MAG Review


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MAG is an acronym for Massive Action Game and boy is it massive, full of action and erm… a game. Sporting 256 player battles, the only game to do so this generation, MAG offers something truly exceptional to differentiate itself from the rest of the FPS market. Fortunately Zipper has designed the game from the ground up to accommodate the high number of players by dividing them up into squads. Each 128 man team is made up of 4 platoons that consist of 32 players; these are then broken down into 8 man squads, which is what you’ll be focusing on at first. The leaders of these squads and platoons is decided by rank, so the more experienced players will be issuing out the orders to the inexperienced pretty much like a real life army…

To level up in MAG is a similar process to Killzone 2 with experience points being given out for killing, healing and repairing along with completing objectives and certain tasks like getting 10 headshots in a match or repairing 3 gates. Ranking up also unlocks game modes as at first you are not able to take part in the full 256 player battles instead you have to unlock them through a series of smaller sized games until you can participate, don’t worry though as it does not take long to reach rank 8. The collection of experience points offers similar rewards as RPGs like World of Warcraft by rewarding time spent in the game as much as by performing well. Earning more points allows you to spend them on attributes like upgrading weapons or unlocking equipment like gun sights or acoustic sensors. It’s addictive as you always want the next upgrade and what you choose really influences your character’s skills making you specialize in particular areas as you can’t unlock everything until rank 60.

The main problem with MAG though is the guidance through all of this, or lack of. There is a very basic training operation at the start which tells you how to use the controls and that’s it. You’re left to jump into the deep end and figure it all out. They don’t even warn you before choosing a faction that it can influence your weapons you use and the maps you defend and at present they seem to be unbalanced with S.V.E.R. severely holding the upper hand. However, I can see this being balanced out in the future with more people buying the game and the fact that you can change faction when you hit level 60 (something you have to do to earn all trophies). The biggest thing to learn though, which is only explained in some text pages is how to command a squad, I can’t speak about platoons as I have not yet reached the adequate rank to be a platoon leader but I can tell you about leading a squad.

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As squad commander you are able to choose what you’re current objective is allowing you to decide which point of interest is of most importance and the ability to call in mortars and cluster bombs. You can access these commands via the d-pad or more usefully through the map by pressing select. By selecting an objective you determine the FRAGO (FRAGmentary Order) which offers bonus experience points to your squad when they operate on or around the objective. This means higher scores so whilst a squad is not forced to obey the leader’s instructions; there is a big reward to do so, which by and large works as I have nearly always played with a tight squad. One of the most satisfying feelings in MAG is when you command a squad and you succeed in your objectives, it might not be down to your leadership but you’ll always feel proud of what your squad has achieved.

The meat and potatoes of MAG are not so highly refined, graphics have been paired down to accommodate 256 players on massive maps, the guns too feel weak with little kickback or tactile feeling and the menus too are a bit bland. The world also feels a little static, whilst there may be billowing smoke and moving leaves the water doesn’t react to anything and there’s little in the way of bullet holes in surfaces etc. Luckily all these problems are small and whilst they never go away and you always notice them the game still shines through. Rarely have I experienced any lag, certainly none that would ruin the experience or render in unplayable and nor was there any notable slow down, even in the most chaotic of fire fights MAG is still perfectly playable and fun.

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MAG is a very different game to the other shooters out there, compare it to Modern Warfare 2 and you’ll notice it has a slower pace and is more team orientated. You have to approach MAG in a different way to the fast and frantic shooters but once you understand how it works you can get a lot out of it. I’m very intrigued to see where MAG will be in a few months time, I hope there will be a strong community but with only 4 game modes and a small selection of maps it’s going to need some DLC to help prolong its life. MAG is definitely a lot of fun but ultimately will live or die by its community, if players invest the headsets and time then it can be a real blast and with the fun I’ve had so far I hope the PSN community embraces MAG too.

*MAG was played for 16 hours reaching rank 30 out of 60 for the faction S.V.E.R. Tested all modes, vehicles, using all weapons, equipment and squad leader actions available.

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of MAG provided by Zipper Interactive.


Written by: Trev - Contributing Editor


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  1. #1 by bmore2bstuy on February 4th, 2010

    I love MAG plain and simple…it’s the kind of game I’ve been looking forward to for a long time…and thanks to Sony for allowing their devs to do something a lil different on a console…Is it perfect?? No…but I think that we’re just seeing just beginning to see what MAG will grow to be….re: the community….I think we’ll be just fine…Warhawk….continues to have over 100+ daily active CTF servers up daily…and I still have to fight to get into the official servers. Suffice it to say I was on MW2 hard and haven’t really been back since….might pick it back up again….but I’ll be on MAG for a minute.

  2. #2 by Blackstaffer on February 4th, 2010 [ 7211 Points ]

    I tried the beta and I was very disoriented. It was off-putting to say the least. Nothing is explained, and there were still some things I didn’t understand by the time I finished trying the beta.

    How many maps are there? I would hope there’s at least eight. Four game modes is pretty slim picking, that’s for sure.

  3. #3 by Trieloth on February 4th, 2010 [ 3426 Points ]

    This game (for me) is the best FPS I have ever played , and I play them all…even Halo. The game gets my heart pounding, especially when I get a big kill streak and the music starts rockn. I really like the large amount of people and the chaos. There still are campers but its not as bad as MW2. I can rant about MW2 and its flaws but meh.

  4. #4 by Trev on February 4th, 2010 [ 26623 Points ]

    Blackstaffer: How many maps are there? I would hope there’s at least eight. Four game modes is pretty slim picking, that’s for sure.  

    The map count is 12. With 4 for each faction. So you always defend the same 4 maps and attack the other 8.

  5. #5 by Smegmazor on February 4th, 2010

    What MAGnificent Valor!

  6. #6 by Gradly on February 4th, 2010 [ 85 Points ]

    lool I really liked this game

  7. #7 by JimmyMagnum on February 4th, 2010 [ 83111 Points ]

    I was at Wal Mart the other day and there were only 2 copies left. MAG has been getting a lot of mediocre reviews, unfortunately (probably because it’s not meant to be mainstream, and mainstream games seem to always get good scores, almost like it’s an unspoken rule for reviewers lol), so it probably won’t sell as many as they’d like.

    I don’t have the money for the game, though, but I would like to give it a try. Definitely takes some getting used to. Compared to the beta, though, how much better are the visuals, because those were definitely pretty meh lol

  8. #8 by Royalty32 on February 5th, 2010

    Today is the day i get my new ps3 slim 120gb. I cant wait, ill be pickin up MAG and Darksiders. Playing them on a Samsung HDTV Full 1080p LED 1.2 in thin and did i mention it is 46in. Im so pumped. cant wait to play online. I know ive been a dic to evrybody here and once again i apologize but if yall got MAg i wouldnt mind playin with yall. Ill prolly be SVER or VALOR and my psn id will prolly be KingJames32.

  9. #9 by Steffan on February 5th, 2010

    My ps3 has just been hacked then I received this message:

    “A nasty little hacker by the name of KILLA_KIWI has discovered a new exploit for the PS3 similar to a virus. Problems start when you join a game with KILLA_KIWI or a chat room. Shortly after your PS3 will freeze regularly and display the error “hard drive corrupt” It is still unknown how KK hacks the PS3 but we think he is using a custom program through Linux. Numerous accounts have been hacked and credit csard details stolen.”

    I was playing MAG and this KILLA_KIWI was in my squad. AFter 10 mins my PS3 froze up so I restarted then got the message above. I then checked my credit card and $300 dollars had been spent on PSN all in the space of about 30 mins.
    Is this a problem with MAG?
    As you can imagine I am really ticked off

  10. #10 by Royalty32 on February 5th, 2010

    OMG man sorry to here that. Its ppl like that who make me just wanna rip there heads off. I hope u get everythimg bsck on track. Best luck to ya! Keep ya head up as well, dont let this dumb ass person bring u down.

  11. #11 by Trev on February 5th, 2010 [ 26623 Points ]

    Steffan: My ps3 has just been hacked then I received this message:“A nasty little hacker by the name of KILLA_KIWI has discovered a new exploit for the PS3 similar to a virus. Problems start when you join a game with KILLA_KIWI or a chat room. Shortly after your PS3 will freeze regularly and display the error “hard drive corrupt” It is still unknown how KK hacks the PS3 but we think he is using a custom program through Linux. Numerous accounts have been hacked and credit csard details stolen.”I was playing MAG and this KILLA_KIWI was in my squad. AFter 10 mins my PS3 froze up so I restarted then got the message above. I then checked my credit card and $300 dollars had been spent on PSN all in the space of about 30 mins.
    Is this a problem with MAG?
    As you can imagine I am really ticked off  

    I’m sorry to hear that, have you tried contacting Sony to get some help?

    On topic, I’ve noticed Raven starting to put up a fight in the overall scores, might want to not take too much notice to my statement that S.V.E.R. are dominating.

  12. #12 by JimmyStewart on February 6th, 2010 [ 710 Points ]

    The idea of MAG sounds really appealing on paper, but it sounds like something that’s just no for me in practice. I just want to get online to and shoot dudes, the idea of syncing up with teenagers on headsets and communicating just doesn’t appeal to me. I understand how it could appeal to some, and initially I enjoyed it occasionally in the early days of XBox Live. But now a days I just don’t have time to mess with all that, I just want to get online and play some team deathmatch with a bare minimum of communication between me and my people. I have a headset for the 360, and a bluetooth ear piece that would work with the PS3… but you’ll never catch me using either of them in any game setting.

  13. #13 by EdEN on February 8th, 2010 [ 136069 Points ]

    When a game is mostly online based… well, that almost makes it a non-purchase on my side. What happens once the servers are shutdown two years from now? Or once everyone has moved on from the game? What are you left with then?


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