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Why MAG is better than COD… if you’re rubbish at shooters

Let’s get one thing straight right from the off: I’m shit at COD. Oh sure, I’ve finished both Modern Warfares on Veteran with my sanity and personal hygiene (barely) intact. But pit me against a P90-wielding fourteen-year-old from Arkansas on the land of the interwebs and I absolutely crumble. Want further proof of my sheer shittyness? I had to knock back five cans of the strongest French lager known to man in an effort to sooth my shattered nerves during our 24 hour Modern Warfare 2 marathon

Which brings me onto MAG. Normally I stay away from any online game that forces me to shoot other folk. Thanks to my stupid sausage fingers, I’m invariably always half a second too slow in pulling the trigger. Couple this with the gale force tantrums I throw when I lose and you’re probably getting why I avoid playing shooters on the net like one of those plagues that makes you piss fire before your knob drops off.


So why do I like MAG?

Now don’t get me wrong, MAG has loads of problems. With fugly textures and drab maps, it looks about as appealing as road kill. The guns feel like firing Super Soakers next to COD’s ferocious firearms. And it can take ages to get into a 256 player game. I’m totally convincing you it’s better than Modern Warfare 2 online, right? Woah, just hold off on the straight jackets and horse tranquilisers for a second. While it’s true MAG can’t compete with the amazing engine Infinity Ward has built technically, it can beat the shit out of COD tactically.


Above: Which one's MAG, again? 


The thinking man’s Modern Warfare

The game that made Captain Price’s face fuzz famous is built around twitch shooting. If you’ve not got the reactions of a paranoid, caffeine-addicted meerkat you’re going to spend most of your time staring at death cams. By contrast, MAG is like a (slightly homicidal) stroll in the park. It’s all methodical battles to defend bases and mini wars of attrition. For a control freak obsessed with keeping his kill death ratio in the plus column, the game’s slower, more controlled approach coupled with the huge maps, means I can pick and choose my battles.


It’s fairer than COD

Unless you’ve got thumbs of granite and the precognitive abilities of midget, amphibian Jedi (Yoda’s definitely a frog, yeah?), COD is seriously unforgiving. Because of the level up system, there’s never parity with the guns. Most players I meet will always be manned up to the molars with weapons that make my M14 look like something I’ve built out of cereal boxes, sticky tape and prayers. But with MAG, even when using the rubbish default weapon sets, I’ve always got a chance… mainly because my man can suck up shrapnel like a bullet-resistant sponge.

In contrast, if I eat a few well-placed cartridges in MW2 my shit’s going down in a crumpled, twitching heap. Realistic? Yup. Fair? Hell no. Where you can get gunned downed within a couple of seconds of respawning in COD, you always re-enter MAG a fair distance away from its firefights. Sure, having to sprint thirty seconds to find a fellow man to riddle with lead is a pain in the ass. But at least it gives me time to find my bearings before they get shot off.


Unlike MW2, every second person I meet isn’t a giant douche

There’s definitely no ‘I’ in MAG’s team. Well, not unless you’re shit at spelling. Because most matches demand tactical coordination within squads, I found fellow players were always looking after me. They healed me with med packs when I took damage. Watched my back when I entered enemy territory. And, crucially, let me know if there was a man behind me waiting to shish kebab my bladder with an AK. MAG gave me a sense of community I’ve never had with COD.


Above: Bromance between me and my MAG team-mates has been rife

So there you have it. A rant of Tom Cruise on Oprah proportions that’ll no doubt convince you I’m a raving mentalist. But, stick me in MAG, and you’ve got one happy raving mentalist.


Look out for our MAG Super Review over the next week.

Feb 8, 2010


MAG: What's the verdict on Sony's online FPS?
We could've reviewed the game, but we haven't - read on to find out why


Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer maps guide
Up your game even further with these ultra-detailed maps and tips

42 comments

  • GIJoe01 - February 9, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    RAVEN FTW!!!
  • grimv9 - February 9, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    S.V.E.R. Bitches, a 94 on metacritic? Will GR be reviewing it any time soon then?
  • CaseD - February 9, 2010 3:07 p.m.

    I don't own a PS3, and havn't played MAG. However, I can already say that I agree with you. The twitch gameplay of CoD gets incredibly repetitive, and although fun for a short time with friends is in no way something I enjoy on my own, its frustrating. I do however play Battlefield (Bad company, 2... whichever) alot due to its larger maps and therefore less reliance on reaction times, and more on planning beforehand. MAG is one of few reasons I could find for buying a PS3, just wish there were more to sway me. Lastly I do disagree on one point. You claim that CoD has a problem whereby people of a higher level have access to much stronger guns, this just isn't true. Alot of the 'beginner' weapons are perfectly capable of holding there own, infact some are even preferable to the later weapons.
  • PlainOldGamer - February 9, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    Ha ha ha nice article. I chuckle every time i hear Bromance.
  • crumbdunky - February 9, 2010 3:26 p.m.

    MAG is better if you're shit at shooters? With less auto aim assistance and bigger, more demanding maps and a far more complex set up all round I'd say that's the very last advantage you could argue it has over MW! I prefer MAG for two main reasons myself:1, it feels fairer(and also because MW/COD gives good/experienced players even MORE help and advantages over the newcomer which is just silly, imo, as if you're already pretty good at a pick up and play shootrer why would you want the challenge lessening unless you are a massive win baby?)without the twitchy aim and chewap perks and killstreak BS. And 2, it's just got a whole lot more for you to learn, mess around with and find your way of fitting into a team and as a result any successes feel, to me at least, more rewwarding and more like you and your mates earned them. The bigg problem with MAG is, imo, the odd perception people have of it. It's a squad shootrer in the extreme and going solo is pointless for you and your sqwuad but as a result fewer gamers will want to put in the extra effort:the asame as with TF2 and other squad based games it's a niche title yet has been reviewed/talked of as a direct cocmpetitor with MW2 or MoH et al and it never was going to be. It's getting better all the time, they did an amazing technical job and complaining that it doesn't look like KZ2 *(when itr's conquered lag in a 256 game better than MW2 has with tiny sides is a trechnical feat that shouldn't be sneered at)is plain silliness to me. When MW2 or even BFBC2 don't look great online I also don't see the point in thinking MAG could ever look as amazing as some SP games. Whatever, in short people put daft expectations onto KMAG for whatever reason and even though most knew they didn't like team based multiplayer before somehow managed to blame MAG and Zipper for this not changing that or making them suddenly appreciate a game with at least some learning curve beyond the first day or two! MAG rewards you farly and directly for the amount you put in and as a direct result of this feels more organic and more rewarding when and as you improve as a player but a lot of people bashed it because they either misunderstood it's aims or oddly expected it to suit them even when other team shooters had never been trheir cup of tea(there's a reason why TF2 and SOCOM nebver outsold COD or Halo you know and it isn't that the games are "inferior" but more because they're a more acquired and limited taste. Thennyou had gamers who seem to expect EVERY game to be for them, that can't accept that, just mayube, a particular game might not be the one for thm because it's DIFFERENT to the ones they always/usually like to play. Suddenly it was MAG and Zipper's faults that their "broken" game didn't suit everyone n the worlds taste in what has always been a niche sub genre of shooter. Consider, also, how many mre normal COD aping shooters fail to set the world alight even when they actively try to chase these same gamers and it's not hard to see why some disliked their time with MAG-it's just alien to a great many of thoe who played the betas and not many ever want to learn on the scale MAG demands imn order for you to get anything much out of it. I think that in the good games MAG is a way more exciting and reewarding shooter to play online that anything else on consoles today and as the community proves it will only get better and better. At least GR waited a little to rreview it but, ewven so, think it will need another lok in six months when Impredict t will have come into it's own as a shooter-still not for everyone,but a gret, tactical, team based shooter that was never intended to be for everyone or sell like MW2.
  • sklorbit - February 9, 2010 3:39 p.m.

    stupid article. they are completely different types of games. mw2 is supposed to be fast and furious, with little tactic; while mag is supposed to me more of a team based game, thats why it has squads and shit. the author of the article should understand that what he has writen is just oppinion and shouldnt convince anyone which game is better. the things you dont like about mw2 are the things the rest of the world loves about it. now when BFBC2 comes out i would be interested in seeing a comparison between that and mag.
  • onewingedantista - February 9, 2010 5:04 p.m.

    All these are the exact reasons I prefer Battlefield over CoD. At least, until the griefers get to it.
  • Corsair89 - February 9, 2010 6:23 p.m.

    I'm the same way. I can beat any CoD on Veteran difficulty, but have a tough time online.
  • Pocotron - February 9, 2010 6:37 p.m.

    I was wondering when you guys were going to review this game. Just don't make it a shit review, because I've been waiting for this verdict!
  • inconceivable - February 9, 2010 7:10 p.m.

    I kind of want to get MAG after reading this.
  • DrLovez69 - February 9, 2010 7:16 p.m.

    Crumbdunky, You are the man. The man of men. You totally stole my thoughts, and I plan on sueing, but i totally agree with EVERY point you said... Comparing MAG to roadkill is seriously harsh =L I think it looks great IMHO, Characters are solid, maps need more colour but awesome NTL. (ACROYNMS FTW!) but i realise thats not the point of the article, you are on MAGs side Mr. Meikleham so I salute you. But i think I'm one of the few P33PZ out there that can play both and love both games. Although I defiantly prefer MAG, and I only played Beta for about 3 hours and had like 300 kills and 100 deaths! (oddly enough I'm better at shooters when I'm drunk, I won 5 free for all matchs in a row while hammered! WTF!) ANYWAY IM LOSING CONCENTRATION ON MY POINT... My point is, MAG is just awesome, its wrongs are cancelled out by its huge rights, and is just plain sweet, no story,(kind of) but has personality, shooting is good, but so much more options at your disposal, graphics are good, not great, but cancelled out by sheer scale. And it works. It bloody works. People Im urging you to buy it, its smart. And all y'all know thats a rarity these days. EPIC MESSAGE FIN.
  • JizzyB - February 9, 2010 7:43 p.m.

    One thing I hate about MW2 is the imbalanced killstreak rewards. You have no defense against air support until you unlock the Cold-blooded perk or the Stinger missile.
  • CreeplyTuna - February 9, 2010 7:57 p.m.

    although im pissed at cod and already traded it in a gamestop towards BFBC2, i just recently got MAG and i find it OK. i dont have a mic and i just spend 60 bucks on a game, i dont wanna spend another 50 on a mic, so im returning it for now, but ill prob get it later when it cheaper. also, a problem i had with mag was most people (including me) suck. im level 3 and only won one match, cuz i camped and it was kinda boring, so, if u got a mic and find a bunch of people with mics Mag would prob be AWESOME! but for now...is alright
  • rtrickey - February 9, 2010 8:06 p.m.

    What I find surprising is how every reviewer of MAG is apparently unaware that PlanetSide ever existed. There's never any comparison, even though all the strengths and weaknesses mentioned apply (predictably) to both games. Doubly odd there's no comparison, considering they're from the same publisher. And the whole 256 players thing might have been impressive were it not for PlanetSide supporting 400 ...five years ago.
  • RebornKusabi - February 9, 2010 8:07 p.m.

    I loved the hell out of Modern Warfare 1 to the point that I played it steadily for a full year but I honestly couldn't get into the sequel at all... I can't place the reason for why, it just didn't hook me as much as the first. I plan on play MAG pretty soon, I just wanted to wait to see if it has some staying power. If it does then I'll be picking it up as soon as possible. reCAPTCHA- the rescuers (one of my favorite Disney movies lol)
  • TheWebSwinger - February 9, 2010 8:49 p.m.

    If I posted that roadkill picture in the forums, I'd get b&. Just sayin. Oh, and as a guy who spent a fair amount of time with the MAG beta...Dave's wrong. @JizzyB: One of the Level 1 default classes has an AT4 missile as its secondary weapon.
  • MailMan - February 9, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    Hmm, sounds like someone hasnt ventured into a battlefield game, ever
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 9, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    sklorbit, I think a better way of looking at this article is that it's saying not so much MAG is better than Modern Warfare 2, just appeals to a different type of FPS gamer, as you're getting at. MW2 is for people who love twitch gunplay, MAG follows in the tradition of Battlefield in that it's for player favoring tactics and teamplay over twitch skills. (I'm just like the article writer in that respect.) I don't think that it being like Battlefield should be considered a negative, as some seem to have suggested and others I've seen outright said. Whereas PC gamers have their full-fledged tactical multiplayer gameplay in Battlefield 2, console gamers get MAG. I mean, yeah, there's Bad Company 2, but that only has a cap of 24 players compared to MAG's smallest cap of 64 (I think that was the smallest) and the max cap is 256. And of course for these kinds of games, as long as the tech can handle it, the bigger the better.
  • FlyingDice - February 9, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    I'm just going to say this: I honestly considered buying a PS3 just to play MAG. And then I realized that I'm poor as shit...
  • Abe504 - February 9, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    My brother bought this game last week when he bought a ps3, i played it for 10 mins. Then promptly went out and bought a ps3 and this game. MW who???

Showing 1-20 of 42 comments

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