MAG Impressions

This experience may not be indicative of how the game will perform under a heavier load. There were only a couple hundred people online the night before the official launch, so the servers were definitely not under a heavy load.

Our review copy of MAG showed-up last night, so of course I had to make an attempt at trying to connect! I didn’t even know if the servers would be up yet, but to my delight, they were, and even better is the fact that there were enough people online to get some matches going.

First, you will be met with a version 1.01 patch right out of the gate, it weigh’s-in at around 38MB. On top of that, the in-game updater grabbed about 66MB of data as well. Not really a big deal to me, as it went quick enough to not be a nuisance. Also, there is NO install for MAG, which I was quite surprised with. If you’ve played the beta, then creating your character will be very familiar. You choose a Head and a Voice, and most importantly, which PMC you will join (Valor, S.V.E.R., or Raven.)

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When I first started, only the Training and Suppression modes were available. I chose Suppression, which is a 64-player Team Deathmatch. In these instances though, all 64 people are from the same PMC. It’s treated as a more advanced way to “ease you in” to the gameplay of MAG. During my first match, I ended-up in a squad with some familiar faces from NeoGaf, and one from, Sam Bishop. We all decided to start a Party, since it was obvious that we were playing well as a squad, and which we all found out later, makes a HUGE difference in how much fun this game can really be. But here was our first “glitch” of the night. After a couple of matches, our party could NOT launch into another match. We tried disbanding the party then re-establishing, but even that did not fix our issue. So, we took the gamble and just launched into another match, hoping that we could all join the same squad, which in this case worked for a while. Suppression allows players to join-in, even if a match is already in progress. After a while, we started drifting apart, only to create a new party later-on, which ended-up working fine. We all dismissed it as a “first night glitch” and all agreed that it wasn’t a dealbreaker.

What we found out later though, is that after the group disbanded for the night, we were in squads with random folks, and the proof of what we’d all been saying about teamwork making or breaking the experience was exposed. I had a couple of matches that were a complete disaster, with teammates that ran-off as lone gunmen, with not a soul holding a med-kit to revive fallen comrades. The sense of doom and frustration warmed-over me as the entire team ran around with no discipline at all. It was still fun though, moreso than I expected to be honest.

You see, I really enjoyed the series of betas for MAG, and after the very last one, I thought that I knew what to expect from the final game. What I was given in the full retail game though, is so far a much more polished and refined experience, and it caught me right away. The framerate has been solidified quite a bit, and the character animation is definitely nicer than we’d seen in the past. Voice-chat works brilliantly, as they seem to have found the perfect balance for Squad Chat and Proximity Chat. Everything about the game has been cleaned-up, and I can finally, and with confidence, bounce a grenade off of a wall to take enemies out that are hiding behind a raised wall. The shooting feels better, the control feels tighter, and the knife, oh the knife, not only can you knife while reloading, but the detection is excellent now. I even got 3 knife-kills in a row last night, which is a huge feat for me. Heck, I even played an entire round as a sniper-class, and did quite well.

I did play one round of Sabotage, and again, the refinements were obvious. Everything about the game just feels tighter than the beta, and many of my fears have been quashed. So, to answer the question that’s been sent to us numerous times on Twitter and in email, is this game a Buy or a Rent? It depends on what you want out of this game. If you’re looking for another Modern Warfare 2, I wouldn’t even rent it to be honest, they are THAT different. If you want a fun FPS, with a deep customization tree that allows you to create your own hybrid classes, and that truly gives you that feeling that you are a part of an epic battle, MAG is for you. Nice job so far Zipper Interactive!

Raven Shall Triumph!

ps By the way, if you plan on playing MAG, get a freaking headset, PLEASE!!! This game relies heavily on teamwork and communication. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem!

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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