MAG User Review
One of MAG's biggest critism has been it's graphics. For me, it is undeserved. When you take into account that some things must be sacrificed in order to deliver real time action for 256 players on a huge map, the graphics for such an undertaking are actually quite good. While they aren't at Modern Warfare standards, they couldn't qualify as last gen. What is also taken for granted are the animations. If a leader calls in an airstrike or a UAV, those things happen in real time. You will see the satellite up over head or the planes flying over head dropping the bombs. If it is shot out of the sky by an Anti Aircraft battery, that also will happen in real time and can be witnessed. Just little things like this are taken for granted, especially when the battle is raging and you hardly have enough time to get your bearings rather than gaze at the sky.
Which leads me into the Gameplay. The controls offer a standard FPS setup with L1 Aiming and R1 Firing, but throws in a little monkey wrench for you COD fans as switching gear is L2 and switching weapons is R2. It creates a little more realism as you have to actually cycle to grenades before throwing one with the R1 trigger or cycling to your Med Kit with the L2 and activating it with R1. The character movement can be manipulated to account for sway / or no sway while running, which is a nice little feature. The guns and gear have been in constant tweak mode by Zipper since it's release. Scott Rudi, Lead Designer for MAG and the resident Gun tweaker and buff is on record describing his displeasure with the Machine Gun in particular. The gun can be used as an all purpose weapon rather than its intended use of a suppressive firing weapon. However, you won't notice the imbalance if you happen to use the MG.
What sets the game apart from other first person war time shooters is the command structure. While it might take you sometime to earn a commanding role, it will be well worth it if you are an effective leader. Furthermore, the communication is also not paralled. Instead of being in a que with all the players, you will only be able to hear your squad of 8. (Unless your a leader) However, there is proximity chat to throw in all your trash talk while on the battle field. I like this method a lot better since most people are just plain annoying while waiting in a que.
The sound in MAG is well balanced across each faction. Each faction having it's own theme and style. Also, kill streaks and completing objectives is met with a riff from these theme songs giving the in-game music a nice touch. The guns, armaments, and explosions have depth and sound as they should. This leads to a hectic battle when all hell is breaking loose around you.
Where most people drop the game is with in the first 20 hours. This is not nearly enough time to give this game. First, your character will not have unlocked some of the truly beneficial perks and the maps are so huge that you will not be completely oriented to them in this amount of time. There are 3 modes with 3 maps for each. While the first mode, Sabotage is the smallest, it will still take a decent amount of time to get your bearings. In Acquisition (128 players), it will take double the time. In Domination (256 players), it will take double the time from that. That is not counting the time it will take for you to become an effective leader. Knowing what strategy to employ, getting people to follow your orders, and calling in the right strikes at the right time can all sway a battle. The best, most Epic games to be played in MAG are when these things are all happening. The worst games are when none of it is happening. I gaurantee, if you give this game the time you will not be disappointed. One Epic battle is all it takes.
I highly recommend playing MAG, but you are forwarned. To get the full enjoyment out of it, sign up on the MAG forum and read the MAG Ultimate Guide as you play. You will not regret either. MAG was the best 400 hours I've spent on my PS3 in a long time.
Replay Value: 9.0
Online Gameplay: 9.0
Overall Rating: 8.9
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.