Unfortunately, it’s this whole 256 players aspect that is both MAG’s curse andblessing. On the plus side, this is the first time in console history that so many players can participate in an FPS at the same time. On the down side,once you look beyond this MAG has very little left to give.
The vehicles (tanks, APCs and such) seem to have been crow-barred in to the action as the levels are full of twists and corridors that the lightweight handling makes a chore to drive around. The weapons are OK, but unoriginal. And, um, that’s about it.
Above:We never driven a real tank but we imagine it's more fun than here
The one saving grace of MAG is that it’s zen-balanced, which means any schmo or Dave Meikleham can drop straight in and feel like they’re contributing. Nearly all the weapons take the same amount of time/bullets to drop a man and with the player specific loadouts that include armour tweaks – you can hone your character to whatever way suits your skill. And if you put in enough hours you’ll be able to command a squad or even take full advantage of their support perks such as artillery strikes.
Theoretically, there’s plenty to do on the battlefield – like following set objectives from in-game leaders – but there’s very little else to get excited about. Y’know things that you’d tell a friend “Awww man, you’ve gotta see this bit”. So sadly, MAG pales in comparison to other online shooters (see below) and frankly it doesn’t do enough to justify its full-price tag. We guess this is the problem when your USP is ‘more players’ and nothing else.
Is it better than...
: No. Not only does DICE’s original masterpiece come packing a solid single-player campaign, but the multiplayer aspect blows MAG out of the water too. With its vehicles, destructible environments and beautiful landscapes to play across, it manages to focus on the fun aspects without the need for 256 players being involved.
: No. This is twitch FPS-ing at it’s finest, whereas MAG has more of a methodical theme to the proceedings. But in terms of variety, weapons and raw excitement we’d rather have MW2. We can’t deny that MAG is a great alternative to the frenetic action though, so if you’re a fan of Infinity Ward’s shooter you’ll still find some reasons to be cheerful here.
No. Since the tweaked control scheme that makes it a tad quicker to aim, Sony’s other FPS has become somewhat slicker and the rolling objectives/game modes puts it into a similar arena as MAG. KZ2 may not be the sharpest shooter on the block but it has far more originality and character than Zipper’s humongous shoot-out.
Just for you Metacritic
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.