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MAG review

Sony's online behemoth proves the old adage that less is indeed more

So how does it work? Hmmm, how can we put this… PREPARE TO DIE!!1! In the short term at least. MAG may cover vast landscapes as it accomodates hundreds of players at once but there are very few places to hide here. A typical game usually plays out like this…

Step 1: Spawn into battle and run to the action...

Step 2: Keep running...

Step 3: Keeeep running...

Step 4: You encounter an enemy. It's GO TIME!

Step 5: "Medic!!" Too late - you are dead

Repeat steps 1-5 to fade

There are four types of game modes to join. Suppression (64 players) is essentially a team deathmatch. Sabotage (64) where you have to attack/defend point A and B before moving on to C. Acquisition (128) where the attackers have to steal two vehicles and drive them back to their HQ. And the showpiece, Domination which features the maximum 256 players again attack/defending a series of points before heading into the final objective.

The key difference to other shooters in its class is that MAG is all about the team-work rather than being a mercenary. Hold on, this is mostly BS.

More often than not battles take place as above - charge into the action, kill a few guys, get shot, respawn. There's very little actual team-work other than reviving a fallen comrade. We found that there was indeed another type of team-work involved but this mainly saw us form a tight unit of kamikaze like troops, storming an objective before dying and respawning simultaneously only to try the same doomed feat again.

While there are objectives for you to take care of on the battlefield, such as destroying bunkers, capturing locations and the like your main focus is chalking up kills. So much so that most games end up in a bottle-neck of death, swears and frustration.

That ‘team-work’ element depends on the people you’re playing with. Truth is, most of the random folk you’ll meet are more likely to leave you to bleed out in some ditch than quickly revive you with a medi-kit. As we discovered, shouting obscenitites down the mic doesn’t seem to make them come rushing either.

But when you do find a team MAG does play out like a well-oiled war machine – full of snap decisions, rescue attempts and gallows humour. Our advice? Get your mates involved and make a clan for maximum enjoyment.

See page 3 for why MAG isn't all bad, is it better than..., and the score

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Kudos to Zipper for being trailblazers in terms of how many people you can cram into a game but beyond this USP, MAG is a fairly generic affair. It all works well but it isn't mind-blowing. And with a full-price tag, minus an offline campaign, it's hard to see where the value for money lies here.

US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating16+
Release date26 January 2010 (US), 29 January 2010 (UK)


Hi, I’m Nathan. You may remember me from such websites as, erm, this one circa 2011. Been hustling in games for over a decade and write for Official PlayStation, Official Xbox, Gamesmaster and more.
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