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PlayStation 3
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Publisher: Sony Classification: MA15+
Release Date:
11th February 2010
MAG Review
Review By @ 11:49am 22/02/10
Let me begin by saying that first-person shooters aren't really my forte. By no means does that mean that I'm horrible, as I've been taught by some of the best teachers available - Doom, Wolfenstein and more recently, Call of Duty. But compared to some of the players in the online community, I'm still very much a casual gamer. So this review will be from the perspective of the "average" gamer.

MAG has to be considered a very ambitious game, with the main drawcard being that it allows for up to 256 players to be on the one map, battling at the same time. Teams are divided into companies, which is then made up of four platoons. Platoons are divided up as four squads, with the squads being made up of up to eight players. Hope that all makes sense.

Set in the year 2025, a conflict known as the Shadow War rages on between three Private Military Contractors, otherwise known as PMC. The three factions are Raven, a group who are backed by defence industry giants, and rely on the high tech weapons and armour to fight their battles. The Valor is a group of veteran soldiers, who have served in the US, British and Mexican armed forces. And finally, the S.V.E.R. (short for Seryl Volk Executive Response), is more of a rag tag group that has a mix of veterans and civilians fighter.

You begin by pledging your alliance to one of the aforementioned factions. If you're not sure which group is best suited to you, they each have recruitment style videos to help you choose. Choose wisely as you'll be stuck with the faction you align yourself with for awhile. The next step is to choose what your character will look and sound like. This is a simple process, as there isn't a huge array of options to choose from.

There are four different modes, as well as a tutorial mission. Each game will take some time to complete, so be prepared for a hard slog. The different modes include Suppression which is a fight between fellow faction members. Sabotage has players either attacking or defending three targets. Acquisition is similar to Sabotage, except it has up to 128 players and it's vehicles you're trying to acquire or defend. Domination is the game with 256 players, and requires players to secure and hold on to several targets to accomplish the mission.

For someone unfamiliar with online games, I found the ease of joining games a positive experience. You join a queue, and wait for the allocated slots on the teams to fill up. In a first come, first served format, the two teams that first get the required number of players go into battle. Due to the amount of players online, I found the wait time for games wasn't too long.

The RPG element of the game was surprisingly deep. Levelling up is done by earning points during missions, with each addition of a level earning a skill point. Skill points are then assigned to different skill sets, with the assignment of the points determining the type of soldier you become. Add the majority of acquired points to the Sniper skill set, and you're classified as a sniper. As points can be earned for reviving teammates or completing objectives during games, classes such as medics level up at a faster rate.

Once a player reaches level 15 the game offers them a chance to take on a leadership role within the team. This is a good reward for those who persevere with MAG. While the game encourages team play by offering players benefits for staying close to their leaders, the beauty of it is you can go off and do your own thing as well.

The casual gamers, not familiar with online shooters will find it difficult to level up. This is due to the fact that points will be hard to come by during games, as the more experienced players will take advantage of your lack of knowledge and skill. On the other hand, the hardcore shooter fan will find it a breeze to rocket up the rankings.

While the game is enjoyable, as a standalone FPS, MAG would have to be considered as average. I found the controls didn't feel smooth and lacked control, especially when throwing grenades. It was basically look in the direction and throw, there was no way to control the distance or pin point where it would land. Another annoying quirk was the difficulty in distinguishing enemies from allies, as the little coloured arrow that tells them apart would take time to appear. This was problematic, as that split second of waiting meant that I would be shot dead.

For someone who tends not to play online games, especially shooters, I found MAG to be an addictive and fun title. The ease of joining games and the RPG elements made me want to keep going back into action, so for those like me, who aren't as experienced, MAG is definitely a good starting point to get into online shooters - it's just definitely not the cream of the crop when compared to more experienced PC-based FPS games, and others doing the console rounds, too.
What we liked
  • The RPG elements
  • Ability to take on a leadership role
  • Joining games is easy
  • 256 players in one game
What we didn't like
  • Controls were basic
  • Casual gamers will find it difficult
  • Difficult to separate enemies from allies
We gave it:
Latest Comments
Posted 01:56pm 23/2/10
I don't mind this game, but it's come out too close to BF:BC2 so dunno how well it will do once this comes out
Posted 04:29pm 23/2/10
Interesting read, I'm not really a console shooter kinda person, but I might pick this one up.
I haven't seen this reviewer before, is he new? I like his writing style. Sounds like how my mates talk.
Posted 04:49pm 23/2/10
Amos Hong! Wasn't he the discmaster for PC Powerplay for many years? I <3'd his work.
Posted 05:50pm 23/2/10
Wasn't really much substance to the review.....
Posted 05:53pm 23/2/10
yes, but is that a reflection of the reviewer.. or a reflection of the game...

lets take a moment to think about that.
Posted 06:21pm 23/2/10
256 players!?! Jesus titty f*****g christ. I'll have to check this s*** out. Wonder if you can use a keyboard + mouse on this?

last edited by DM at 18:21:12 23/Feb/10
Posted 07:02pm 23/2/10
wtf kind of internet would you need to support 256 players? That's gotta be some chinese gigabit s*** right there.
Posted 08:50pm 23/2/10
If you are keen on a superior PC gaming experience on a PS3 you can try these things.
Posted 09:05pm 23/2/10
Wow that seems like a pretty cool little thing there. May have to look into it.

EDIT - These things are getting a pretty good rep. Damn you for telling me about them though as I want one now. Nooooo I don't want to be a console convert!

last edited by DM at 21:05:06 23/Feb/10
Posted 09:13pm 23/2/10
Also thinking about getting one. Just waiting on a game that is worthy. Maybe that Red Dead Redemption... it looks like the go.
Posted 09:21pm 23/2/10
When/if I buy MAG i'll pick up 1 of these as well for future fps games. Whats another controller in my already crowded room. I bought a hori RAP3 which I only used for 4 days before my ps3 broke like 4 months ago or more and a IIDX controller for Beatmania 11 which I could never get the hang of. Least this seems to have more use.

last edited by DM at 21:21:56 23/Feb/10
Posted 09:26pm 23/2/10
There is also a competitor called the FragFX which has 2 different models. One of them is wired. Most people seem to prefer the Fragnstein. When I buy one I might have a better look at reviews and opinions.
Posted 04:26pm 24/2/10
biggest problem i can see with MAG is you have to choose a side and then you are stuck with it. no changing teams to play with your mates, or changing teams to better balance the game .if you change sides you loose all your unlocks/upgrades. seriously stupid idea that!
Posted 06:59pm 24/2/10
My mate lives downstairs and he got MAG. He wont shut up about it despite me clearly having no interest. I have dont see the point of consoles unless you got kids.
Posted 07:54pm 24/2/10
Yeah, you're right, I often thought to myself while playing Assassin's Creed 2 "this would be a great game for kids".
Posted 08:14pm 24/2/10
^ Y'know, I just played it on my PC hooked up to the 46" tele an it was y'know
better than on console cause my rig could run PhysX "smoothly"

One of the few 3rd person games I'd actually endorse
Posted 08:18pm 24/2/10
how do you have AC2 on pc when it hasnt been released yet?
Posted 11:49pm 24/2/10
MAG is suprisingly good.

No lag issues at all on 8mbit ADSL and playing with lots and lots of yankies and the odd frenchman so it would seem from mic chatter.

Also its not difficult to determine enemies from friendlies at all, i think the reviewer might have been drunk at the time of reviewing.

It has a lot more depth then an average shooter and there is always something interesting to do or switch up, im really enjoying it atm just need to find the time to play it more :)
Posted 11:54pm 24/2/10
I wonder where they run the servers from
Posted 10:05am 25/2/10
There are severs all around the world, La, East Coast, Japan, and even some in Australia :)
Posted 10:16am 25/2/10
yeah but you're never guaranteed to play on the server in your region though.

Here's how it works:

MAG currently sends players to the server closest to where the majority of those queued in the game are located. So, for example, if you are playing a game that's 40% American, 30% European, 10% UK, 10% Japan, and 10% Oceanic, you're going to play on an American server.

That's how the setup works right now. Going forward, it's definitely possible this could change, but right now, there's nothing to speak of.

Jeremy Dunham
Sr. Comm Manager, Zipper Interactive

also new patch
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