2010 has been ridiculous so far. Within the first three months, there’s a little slice of gaming heaven for everyone. Yet, having both MAG and Battlefield Bad Company 2 released so close to each other is torture. If you can devote time to both, congratulations, but unfortunately, most of us must make the Sophie’s Choice-like decision to lock and load one or the other. Both are great, but which one is best for you?
Round One: Pick your Platform
Do you even have a PlayStation 3? No? Then MAG isn’t for you. Pick up Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and enjoy. Also, why the hell are you reading this?
Above: At least the third or fourth most important thing to consider when making your choice
Round Two: Everyday hero vs Superman in fatigues
Do you like being the center of attention? You like being the guy everyone congratulates after a win? A big ol’ pat on the back is what you desire? MAG might not be the one to snuggle up with then. MAG is about sacrificing for the battle at large; not feeling like a hero. It never feels like your individual efforts affect much, but as a team, everything comes together and victory arises. In MAG, you’re part of something bigger. Certainly Bad Company 2 has squads working together, but here your individual actions feel like they carry some weight. Your dreams of being a team leading, grenade launching Jean-Claude Van Damme are close.
Above: MAG is a team game. No Rambos here
Round Three: Big talking vs shutting up
Silent, but deadly. If that’s an apt description of your online exploits, then MAG might manhandle you a bit more than Bad Company 2 will. As objectives trickle down the command chain, MAG does a great job at getting you to tackle a task. However, communication between commanders and squads and especially between squad mates is key. It’s a big world, and getting lost during a chaotic hundred person battle is likely without keeping tabs on your mates. Bad Company 2 relies less on verbal coordination and seems built a bit more around the idea that people don’t like cooperating unless it gives them gain. The spotting system and squad spawn are great examples of this.
Above: Nobody cooperates in BBC2 unless it gets you a fireball this size
Round Four: Jack of all trades or a master of one?
Hate being stuck in a single role? MAG gives you a blank slate to create your ideal soldier, and hopefully, perfect its abilities and lend an edge to a squad. There’s more happening before a battle in MAG. Bad Company 2 isn’t about building up a singular soldier, but more about learning how to utilize each class in a match. Jumping between all the classes during a battle happens often, especially when half your team thinks it’s a good idea to play Mr. Sniper (that means they’re stupid).
Above: Snipers suck. Any class that carries a rocket launcher does not
Round Five: Bang, Bang, Zoom vs Bang, Bang, BOOM
Not to take away from MAG’s combat, but sometimes sprinting around feels like you’re scooting along on a Segway with a rifle. How you interact (shooting, reloading, etc) feels sort of janky and cheap, but MAG makes up for this with its sheer scale and by focusing on other aspects of warfare. If shooting people in a giant playground is the most important thing to you, Bad Company 2 has the edge. Cracking sniper rounds has your character scrambling for a ditch after you just saw the thud of a round tumble your medic to the ground. And your video game instincts tell you to hide in that house, but oh wait, it just collapsed? MAG combat feels like the original Battlefield 1942, and Bad Company 2 has moved ahead.
Above: Not too many explosion-propelled flying cars in MAG, in case that’s a selling point for you
I think I’ll go with…
MAG and Bad Company 2 share similarities, but the differences make them both special and meaningful experiences. Digging in and spending a lot of time with MAG shows how deep the game gets, and Bad Company 2’s accessibility and more rewarding firefights make each battle a story to brag about.
Both games have an issue, though; people don’t always lend a hand towards objectives. What kind of medic slowly watches your body become a bullet sponge? A crappy one, so don’t do that. Please.
Mar 22, 2010