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PLAYSTATION 3: MAG First Impressions Review

When I first heard about this game I scoured YouTube to find actual gameplay.  It looked really awesome!  To think that you can be playing with 255 other people on a map executing on various objectives sounds really cool!  Unfortunately, that’s where the coolness factor ended for me.  To give you a brief overview of a First Impression Review, it is assumed that the game has been played for a sufficient amount of time to form an opinion.  Because this is an online multi-player game only, it doesn’t take long for that opinion to form.

How it all started.  Picked up the game at a local Gamestop and came home and loaded up Call of Duty: MW2.  Yeah, I’m addicted to that game, I know.  Anyway, after two days of MAG encased in it’s original wrapping, I decided to tear it open.  The game required about 60MB worth of updating.  Once that process was done, I was off choosing a faction.  There are three to choose from (S.V.E.R., Raven, and Valor).  I chose Valor because it sounded cool.  After designing a character, I was off to training.  The training portion, or as I call it, the MW2 motor skills brainwashing was actually quite entertaining.  The typical run here, shoot five targets there, lob a grenade here were quite useful in getting acquainted with the controls.  However, that’s where the entertainment of the game ended for me.

The first four level up exercises puts you into games with 64 players.  You gain experience points be eliminating the opposing team.  Once your character has passed level four in skill, it opens up more gameplay modes.  I was able to unlock the Acquisition mode which allows you to play with 127 other people.  It’s where you either attack or defend two prototype transports and escape to the extraction point.  Sounds straight forward, right?  Well, not so fast…  I think the objective of the game as a whole carries massive expectation.  To have a ton of people on a map doing their thing sounds amazing.  The problem lies in the mechanics of gameplay – which I think Sony and Zipper Interactive have dropped the ball on.

The good:  Lag was never an issue for me.  Then again, I have Verizon FiOS which rules over everything.  Players who have headsets actually communicated within the context of the game.  Never heard any annoying 12 year old kids talking to their mom in the background about cleaning up their room.  The sounds are THX certified.  Which means the environmental audio is spot on as well as the accompanying sound FX.  All crisp.

Now for the bad:  Here we go.  First of all, the controls do not feel as polished as they could be.  Collision detection is way off.  When I’m looking down the sight of a gun and see an enemy in the crosshairs, I expect to waste his a$$.  Not so in this game.  There have been occasions when the player remains alive, even at point blank.  (It’s also a huge problem in MW2 with the shotguns)  When I have a rocket launcher aimed at an enemy and it detonates next to them, I expect them to R.I.P., not this time.  The enemies seem to think of it as an afterthought.  They live!  WTF!  (I’m calm, really!)  A lot of work needs to be done in executing the basics for this game.  I’ll let the graphics slide, but the controls, I can’t.  It hinders the gameplay completely and makes it frustrating to play.  No one wants to be frustrated when they play, right?

Needless to say, I took the game back and traded it in for a pre-order copy of EA’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2.  Which by the way, if you’ve played the demo, by far beats MAG in playability and fun factor.  Quite sad considering Battlefield is still in Beta.  Moral of this review is it doesn’t matter how many people are playing with/against you at any given time, if you aren’t happy with the mechanics of the control system and collision detection, the game will end up being frustrating.  It may even prompt you to type up a scathing review on a gaming website somewhere…  I suggest you put your money down on Call of Duty: MW2 (if you haven’t already) or Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which is out March 2, 2010.

If we had a rating system, I’d give MAG a 4 out of 10.  One for everyday I owned the copy.


Expanse Maps in Multiplayer, Destructible environments, Beautiful graphics and sound designUnderwhelming single player mode, Controls can have a learning curve after playing MW2