Wednesday, 17 February 2010

M.A.G: The Review

As of late I’ve not been able to walk a few steps down my local high street without being assaulted by a poster of some brand new FPS or a hyperactive Devil May Cry inspired video game and me and first person shooters on the consoles generally don’t tend to gel very well. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind a little console based FPS action in my life but normally it’s of the Tom Clancy variety but simply put, most of the new offerings as of late have left me feeling cold. Most of which in my opinion made unenjoyable online thanks to general cheesey tactics deployed by the fan base in general or some cheating cunt buckets exploiting glitches or crappy sever migration woes or connection related problems so M.A.G. by definition had it’s work cut out for it from the very start.

M.A.G. is effectively Battlefield 2, make no mistake about it and no I am not going to compare this game to Modern Warfare 2 or even the new Battlefield games because none of them are really like the Battlefields of old. Large, Epic battles taking place between two massive armies with vehicles and dedicated servers and everything that’s fun about playing an large scale team based FPS in general.

M.A.G. is played on dedicated servers with up to two hundred and fifty six players, let me repeat that TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX! Not only is that kind of body count insane for a console game but the more amazing thing about the game is that it actually works, which is especially shocking here in Europe. The game runs smoother than most console FPS’s yet it’s smallest game available is a sixty four man skirmish, that’s four times the size of your average console game but minus the shit that normally comes with the territory like laggy hosts and the game suddenly coming the a stretching holt because the host decided to rage quit the match half way though.

The game itself it basic enough to understand. Pick one of three factions to fight for and go kick some arse in one of the four gameplay modes. Each gameplay mode has three maps in it, each one representing a territory for one faction in that gameplay mode. If an faction wins enough games in one gameplay mode they get special bonuses which boosts the player general’s ability.

Oh yeah did I forget to mention that the armies are divided in to divisions of sixteen people and each have their own commanders who can set targets to people in their sqaud? If the sqaud do well and complete the objective set by the commander then they all get bonus experience points so it’s wise to set your troops realistic goals. This also forces the divisions to think of the bigger picture and not to run towards the objective blindly, taking out support structures, AA cannons, mortar placements and barricades can overturn the tide of battle as well as win you tons of experience points which gain you development points which you can spend on your character.

Speaking of character development you only get to create one character per PSN account (boo!) and you can only play with people in your own faction. Also there is a perks system but it more like an RPG perk system as supposed to you *sigh* Modern Warfare interchangeable system. Any choices you make you have to stick with so you have to specialise if you want to really good perks and weapons that a particular development line has to offer. For example you will need to spend at least two development points in something like Assault Rifles for example before you can purchase the next tier of perks for assault they has a new gun that you can buy. This can have a pretty big effect on your play style but if you screw up don’t worry because every so often the game will allow you to respec your character if you feel you have messed up beyond repair.

The battles themselves are interesting, it plays like I said more like the old Battlefield games so your characters are incredibly mortal. You can heal yourself if you have a injector or if a ally medic heals you and you can even be revived and brought back to your feet if you should fall but only if you where brought down with bullets to the body. Anything explosive or directed towards the player’s head will kill a solider in this game and they will have to wait to respwan which is staggered in stages so that a player is not respwaned by himself. Another important thing I should point out is that the controls for this game are actually excellent. They are a little different from your standard console FPS but in a good way. Everything makes sense here and the aiming is nice and responsive. There are also vehicles but only land based at the moment, they are pretty fun to drive about the battlefield, some have devastating firepower while others act more like mobile spwan points which is a really cleaver idea.

Generally I have nothing but praise for this game, what is lacks in originality it makes up for by being a rock solid experience on the whole. There are only a few quirks that draw it back somewhat. One thing is the game’s stupid naming policy. Seriously my friend could not play the game because he had ‘hairy’ in part of his PSN nametag so he had to make an entirely new PSN account just to play this one game. Also I feel that the knife has a little to long of a rang, it’s more like a sword than a knife judging from it’s hit box but these are minor nuisances, the only real problem I see is the map variety. I am not sure how the developers intend on supporting this game but they will need to produce new maps eventually because at the moment there are enough to keep you entertained but not for months on end. Here is hoping that they don’t get to crazy with the pricing otherwise they might price out some of their own player base. With that said here’s hoping that this awesome game will be continued to be supported, because it’s this game that makes me pleased to do some console FPS’ing again without having to put up with from what I believe from a long time PC gamer is the normal annoyances of the gender on the consoles and most importantly it’s a really fun and ambitious game in terms of scope. [8/10]

No comments: