Note: This review was done by Joshua Tompkins.
Zipper Interactive, who is most known for the Socom series, has set out to do something no other company has done on consoles. MAG, which stands for Massive Action Game, is pretty much what it says it is. The game allows 256 players to play on a single map, and leads to crazy, hectic battles.
Due to the fact that it is an online only game; it has no real story. There are three factions and they battle for contracts, but not much is known about why. The factions differ in many ways and are based in different countries. SVER, who has the least amount of funding, are guerilla–style military forces that mostly comes from China, Russia and India. VALOR consists of war veterans from the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico, and use more traditional military weapons. The final faction is Raven, who consists of Germany, Italy, and France. They pride themselves on having the most high tech weapons and gear.
When you enter into the multiplayer menu, you will notice that there are four different game types. There is suppression, which is the first game type that you have to play. It is like the training grounds for you, and it is set up like death match, and allows 64 players. Next is sabotage, and in this game type there are 64 players, and you work as team to either defend or protect points. Acquisition is a vehicle based game type that allows 128 players, and you have to capture vehicles to win. Finally, there is domination, which allows up to 256 players, and you must capture many points to win a game. Each game mode also contains three different maps that are faction specific.
Now that you know what the game consist of, how good does it look? It looks pretty good. The surroundings are made in muted colors, but it is not bad to look at. The characters are generic though; they have no distinguishing looks between the factions, and pretty much have the same looking gear, but different colors. The guns are pretty detailed, and sound authentic. The explosions, on the other hand, are lack luster at best. They look like a puff of smoke floating into the air, but nonetheless sounds good. The vehicles look generic as well, and have no real distinguishing marks. Another problem is that, at this time, SVER is overpowered. The biggest problem this has caused is a mass exodus of players from the other factions to SVER, because they are the winning team. The game does sound good. The bullets whizzing right by your head, hearing them hit wood and metal, really makes you feel like you are at war.
Though the graphics may not be the best, the game play is pretty solid. The aiming is accurate, but can sometimes be too accurate. Some of the gun attachments allow weapons, such as the SMG, to be just as accurate as a sniper rifle. It can be frustrating at times. Also, each faction has a least one weapon that is overpowered, and it becomes problematic because all the players start to use the same weapons. The vehicles work well, and are easy to control, but are too hard to destroy. At times, it can take four to five rockets to destroy them. The controller lay out is a little different than most games, and is easy to learn. The biggest problem is that one button is used to rotate between your grenades and health. Sometimes you end up throwing a grenade instead of using your health, and you end up team killing people.
The game does not have much depth. You kill people, and get XP that get you skill points every time you level up. These skill points allow you to buy weapon upgrades and new weapons. The problem is that you quickly find that you do not need many of these weapon upgrades. The weapons you get later on are not much better than the weapons you start with, and some of the upgrades are pointless and it is better to wait until you can get to a better upgrade. The most useful upgrades are the health, which grants you more health and explosive resistance upgrades. There is also a revive upgrade that is both a blessing and a curse. You get more points by reviving people rather than killing them, and people start doing nothing, but reviving and you end up losing.
MAG has its flaws, but it is a fun game to play. You can easily get sucked into the game; I thought I was only playing for an hour, but four hours had passed. You need to use teamwork to win, and this can sometimes be a problem because you do not always have a compliant team. Playing this game with friends is the best way to go, but if you cannot play with friends, it still can be an enjoyable experience. Zipper created an amazing online experience that just needs a little tweaking. They made an important advancement in gaming by creating the first massive multiplayer game on consoles. MAG will give you hours of game play, and is an overall enjoyable experience.
8.0 out of 10