 2010 [ 83111 Points ]

    lmao@royalty32, just leave! the only person who agrees with you is your alter ego kingjames32

  41. #41 by I am Legend on January 13th, 2010

    @ Royalty32 do me a favor and go away. I havent played MAG myself but its jus the beta not the final product. So u really cant say it s garbage when there not even done with the game. Jan 26 is right around the corner. Go play then give us ur REVIEW dont bash it because ur an 360 lover. 360 is a great console as well but this is PS3blog.net go to the xbox website.

  42. #42 by Matt on January 13th, 2010

    Piss off royalty32

  43. #43 by Matt on January 13th, 2010

    U r a fanboy wishing xbox had a 256 multiplayer game. Piss off!

  44. #44 by I am Legend on January 13th, 2010

    I havent played MAG, but is it true that is has 256 players with no lag. IF so OMG! words cant describe how huge that is. Ur lucky enough gettin 64 players with no lag but 256………WOW! Go Sony

  45. #45 by Smegmazor on January 13th, 2010

    I am legend, all online games have some degree of lag, but MAG’s lag is not very noticeable. In fact, one would say there isn’t lag at all.

  46. #46 by I am Legend on January 13th, 2010

    I dnt own any console but plan on buyin one next month. My question is can the xbox 360 have up to that many players at once. Im sayin this because online is a huge part in my decision.

  47. #47 by Ewen Simpson on January 13th, 2010

    Seems like a really mixed bunch of comments about the open Beta. I’m trying to decide whether or not to order the game – I certainly enjoyed CoD4, and have yet to play MW2. Killzone 2 was one of my favourite shooters to play, but I understand the MAG must be completely different to play.

    The problem is, when you’ve got stupid fanboys like Royalty32 on here it’s quite hard to get a good, reasoned judgment from someone.

  48. #48 by Smegmazor on January 13th, 2010

    Ewen, if you’re into tactical shooters that require serious strategy to achieve the objective/s, then MAG is the game for you. The graphics aren’t polished looking as the MW games, but they’re not even close to being bad either. Too many people just compare the two graphically, and that’s certainly not what influences my decision to purchase a game.

    MAG can be a little overwhelming the first go around, but after a couple of hours one can totally get the hang of the gameplay and mission objectives.

    If you’re into running and gunning then COD is the game for you. I had a lot of fun with it since launch, but the gameplay became quite boring. There’s no real team organization and games are usually won based on high kill counts. There are mission based game modes as well, but nothing that forces you to play as a team like in MAG.

    Try checking out some beta videos online to get an idea of what MAG is all about.

  49. #49 by JimmyMagnum on January 13th, 2010 [ 83111 Points ]

    better yet, you can always rent the game first and base a decision off of that (I do this all the time, with Gamefly, and then you can buy the games you rented from gamefly at almost $20 off of the new price, and they will mail out the case for free as well)

  50. #50 by Smegmazor on January 13th, 2010

    I gotta get down with gamefly!

  51. #51 by I am Legend on January 13th, 2010

    Listen if u like the run n gun shooters then stick with MW2 but if u want somethin team based, somethin different then without a doubt buy this game. Now enough with the trash talk Royalty32. Go play your 360 and leave this website.

  52. #52 by Kenneth Harris on January 13th, 2010

    who knew that MAG would elicit all of these comments?? I wonder what the most amount of comments has been on this site?? In any case, anybody joining the MAG tournament??


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