David Klein On March 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Last year’s big surprise at the Sony press conference during E3 was the showing of the massively multiplayer shooter game that they called "MAG: Massive Action Game". Later on they shortened the name to simply MAG dropping the acronym portion entirely. After 8  months after it being first announced at E3 and shown as solely an pre-rendered trailer the game itself came out. Now after all this time other games in the same first person shooter realm like Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 have entered the field along with old favorites like Killzone 2 and Resistance 2 sticking around. The question is, does MAG have what it takes to be the king that rules over all the rest?

Graphically speaking MAG finds itself clearly in the middle of the road. You can’t really say MAG is a bad looking game but when you compare it with the likes of Killzone 2 and Uncharted 2  then you can see a clear difference in graphical quality. With that said it’s not to say the game looks bad or anything but after game after game with amazing graphics on the PS3 it makes MAG look a little dated.

As for the sound in the game, it’s fairly good. You’ve got all the sound effects that make you feel like you’re in the middle of a war zone. An explosion sounds like an explosion and a bullet sounds like a bullet. The surround sound placement is good  where everything sounds like it’s from the right direction so i’d say they accomplished what they set out to do. Besides some dialog inserted into some loading screens there isn’t really any voice overs to speak of and besides your basic sound you don’t really get much else since this is a multiplayer game. I sometimes get the urge to shut off the in game chat during games but that’s par for the course for just about any multiplayer game.

This is the portion of the review I’d usually talk about the game’s single player portion but low and behold there is none. So instead of talking about the single player i’ll talk about how $60 is too much for a game with solely a multiplayer mode. Sony had it right with Warhawk which they had priced at $40. Just about every quality game that are primarily meant to be played online give you some sort of offline content to sink your teeth into, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 made some great strides with it’s single player campaign that’s actually very good and with that said it’s hard to understand how it can expected for somebody to play a full $60 for half a retail package.

Now with my rant about the lack of a single player campaign out of the way, I’ll go onto the multiplayer. In the game you’re given the choice between three different factions to choose from. You’re best to choose your faction carefully because you can only team with people on your given faction and for some bizarre reason they made the design choice that you can only have one character at a time when you’re likely to want three characters at the same time, games like World of Warcraft have realized this, why not MAG. You’ve got four different mode type, Suppression which is a 64 player Team Deathmatch mode between people in your faction, Sabotage you’re contesting two points with 64 players on the map between you and another faction each taking turns acting as defender and attacker, Acquisition where instead you’re trying to secure vehicles and the player count is upped to 128  and finally Domination which has 256 players trying to hold 8 different targets. The only mode that let’s you play with 256 players isn’t as hectic as you’d think given they divide the players between 8 different targets so there’s plenty of people doing completely separate things that you don’t really experience the massive part of the equation.  The map selection isn’t that big, I felt like I’ve played through under a dozen different maps with my time in the game. The reward system is nice and the game definitely  gives you bonuses for playing such as weapons, the ability to assume leadership over the multiplayer matches and modes given only one is unlocked when you’re beginning at level 1.

Overall MAG definitely has it’s shortcoming, the lack of a single player campaign definitely  puts a hamper to the overall value proposition of the game. The asking price of $60 is way too  much for a game that has no single player to speak of in this day and age. The multiplayer is solid however there only being four different game modes to choose from and the fact that when the player numbers start to get high they use cheap tricks to make it possible is disappointing. Overall while MAG is competent package, there are better choices to be had once the gimmick of the 256 player multiplayer game wears off.


There’s no single player to speak of, and the multiplayer mode definitely can’t carry the game’s $60 asking price alone.


It’s middle of the road but disappointing given the bar set by other Sony first title games.


You’ve got a war zone in your living room, mission accomplished.


MAG while looking quite interesting when it was first announced disappoints given there’s better options for your multiplayer FPS fix.

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