MAG – Beta Impressions (PS3)

I’ve been fortunate on the beta front recently – as well as Battlefield Bad Company 2 I also managed to get myself on the list for Sony’s upcoming FPS MAG.

The beta, which closed today ahead of the game’s January 2010 release, featured only two modes (Domination and Sabotage – which are your standard ‘Capture & Hold’ and ‘Search And Destroy’) but they were varied enough to give you a flavour of the gameplay you can expect.

As I’ve said before I’m not a huge fan of ‘twitch shooters’ – FPS’s where the slightest movement of the stick spins the camera round fast – as I find them both unrealistic and fairly unsatisfying (yes Modern Warfare 2 I’m looking at you) – and MAG veers dangerously close but has just enough weight in the controls to save it.

The great thing about MAG is that you’re constantly reminded that your match is just one of many going on but that every small victory helps your faction in the overall war.

I plumped for the S.V.E.R faction (which is a bunch of ragtag rebel fighters 😎 ) as, being perfectly honest I’m sick of playing of US soldiers (who make up the VALOR faction). Obviously nothing against the US or anything just that it makes a change to be offered a different side to play for. The last remaining faction are RAVEN, Tactical Elites who are super polished fighters.

Each faction has different weaponry and, I believe, a few different special weapons (airstrikes etc) to call in.

The gameplay itself is really good and some of the more frantic Domination matches were superb – just to give you a sense of scale, where games normally have you defending one or two points on the map MAG has you defending/attacking SIX! 😮

With up to 256 players online in the same game they have had to up the ante and it seems to have been done really well.

With regard to the way it plays and controls, as I said above it’s just the right side of twitch and I found it pretty enjoyable to play. If you didn’t know where you were going it was a pain in the ass at times as more experienced folk picked you off from a distance but being honest that happens in most games of this type anyway when you start playing.

Overall I’d say it’s not quite as promising as Battlefield Bad Company 2 but for me it’s step up from Modern Warfare 2 as it feels a lot more involved and you are part of a bigger picture.

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