MAG: Is it any good?

It works. That's the main thing you need to know: 256 people shooting each others' faces off with extreme prejudice. Quite how, is a voodoo secret Sony must be guarding pretty closely, though. Developer Zipper built an entirely new server system to get such a huge number of people playing together and whatever the hell they did, they got it right.

Above: Zipper's 256 player servers (possibly)

During the course of the beta we encountered very little lag or chugging frame rates. In fact the whole thing's a more solid offering than some 12 player games can manage online. The only real downside is the wait it takes to get everyone in a game; about half an hour on average so have a magazine handy. Once you're in, though, the action's constant and while it takes a bit of a hit visually - with occasionally bland textures and the odd blocky model - overall it doesn't look bad. And come on - 256 people!

You won't immediately notice the immense scale of the battles because of the squad structure. You play as part of an eight man squad, teamed with three others to form a platoon sent out to tackle various objectives. It's a bit like several separate five-a-side matches all taking place on the same field. Only instead of balls crossing between pitches it's grenades and RPGs.

The only time we really got a sense of the magnitude of the war we were contributing to when we dipped into the map to see what looked like a swarm of angry bees fighting. You may only be fighting 30 or so other people but the other two hundred are out there. Although we did have a few games where it felt like all 256 players were fighting to control the same small tin shack. Those were big moments.

Above: There we are, on the left, just between the two red dots. There! 

Next: Airstrikes, FRAGO bonuses and why you can't play as Chuck Norris


  • marcoallegretti - February 19, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    You guys are all high. This game blows MW2 out of the water. I own the game and it is hands down the best FPS and most tactical shooting game ever.Its not like call of duty running around killing with no purpose, you have to work with your teammates. Also, the factions idea is sweeet. And even for the 256 person game, i've waited like 2 minutes MAX. The other smaller games take like 10 seconds.
  • STEPHENSON1992 - February 11, 2010 1:37 a.m.

    Is mag a good game to get. What can you customize in the game. how bad are the graphics.
  • skaterdie45 - January 31, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    It now takes les then two mins. to find a 256 game
  • edwin92 - January 30, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    what happened to the super review!?
  • mccore24 - January 25, 2010 10:54 p.m.

    i completly disagree with this article i was in both mag betas both open and closed and i can tell you that the average time for a single 256 player game to launch was nowhere near 30 mins. on average i waited 2-5 mins. this is a great game with a great concept and i think it will do fairly well when it releases although the $60 price tag for online play only is a bit ridiculous though this is coupled with the fact that you are playing with 256 people on a single map aka awesome (id like to see CoD do that)
  • gangjute8 - January 20, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    What? 30 minutes? When I played, it was a max of 4 minutes to jump into a match, normally about 90 seconds.
  • xwolf - January 9, 2010 8:01 p.m.

    When I played Mag it only took around 2 minutes max to
  • themooninites - January 5, 2010 2:58 a.m.

    @ CAPST3R . my friend, there's this little thing i know of. see it there? it's a douche bag. it is used to clean vaginas... wait, that's you. sorry to point this out, but it's better than not doing so.
  • jackthemenace - December 23, 2009 8:21 p.m.

    wicked, i may just have to buy this once i renew my XBL gold. thanks again GR! you truly are gods among men.
  • maedene - December 13, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    If this game is any good, then i might just get a PS3
  • Mirako - December 13, 2009 2:27 a.m.

    Miiiiight get a PS3 for Christmas, plenty of reasons to.
  • slapdatass - December 13, 2009 12:16 a.m.

    @jackthemenace - disk game. Beta was over 2gb, and that didn't have the full game. Plus, box art was released recently.
  • jackthemenace - December 12, 2009 5:15 p.m.

    si it coming out as a proper disk game, or as a download over XBLA/PSN?
  • slapdatass - December 12, 2009 12:04 p.m.

    I really liked it, the graphics aren't the top of the range, but the gameplay (you know, the important bit) is rock solid. And yeah, there's something awesome about storming a factory with about a hundred other live players at your back. For a beta it was very polished, so I'm thinking this will be a week one purchase...
  • grahktherock - December 11, 2009 3:07 a.m.

    Whoa 30 minute load times!!! where do i sign up!?!?!
  • TKTOWA - December 11, 2009 2:53 a.m.

    Looks alright. I'll stick to Quake Wars.
  • RamenDragon - December 11, 2009 1:38 a.m.

    I imagine we'll be hearing some awfully noisy battles with 256 people on headsets at the same time.
  • nik41507 - December 11, 2009 12:36 a.m.

    Maybe it laggs for some time because its just a beta
  • wwfmankind - December 10, 2009 6:28 p.m.

    I downloaded the beta and tried several times to get into a game... I waited an average of about 15-20 minutes and I never once got in... finally got bored and played Killzone instead.
  • StoveToTheFace - December 10, 2009 11:12 a.m.

    Sounds like a good idea and i wish the ppl that made it the best of luck and i hope im wrong but..... i cant belive that if most ppl cant act like adults and play fair letting their true skill show rather then hidding behind crap like jav glitches and B,X,B and stuff to that effect in a small matches.... i cringe at the fact that there will be 200+ of these ppl. how many annoying 12 year olds can you handle?

Showing 1-20 of 47 comments

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