In a generation chock full of online shooters, does MAG truly step up the fight?
MAG was released on January 26, 2010 exclusively on the PS3. Review based on gameplay up to level 30 across 20+ hours of game play.
After a lengthy closed beta and what was essentially time-specific demo of an open beta, Zipper Interactive’s MAG has finally hit the PS3 in its full retail form. Although the prospect of a 256-player shooter certainly sounds refreshing in a world where Modern Warfare 2’s 9v9 is king, is it enough to carry the game on its own? Does the game bring anything new to the fight? After reaching level 30 with a member of the Valor faction, I think I’m ready to make my final judgments and decide whether or not this is a war you want to start fighting yourself.
Graphically, MAG is nothing to write home about. If anything, it’s actually a bit of a disappointment compared to most recent shooters and PS3-exclusives. With very basic particle effects and character animations, the battlefield isn’t always the most breathtaking thing to look at. Although you are allowed a small amount of character customization at the beginning of your mercenary career, you won’t find yourself standing out from the crowd, far from it in fact. With only a small array of faces and voices to choose for your character, all of the soldiers quickly begin to look the same, swapping out a Mohawk for a Samoan complexion or deeper voice every once in a while.
Unfortunately, the game’s menu and UI follow in the footsteps of the graphics. Clunky and decidedly last-generation, everything from the opening screen showcasing military documents scattered beneath a large PDA containing your character’s information to the less-than-intuitive skill menu that will have you slowly scrolling up and down and up and down as you pick which skill is best to spend your precious few points on feels dated and bargain-bin, which is unfortunate because both the skill system and the gameplay deserve much better. With this said, the overall presentation is bearable at worst and just above average at best.
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