Review: MAG: Massive Action Game

MAG is a game that pushed the boundaries of online console gaming as we know it, Putting in a game mode that allowed a massive 256 players in one game! Another first for this FPS genre was giving the responsibilities of strikes,objectives and planning to the player. You had roles such as squad leader, Platoon leader and the big one Officer In Charge. Each role gave the player additional abilities, Such as being able to talk to the whole squad, platoon or the whole army.

This game gave so much but didn’t favor well with a number of people. Some blame the graphics while some blamed the lack of “COD” in it. While many didnt even know it existed!. Poor DLC later in life didn’t help and Zipper made the mistake of listening to the wrong fans and effectively killing the very game we all knew and loved. DLC split the community and offered game modes that didn’t quite fit in with the original plan.

With no single player at all, This also turned people away who were not ready for an online only game on their home consoles. The entire combination of the good and bad ideas ultimately brought this game down in both ratings and player numbers. Numbers you needed to keep high in order for people to play the modes they wanted too.

Pros:

  • 256 players online in one game at the same time
  • No boundaries so you could roam the whole map
  • Huge varied maps
  • You could be in control of the whole army issuing orders and tactics
  • You  served a role and got rewarded for it, Meaning if you wanted to play it safe and just repair structures? Fine do that and still rank up like your team mates
  • The unlock system created a good balance of stealth versus all out attacker
  • Game modes were varied and you either attacked or defended your turf
  • 3 Factions to choose from, each with unique weapons and a back story
  • Pre patch 2.0 you were loyal to your chosen faction
  • Voice comms were and still are the best quality of in game communication in any ps3 game
  • Added clan support
  • Controls were simple
  • Added move support didn’t feel tacked on and actually improved the way you play the game
  • It had vehicles to help transport fellow soldiers
  • Added in game picture support
  • Had a website showing your stats
  • You would parachute in on your final objective
  • Prestige was available enabling you to earn more xp per game

 Cons:

  • Graphics were not great, Very bland and PS2 looking. Colour’s used were your greys and browns
  • Your first match alone could be a very daunting and isolated experience
  • The patches after patch 2.0 ruined the balance and feel of the game
  • The dlc didn’t really add to the experience and felt tacked on for the sake of it
  • Spawn camping on certain maps was horrendous, Could of easily been fixed
  • Getting sniped when parachuting in was a big problem
  • Team killing while accidental only got worse and the penalties were non existent
  • When they opened up all maps to everyone it cheapened the whole faction loyalty incentive
  • The user interface isn’t very clear for the new players
  • Waiting times for games could take ages if you joined the queue cycle at the wrong time
  • Possible to be stuck in the loop on match making and never get a game
  • No single player
  • When there was maintenance no one could play
For a quick to the point review, This one review has made a mockery of it. In my defense it is because the game was so so big. Also noting that Sony did zero advertising or promoting.
You will see patch 2.0 mentioned a fair bit, This is because it was a major update to the game. A lot of tweaks and fixes were added whilst also adding new features such as clan support, in game photo abilities and the ability to join multiple queues. And funny enough it was the last great patch they released! All patches after that were Zipper listening to what they thought, were the hardcore fans and in fact turned out to be trolls and piss takers turned the game into a mess. Totally unbalanced and its lost its whole feel and appeal.
They got rid of the faction loyalty, By that I mean as a member of a particular faction you had a map on each mode that was just yours that you would defend, But after all these “fixes” any faction could defend your base.
Any hopes of Sony getting it right and making MAG 2 have been ruined by the announcement that Zipper Interactive no longer exist. Its a huge huge shame as the game could of been even more epic. Zipper them selves stated many times that their server structure could handle more then 256 players in one game, And while the last lot of dlc allowed all 3 factions in one game at the same time this never got fully realised and implemented to a grand MAG level.
In short its probably too late to get into MAG unless you go in with some buddies, But if you do and you do enjoy it, You will get hooked and you will see why so many devoted players still play it. MAG offers what so many other shooters do not and a unique experience on a grand scale.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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