MAG – Review (PS3)

 

MAG (or Massive Action Game to give the game it’s full title) is an online only first person shooter where the aim isn’t simply killing the opposition but to beat them in warfare.

Essentially there is a giant war going on between three factions SVER (my choice :cool:), VALOUR and RAVEN. Each faction has it’s own weapons/abilities and every battle you play through affects the picture of control in the overall war.

It’s an interesting concept – essentially a never ending online war which will, no doubt, swing between the factions as time passes.

Likewise the concept of levelling up/ranks is also innovative. With the bigger battles featuring 128 v 128 online players the sides are organised into squads of 8. Once you level up enough you can take control of a squad and eventually handle several squads at once.

MAG is a game that requires your time. This isn’t like Modern Warfare 2 where you can level up and unlocks lots of stuff in a short time frame – you do unlock things in MAG but it’s much slower paced.

And the stroke of genius that keeps you coming back is that you don’t get all the game modes to start with. If you want to take part in the biggest battles you’ll need to accrue the necessary level.

This also combats the potential problem of having a lot of trash talking idiots involved. Most of those guys won’t want to put in 7/8 hours just to unlock the biggest games.

The actual gameplay is good, I still prefer Battlefield BC2, and once you start getting into the mindset of sticking with your squad and doing objectives it is a rewarding experience.

A few gripes though, firstly body armour is a bit excessive – sometimes an entire round to the body isn’t enough to kill someone – and the combat knife seems ridiculously overpowered. It’s usually a one hit kill and when you combine the above it can be frustrating to unload a clip into an oncoming enemy which not only doesn’t kill them but they then kill you in one hit with the knife.

I’ve yet to experience any lag but have lost the connection to the server a few times but I suppose is inevitable when dealing with this many players online?

Overall MAG is a great accompaniment to Modern Warfare 2 or Battlefield BC 2 – I don’t think it will be my FPS of choice but it offers something different and is a change of pace to other FPS games. For that reason I can see myself investing time in MAG.

Rating: 7/10

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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – Demo Impressions

As you may remember from reading my Beta impressions, or indeed my 2009 Game Awards, Battlefield Bad Company 2 is my most wanted game of 2010.

Now that a mulitplayer demo has gone up on the PSN everyone can give it a try. And I suggest they do 🙂

The main difference between this and the Beta (other than the obvious one of bugs having been ironed out) is that rather than a desert based map this one is snowy. And also the weapons seem less plentiful, though that might be because I haven’t ranked up yet.

For me personally the demo is vindication of my preaching to all and sundry of just how good this game is. And we’ve only played multiplayer so far.

DICE could give me the multiplayer maps/objectives with all the other characters as AI and some nonsense backstory and Battlefield: Bad Company 2’s campaign mode would STILL be better than Modern Warfare 2’s weak single player story.

I found a wonderful sniper spot on one part of the map and was racking up the kills before running out of ammo and having to ‘Leeroy Jenkins’ it with just a pistol. 😎

The map proves as diverse as the desert based one and you obviously still have the vehicles as before. This demo showcases the games strengths.

However, this isn’t going to be a game for everyone and if you go steaming in the chances are you will die… a lot. You’ll need to be a bit more stealthy, hiding behind something and running to the next point of cover is a good idea – whereas running down the middle of a road will most likely see you shot in the head.

If you are into first person shooters then this is definitely one for you. I’ll be very surprised if the full game isn’t head and shoulders above all competition – my current multiplayer FPS favourite Killzone 2 included.

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Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 – Review (PS3)

For the first time in a long while I have not been sucked into the hype for a big triple A game.

I just wasn’t excited about Modern Warfare at all – a mixture of not getting on with the first title and a general disappointment from the multiplayer footage I’d seen.

Upon firing up the single player mode I was struck by how good the graphics were and after a quick run through the training camp I was on my way.

The campaign mode sees you take on the role of several characters and while the story is full of big set pieces, the lack of depth in any of the characters you control leads to a sense of confusion at times.

This is also one of the games biggest weaknesses – without any sort of attachment to any of the characters it was difficult to care about what was going on as I worked my way through set piece after set piece.

The set pieces themselves were great when they worked but on the whole were another weakness in my opinion.

Take the snow mobile ride. Now I know someone who did it in one flowing attempt and thought it was amazing. It took me 3 or 4 goes to nail it – on one occasion failing right on the last jump as I wasn’t going quick enough – and was just a disappointing pain in the ass. 😦

I just feel sections like that should be very hard to mess up, not knocking into one tree kills you (as realistic as that is).

Overall the single player is a bit of an enjoyable mess, with a story that is all over the place.

But no-one is going to be buying Modern Warfare 2 for the campaign mode… it’s all about the multiplayer.

And it’s a pretty good experience.

It’s been patched 4 times in the opening two weeks after release which I think may be a record – and it certainly struggles at times.

I’ve been kicked off because ‘the server is full’, disconnected from lobbies, been unable to party up, got stuck in doorways, had the cpu move for me when I was trying to stay still and had general connection issues.

Having said all that the actual gameplay is polished, and while it took a while to get used to the speed of moving (having been used to the slower Killzone 2), Modern Warfare 2 is fantastic fun online.

They have incorporated some features from other games and improved their own stuff from the previous installment.

The best thing for me are the Deathstreaks, where instead of being rewarded for killing opponents you get a bonus for dying. Very helpful if you’re having a bad round or just starting out. 🙂

Modern Warfare 2 is a vast multiplayer experience, with a ton of unlocks and perks to get over time. It’s a rich and deep set of abilities and weapons, which will keep you busy for a while to come.

As an overall package though Modern Warfare 2 is a lopsided beast.

The single player lacks any depth and would be no great loss to skip and the multiplayer, while fun and engaging, is extremely glitchy and suffers from connection problems.

Better than I thought then but not quite the second coming everyone was raving about.

Rating: 8/10

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To Demo Or Not To Demo? That Is The Question…

Modern Warfare 2

I had been meaning to write a piece on demos and then the guys from Epic Battle Axe discussed it on their weekly podcast so I thought I’d better pull my finger out and get on with it!

Infinity Ward’s decision not to release a demo before launch for Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 struck me as odd – I’m usually very suspicious of a game that doesn’t have a demo.

Got something to hide? Just not quite as good as everyone thinks? (Hi Prototype :smile:)

For sure Modern Warfare 2 probably doesn’t need a demo pre-release of the game with the hype it’s had but in most cases a lack of demo is often a sign of a weak game.

PES 2010 DemoPES 2010 Demo: Unfinished

And sometimes even putting out a demo just makes things worse, especially as the demo is usually months old and sometimes not finished properly (hang your head in shame PES 2010).

But there is also a flip side to this argument. There have also been a few games where the demo just hasn’t done the game justice.

Take for example Batman: Arkham Asylum – one of my favourite games this year. The demo wasn’t great.

The makers were obviously trying to show off both the combat and stealth sections but for some reason taken out of the context of the game it didn’t really work.

Batman2Batman Arkham Asylum: Too good to fit into a demo?

I think some people were put off by that demo but hopefully the universally high review scores will have made them think again.

My good friend Hollow Snake always says he thought the Infamous demo had it right – give you all the powers and let you run riot.

Show what you could have if you get the game and stick with it. I can certainly see the logic but I’ve often wondered if that would overwhelm more casual gamers, who might be looking to get into a new title?

inFAMOUSinFAMOUS: The way a demo should be done?

I know of at least one person that couldn’t be bothered to even finish the demo as there were too many control instructions.

I often prefer games that give you the first level (or some of it) to play through, like Killzone 2 or Brutal Legend. (Having said that I think Brutal Legend’s demo is pretty misleading – making you think it’s a hack ‘n’ slash rather than an RTS game)

Either way I’m glad that we are now given a chance to easily access demos and I am firmly in favour of them. To be honest they have been one of the best things about the PSN for me.

So what do you think? Does a demo often do more harm than good? Should it be a grass roots beginning experience or an all out glorious spree of the game’s potential?

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