Sunday, January 31, 2010

MAG Review by Hitman0769 and Hayabusaman

MAG Review by Hitman0769 and Hayabusaman

*This review contains 3 parts: In-Depth Editorial Review, Itemized Breakdown Review, and Review Scores Summary.*

In-Depth Editorial Review:

People said it couldn’t be done, it wouldn’t ever release, but January 26, 2010 Zipper Interactive released MAG the 256 person online Squad-Based Tactical First Person Shooter. MAG’s overall size is pure madness! It’s backed by the best possible scenario a dedicated server system of structured servers that make intelligent decisions relaying info to each player’s fixed bandwidth. The weapon fire is accurate, power balance and damage play out 100 times better than Infinity Ward’s Modern Warfare 2 in every way. You will find none of the common balance issues, gameplay glitches, camping problems, spawn killing issues, etc. that plague some of today’s more popular shooters. (I will break down how the detail of the game stacks up side by side to Modern Warfare 2 a couple times in this review since it is a recent release which sold over 11 million copies in its first week, and many gamers can relate on the online tendencies of the game.)

The major difference in the game is that it hosts battles up to 128vs128 (on squads of 8). While some people have misunderstood this to mean it is actually 8 players online, that is not the case. Others have expected small maps stuffed full of players. Thankfully the game is neither of these and instead the maps are massive and game modes have you interacting and working together with the other 8-man squads on your team constantly. Whether one squad is providing cover fire, destroying Anti-Air cannons, the other squad might be rushing a gate and need cover fire from that squad. The leaders of squads, platoons, etc can jump in and out of exclusive leadership chats with the press of a quick and convenient controller macro. And there is also proximity chat with all your teammates. Quick and precise communication is key as every microsecond counts!

MAG provides a full function clan system allowing larger groups of players with more control disbursed through multiple leaders. The in-game integration of PSN features like sending a message, adding friends, sending clan invites, and party invites are completely integrated into the score board and player profile links and make using these features during the heat of battle easier then ever. One problem found in the game causing pains is the fact that you cannot join any faction but the original one you started the game with (Example: Raven, SVER, Valor). This splits up everyone in your clan that doesn’t want to start over and conform to one team. However, a simple solution : the game is good enough to make 3 PlayStation Network accounts allowing you to have a character on each team and giving your clan members the choice of which team they would like to be. This is optional solution for more advanced gamers and many would argue this takes too much time for them, however the game is so addicting and satisfying to play that it really only adds to the experience playing as all 3 PMC’s (Private Military Companies).

What is MW2’s clan system? Oh yeah! You change your clan tag by typing in whatever you want Johnny on the spot, and people you recruit have to ask you who your members are since there is no list. Two thumbs DOWN!!!

MAG actually offers you a ride to your destination; whether it is APC driven with cannon or the .50 cal at least you are getting a ride. Also if you get rid of the enemy’s anti-air defense you can ride in with the dual .50 cal chopper into enemy territory. Both the APC and Chopper are also used as mobile spawn points so you can choose where to spawn to help your teammates out. There is even parachute deployment in the game, which works out great for snipers getting to those hard to reach places!

Tactically speaking, this game makes sense. Take Acquisition mode for example, if you are going to get the vehicles you have to plant charges and take down gates, bunkers, and roadblocks to get to the destination that you are going to, and in the mean time these can be repaired by repair tools in the hands of enemies. The multiple squads have to coordinate and work together to achieve objectives and not always in an obvious order. A good squad leader must probe the weaknesses of the other team’s strategy and cannot simply win by running in and shooting or sitting around and camping like many other games. Furthermore, the ability to get shot from much farther away then most games puts the intensity level of your actions to maximum. Every move you make on the battlefield is crucial to your fate on it.

Itemized Breakdown Review

1. Graphics – The graphics in MAG are sharp and clear and provide the virtual perception of 100% visibility. Many people have expressed that Killzone 2 or other games have better graphics but the precision of clarity and realistic lighting in maps as used in MAG inspired by places like Russia and Alaska allows you to see all the way to the other size of the map, even though the characters are smaller down the horizon as they would be in real life you can actually still see them in this game. You do actually get to use the entire size of the maps in MAG and you can kill somebody from hundreds of meters away because of the clarity in the graphics. Score: 9.5/10

2. Sound/Music – The THX Theater Certified music and sound effects in MAG are top of the line. Nothing to complain about in this category. Score: 10/10

3. Gameplay – The only thing gamers might find tedious about MAG is a bit too much running in some of the smaller modes with no vehicles. Score: 9.8/10

4. Party/Invite System – The party/invite system works great!!! It is practically flawless, the first shooter in the past few years that works properly, right away, and robust and reliably. No party and joining glitches such as Modern Warfare 2’s problems. The success of the Party/Invite system can be attributed to dedicated server structure and the 5 betas which were used to work out bugs in the system. Score: 10/10

5. Dedicated Servers – This is a trend I would like to see much MUCH more games follow! The dedicated server system in Warhawk was good but ahead of its time. MAG takes the dedicated server structure a step further and the end result is a truly amazing FPS experience. Score: 10/10

6. List of Known Bugs (if any) – So far there is a small amount of cheaters in the MAG game. Because of the way the dedicated servers in MAG intelligently test your fire rate and reload rate and things like this at random to keep track of your bandwidth, the game will also be able to get rid of/ prevent people from cheating. One other inconvenience that will hopefully be changed soon is that to see the names in your teammates on other squads you need to be aiming at them very precisely. In the heat of battle asking a guy for help on proximity chat would be much easier if those teammates not on your squad had their names as large as your squad mate’s names and always displayed. Given the fact that Modern Warfare 2 has much more problems with cheaters and actual matchmaking bugs, I think this is not very bad as its MAG’s worst issue.

7. Compelling Reasons to Buy MAG (even if you already like a shooter you have) – 256 Players! Newest, biggest First Person shooter in gaming history! Gigantic state of the art maps with strategic value, live animation, and the sound of the battlefield are completely realistic. Tactical Shooting superior to many mindless killing and camping games out there! You actually get to ride in the helicopter without having to camp first and kill 20 people.

8. Replay Value – I personally can predict my replay value being greater then the previous 6 games I’ve purchased in this genre. Because of the amount of people involved in this epic proportion game, I don’t see it as a problem trying to play MAG with some one years from now. The gameplay can change at any given moment because of tactical approach, player skill set, circumstances of the battle, and more. Re-Spec feature allows players to completely re-tailor their character using the skill points they have earned throughout their career in the field various times as they earn Re-Spec points while playing. When players reach level 60 they can also use Veteran mode to roll over into one of the other three factions, carrying over their accomplishments, stats, and many other achievements with them. In addition optionally using three different characters will extend the playability to a whole new level by experiencing the different weapons sets and graphics of each different faction! Score: 9.5/10

Review Scores Summary:

Graphics - Score: 9.5/10
Sound/Music - Score: 10/10
Gameplay - Score: 9.8/10
Replay Value - Score: 9.5/10
Party/Invite System - Score: 10/10
Dedicated Servers - Score: 10/10
Overall - Score: 9.5/10

©Images Copyright to Sony Computer Entertainment and Zipper Interactive
All trademarked properties belong to their respective owners.

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely done Hitman, I have done some looking myself and found that I agree with you on most of your points. MAG, when looked at as a whole game, is a good investment. I personally am not completely sold on it myself. This is due mainly to the fact that First person shooters are not my cup of tea.


We reserve the right to remove any comment that is deemed offensive.

Post responsibly.

Real Time Web Analytics