MAG (Massive Action Game) PlayStation 3
Av. User Rating
Av. User Rating
Released on 29/01/2010
In a not-too distant future, you clutch your assault rifle and check your ammo for the last time. You and your squad have fought in battles before but none as large as this. As the enemy base in front of you shakes under the force of an air strike, your platoon leader gives the order and you prepare your squad to advance.
An armoured personnel carrier punches through the enemy perimeter and you sprint for the gap with bullets whistling past your head. Your platoon leader goes down, picked off by a sniper. If you can survive this engagement, command of a 32-player platoon could be yours.
Welcome to MAG – a world of massive online action on an unprecedented scale, where 256 players take to the battlefield to win glory and the right to command squads, platoons and even an entire private army.
MAG is set in a world where governments use Private Military Corporations (PMCs) to do their dirty work. Three have risen to the top – SVER, Raven and Valor. Battling for lucrative government contracts, these three factions have become the new world military standard.
You’ll choose your PMC and join an eight-man squad to take to the field in a private army of 128 real players. As you prove yourself, game by game, you can decide how your career progresses. Unlock new skills and abilities that allow you to specialise as a sniper, a medic, a scout an assault operative – or whatever else you find yourself to be good at under heavy fire.
- Take your place in a 256-player battle - fight on multiple battlefronts, use airborne landings and on-call tactical strikes to secure strategic objectives
- Every operative forms part of a tight-knit eight-man squad that are given objectives set by player officers and change as the battle reaches its climax - the more you work together as a team the bigger the reward
- Rise through the chain of command and earn the right to lead an eight-man squad, 32-man platoon and even command a full 128-man army.
- Survive battles and complete tasks to unlock weapons and specialized equipment. Customize your look, show off your achievements and fine-tune your combat style
Massive And Great?
One of the most eyebrow-raising announcements of Sony's E3 2009 conference, the aplty-titled 256-player First Person Shooter Massive Action Game instantly had PS3 owners split between excited and confused.
On one hand, the Battlefield series' 64-player battles on PC have shown large-scale tactical squad warfare can make for an immensely rewarding game experience – so in theory, MAG should be that, times four.
On the other hand, more cautious gamers were worried that having so many players on one map could take the Call of Duty-esque military multiplayer formula and turn it into a bullet flinging farce; with players run-gunning like headless chickens, hundreds of voices spraying profanities down your headset, and death raining down from all sides.
Get a good feel for how the game flows, and it takes on the shape of an industry-redefining multiplayer shooter.
For your first few minutes with MAG, you'd be forgiven for thinking the latter has come to pass, as two huge teams charge towards each other and gunfire erupts around you. Start to work through the training missions however and you get a good feel for how the game flows, and it suddenly starts to take on the shape of an industry-redefining multiplayer shooter.
The structure is the key element here in keeping some focus. Rather than being simply hurled into the thick of it with 127 itchy trigger-fingered teammates, you're asked to pick from one of three factions (which are all pretty much the same, with superficial differences), and given options to edit your character's appearance and the arsenal he carries. So far so simple.
Starting your first few proper games, you soon learn that the game places you in a smaller eight-man squad. Four of these make up a platoon of 32 players. And four of these together gives you a 128 person army, fighting against a force of equal size. Each player is a real human being, and yet even over a pretty standard-speed broadband connection games run at the speed you'd expect from a 16 player deathmatch on other online shooters. The sheer scale and scope is impressive on paper, then, but playing it is altogether liberating.
Play together, die alone
The compulsive factor here becomes the experience-driven character progression, which unlocks more death-dealing gear, weapon mods, support items and character clothing options the more kills you make, matches you win, and the more of your squadron leader's orders you follow through successfully. Reach a certain level and you can become that squadron leader, exercising your tactical nouse on the battlefield to set objectives and help see your faction through to victory. It's a simple and surprisingly elegant system which encourages cooperative play, and helps streamline the experience even with hundreds of players on a single large battlefield.
A shooter of such huge scope, tactical depth and satisfying progression that you'll unwittingly be staying up well into the night for months.
Despite this winning combination of ambition and well thought-out structure, MAG will still be a divisive game amongst the PlayStation 3 community. The main point of criticism will be that the shooting itself feels a little lite, lacking the satisfying heft or feedback of other high-profile FPS releases like CoD and Killzone 2 – something that's not helped by the lack of fully customisable controls, which really should be a standard in every game these days - especially in the precision twitch-skill environment of competitive online First-Person Shooters.
That aside, MAG's main drawback is that it's sacrificed quality for quantity in some usually pivotal areas. The game's frontend feels a little low-budget, with the low-key intro simply throwing you into a few menu screens and into battle with little fanfare; the environments themselves, while huge, are a little bit drab, lacking in colour and spectacle; and the lack of any singleplayer mode at all will make this one to avoid if you aren't a member of, or aren't interested in joining, Sony's burgeoning PlayStation Network (although you really should - it's free, and it's ace!).
If you are already on the online bandwagon however, or you're sitting on the fence, then MAG is definitely worth a look. Get past the first few plays and there's a shooter experience here of such huge scope, tactical depth and satisfying progression that you'll unwittingly find yourself staying up well into the night for months on end. MAG is yet another first for the PlayStation 3, then, and sits alongside its platform stablemate Heavy Rain as a title which could conceivably change its genre forever.
- Huge-scale warfare you won't find on any other system - and it works really well!
- Levelling up to buy new weapons and mods is very satisfying.
- Commanding a 32-man squadron is deeply tactical and great fun.
- Gunplay feels a little flimsy compared to its shooter competition.
- Low-budget presentation: bland menus, drab in-game graphics.
- No singleplayer mode - avoid if that's what you're after.
Is bigger always better?
Size matters, so they say. And when it comes to MAG's headline-grabbing 256-player battles, it's a point of view that's hard to contest. Indisputably the largest yet seen in videogames, these giant military scuffles scatter handfuls of khaki-wearing soldiers across vast landscapes and sit back as the mayhem unfolds.
Generally lag-free matches featuring a cacophony of voices, bullets and bodies bear testament to developer Zipper Interactive's considerable technological achievements here where, for once, the reality of the game matches its pre-release promise. But there's more to the package than mere bulk. Size matters, so they say but, where this Massive Action Game's concerned, what you do with it is just a crucial.
First things first
For the first few hours of the experience you won't be able to experience the game at its full population, as Zipper instead guides you through a series of more restricted game modes - teaching you the basics and advanced tactics that underpin the experience. While holding back the most exciting aspect to the game that might appear to be a foolish decision, in reality it's a necessary one, lest everyone simply pile in without really knowing what they're doing in an awkward free-for-all.
Rather than just throwing two sides of 128 players into environments the numbers are more carefully broken down into teams, each with their own objectives and leaders introducing order and strategy into what might otherwise have been chaos. Each player is placed within an eight-man squadron, four of which comprise a platoon of 32 players. Four platoons then make up each side of 128 players.
Learn as you go
As you play you earn experience points for every kill you make. Earn enough experience points and, as in an RPG, your character will level up. Reach a high enough level an you can apply to be a squadron leader for a match. If appointed, you can set your squad objectives by clicking on the map in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Thanks to this set-up, battles feature clutches of squadrons all working together on their own micro-objectives, their efforts contributing to the ebb and flow of the wider war. It's an ingenious system that prevents MAG's largest battles from becoming directionless Deathmatch scrambles.
Follow the leader
Of course, the problem with a multiplayer game consisting of so many people is convincing everyone to do as their leader is telling them to do. Here Zipper encourages obedience via that most compelling of videogame incentives: bonus experience. As you follow the orders defined by your squadron leader, so you earn extra FRAGO points, which in turn means that your character rise through the ranks more quickly.
Leveling up your soldier grants various bonuses. Skill points can be spent on improving various aspects of your load-put, from improved sights to medical kits with which you can heal wounded teammates. Not only that, but reaching new levels grants you access to new pieces of clothing, helmets, boots and so on, allowing you to customise your character to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Brawn versus brains
While the framework surrounding MAG is solid and dependable, its successes as a straight first-person shooter are more meagre. The lightweight gunplay lacks the kickback of, say, Modern Warfare 2's weaponry, and there's a skittish feel to traversing the maps. Environments too are drab and the PlayStation 3's weak rumble feedback makes the game less tactile than its rivals on other platforms.
Nevertheless, the FPS elements to the game are still good and, thanks to the sterling metagame, are elevated. Boasting clever system design that allows tactical flexibility in missions, individuals to feel like they are really contributing to a team who, in turn, are contributing to the war.
Playing the long game
The sheer scale of combat means that, at first touch MAG can come across as an unsightly scramble for territory. But play the game for long enough, and you'll start to make sense of the haphazard action, perceiving the impromptu supply lines and infiltration routes that spring up in the hubbub.
Moreover, by encouraging players to work within their teams by building in tangible benefits for doing so, MAG succeeds in inspiring the sort of teamwork that most games of this scope fail to inspire.
As such, it's likely that the game's influence will be felt keenly in coming years, offering as it does, a roadmap to the next generation of intelligent, large-scale multiplayer gaming.
+ Sprawling, exciting battles.
+ Deep strategy and tactics.
+ Compelling RPG-style metagame.
- Weapons lack punch.
- Poor leader makes for poor experience.
- Initially bewildering.
Are you fighting fit? You'd better be because this week it's all about combat at Game. And we're not talking about a small schoolyard scrap, but massive all-out battles with hundreds of warriors online simultaneously; immersive science-fiction firefights in dingy deep-space cantinas; and legendary beat-'em-up battlers lining up against each other. Pull your gloves on, it's clobberin' time/p>
Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to the critically-acclaimed, chart-busting and award-winning action/role-playing science fiction epic original, Mass Effect. Once more, Commander Shepherd must assemble an elite squad prepared to take on a near-suicidal mission to save humanity and its space colonies.
Mass Effect 2 is a serious improvement on the already outstanding original, boasting faster and more fluid firefights and squad controls; huge new areas of space to explore, unravelling a new and terrifying plot; sharper and more serious choices that will mould the game to the way you play.
Combat doesn't get bigger than in MAG. It stands for "Massive Action Game". And with up to 256 online soldiers fighting it out on one battlefield simultaneously, MAG does exactly what it says on the tin.
MAG is a first-person shooter that delivers larger, more action-packed battles: bigger maps, more vehicles, faster action. Airdrop into battle, grab a vehicle, find your squad and get ready for the fight of your life.
And in MAG, the harder and more often you fight, the better you get: combat experience translates to promotions. Command eight man squads, 32 player platoons and even an entire 128-person army.
In Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ultimate All Stars, the ultimate fighting contest crashes onto the Nintendo Wii. Ultimate All Stars brings the ultimate beat 'em up legends to an arena with the ultimate in user-friendly fight controls for novices and the ultimate in skill, strategy and depth for hardcore brawlers.
Four button controls are simple for fight novices to get to grips with, but for advanced masters, Aerial Rave air attacks, Baroque extended combos and Mega Crash defensive moves are designed to bring the pain.
Tatsunoko Vs Capcom Ultimate All Stars features a line-up of over 20 legendary fighters with Capcom series legends from Street Fighter and more facing off against fighters from Tatsunoko's popular Japanese anime series.
MAG Review (10/02/2010)
Massive And Great?
One of the most eyebrow-raising announcements of Sony's E3 2009 conference, the apl…
Size matters, so they say. And when it comes to MAG's headline-grabbing 256-player battles, it's a point of view that's hard to contest.…New Release Round Up 29th Jan 2010 (29/01/2010)
Four button controls are simple for fight novices to get to grips with, but for advanced masters, Aerial Rave air attacks, Baroque extended combos and Mega Crash defensive moves are designed to brin…
As a valued customer we now offer you the facility to sign up to email price alerts. Please enter the price you want to be, or below, and if drops to that level we will let you know...
NewOut of stock
- Only £14.99
Free UK Delivery
- Only £2.99
Free UK Delivery
Earn 120 reward points
Please note: prices in GAME Stores may differ.
You have chosen to add this product to your Wish List, but which version would you prefer to add?