crash_happy's MAG (PlayStation 3) review

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  • crash_happy wrote this review on .
  • 17 out of 122 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.

Do not buy MAG

Let me be very clear about this. MAG should have been a good game, indeed it could have been a great game. It has alot about it that shows this, but it fails utterly.
So the question of course is, why such a harsh title and score?
Well, most of MAG's woes can be summed up in one word. Imbalance. To really get a feel for this you have to play about with the various Private Military Companies that the game offers. There are three flavours and these are supposed to provide a backstory and a general feeling for the sort of kit they get. In reality the back story is irrelevant and the kit options themselves are replicated across all sides. Now that's fair enough right? After all keeping the sides balanced is easier if all three have the same stuff and no one feels hard done by. And really, an Assault Rifle is an Assault Rifle right? This isn't a sim after all.
In this case though the developers had a different vision. The kit choices appear essentialy the same when you first play. You gain rank and spend points to access the gear and using that system allows you to choose to specialise should you wish, or be more able to respond to the changing battlefield by being more generalised. This is all good stuff as far as it goes but once out on the battlefield it doesn't take too long to realise that the name changes on the weaponry is far from cosmetic. MAG goes further though and seems to 'pool' all the really decent weapons in one faction, which is a rather odd choice. Playing as one side in particular it is a common occurance to put a whole clip into an enemy, only for them to turn around and kill you in two shots, but even if you do put them down getting through a whole clip when you can only carry four just doesn't seem right. Don't worry though, you'll almost always be dead before ammo becomes a problem.
But there's more. Having one side with really obviously more powerful weaponry isn't enough, in this case we also have the situation where the battlefields are slanted in favour of one team and against the others.
One side has a defensive setup that provides the home teams with wide fields of fire that overlap and compliment. This in turn allows it's players to press forward under covering fire, making attacking even harder. Behind the defensive emplacements a wall and should one of the bunkers go down this enables two major problems for the attackers. Firstly it funnels their attempt to break through into the base, providing the defending team plently of opportunity to mow them down. Secondly if their are vehicles available they are able to park up behind the bunker and provide covering fire for players repairing. Let's not forget that overlapping fire from the other bunkers.
Compare this to a more obviously organised base though where the bunkers are more sensibly behind the perimiter. In this case the wall actually further impedes the turret from providing fire and in the case of these other factions it is very rare that the bunkers can provide each other support.
This doesn't just tip the balance, it makes it near eff'ing vertical.
I hope I've been clear in this description because it really does turn a fun game into a mire of desperation, being spawn camped is never fun.
I shall continue though as there are other problems. There are connection difficulties, there are interface bugs where you get trapped unable to spawn and where you can't change equipment. Bugs, bugs, bugs. Heck, the game was more stable in beta.
How about that 256 player limit though? Yes, it can indeed be great. But take a look at that map again. there might be 256 people running around shooting but it's effectively two seperate bases. Why go to all that trouble to host 256 players if you're going to segregate them?
 
In short I would say, as I have in the title. Do not buy this game. On the other hand, if you're the kind of player that uses an Action Replay or finishes games using an invulnerability cheat code, go ahead and choose SVER.

45 Comments
Posted by EgoCheck616

The sad thing is your review makes complete sense, but you'll get almost no recommendations because most people will think you're a fanboy for giving it a 1/5.
 
It's the harsh reality we live in.

Posted by hwarang
@EgoCheck616 said:
" The sad thing is your review makes complete sense, but you'll get almost no recommendations because most people will think you're a fanboy for giving it a 1/5.  It's the harsh reality we live in. "
Harsh reality? A bit dramatic dont you think :)
Posted by Detrian

Sounds like a butthurt baby who doesn't understand how the weapons are balanced or that different maps ask for different tactics. 

Posted by EgoCheck616
@hwarang said:
" @EgoCheck616 said:
" The sad thing is your review makes complete sense, but you'll get almost no recommendations because most people will think you're a fanboy for giving it a 1/5.  It's the harsh reality we live in. "
Harsh reality? A bit dramatic dont you think :) "
Yea, that sounds a lot more serious than I made it out to be. Hehe.
Posted by pplus0440

Sounds like you just suck to me. I doubt one faction has an advantage over the other the gb review said all the factions were the same, yours says one has all the good weopons. OR you could be mad that you cant hit anybody while they can hit you?  
also just bc its not a cakewalk for attackers doesnt mean this game isnt balanced.
Posted by Crash_Happy

Whereas you Detrian sound like a SVER player.
I had some really great moments playing MAG in beta. With a good squad, hell even with a good handful of players. We might not have won but we made an impact against the odds and we revelled in that.
In beta I maxed out the level cap, I played two of the three factions, I respeced to try out different kit. At the end of the day though I assumed that the very well documented balancing issues would be resolved. So fire up retail and I hit problem after problem. Then I finaly get to play and it doesn't take a genius to realise that the very same balance issues are all still present and correct.
For those who are playing MAG and think I'm wring, fine but at least try out the different factions for perspective (rather than just pretending you have).
I can't help but wonder how different Jeff's review would have been if he'd chosen a different faction.
But yes EgoCheck616, I take your point.

Posted by Detrian

Maybe if you'd mention some of this very well documented balance issues beyond "guys have all the good guns" this review would have more weight instead of sounding like rambling.

Posted by Crash_Happy

The weapons imbalance IS one of them you brain donor. The map layouts are the second and the "rambling" is me describing them and their effect. I don't know why you can't tell that on your own rather than having to get me to point it out for you.

Posted by G3NK1E

I was going to read it, but the wall of text hurt my eyes....

Posted by Detrian
@Crash_Happy said:
" The weapons imbalance IS one of them you brain donor. The map layouts are the second and the "rambling" is me describing them and their effect. I don't know why you can't tell that on your own rather than having to get me to point it out for you. "
WHAT weapon imbalance you pillock? The fact that SVER weapons do more damage but fire slower than Raven's maybe? Is that imbalance or a feature? I dunno, tell me go on. Humor me.
Posted by supermike6
@Detrian said:
" @Crash_Happy said:
" The weapons imbalance IS one of them you brain donor. The map layouts are the second and the "rambling" is me describing them and their effect. I don't know why you can't tell that on your own rather than having to get me to point it out for you. "
WHAT weapon imbalance you pillock? The fact that SVER weapons do more damage but fire slower than Raven's maybe? Is that imbalance or a feature? I dunno, tell me go on. Humor me. "
I don't know if you have a valid point or not, but I do know you sound like a huge dick. Write a review that has your opinions instead of just ragging on his.
Posted by Six

i would have find your review easier to read if you would go back and indent the beginning of each paragraph.
 
From what i saw in the MAG videos and review, it looked like the game didn't clearly inform the player about some of the basics of gameplay.  
 
i also agree that giving only one star makes your review seem less apt to get recommended than if you gave it 2 stars with the same written review.  I think that fixing the format of your text would improve people's reaction to your review, even if you left the wording the same.

Posted by Crash_Happy

Yeah Six, that's a good point and I did mean to mention that. If you watch GB's footage it's clear that there is alot of fumbling around, which is a shame. I'm not sure how difficult it would be to insert some better instruction into the training but it really could do with it.

Posted by ryuken

 I saw a guy so decked out he looked like the guy on the cover of the box and I fucking killed his ass. what does that tell you. I think all of your assumptions are just that, you may have experienced all of this but maybe your team sucked and the defensive team was on point so you never had a chance.  
 
Just today I was on the attacking side and we stormed A and B so fast we kicked them out with team work and badassery, but we couldnt take C we just couldn't it was crazy, we lost. I blame snipers taking us out in mid-air but they also had there flanks covered well who nows.  
 
I smell a hater if you ask me. 
Posted by Crash_Happy
@ryuken: Ok, I'll bite. You think that maybe I have experienced all that but it's still my assumption? I mean, then it would at least be an assumption based on experience. Not so bad. But you still want to just go ahead and dismiss what I've said? That's your perogative but the psychology is very clear. As I said, and apparently you don't believe, I really want the game to be great.
 
The imbalance in the game is such that the 1st, 2nd, 3rd placings are predictable. That's not to say assured. I've been around and I've seen players whine about various percieved issues while I just get on with it and have a laugh. This one time though I figured heck, I have to tell someone. I've said it now and you are all free to dismiss and disagree. 
Have fun all.
Posted by Gditz
@Crash_Happy said:

" At the end of the day though I assumed that the very well documented balancing issues would be resolved. "

If they are so well documented, can we have a link to this so we can see what other things might be unbalanced? 
 
Secondly, surely you cant blame the fact that it's easy to kill idiots who charge into a small open space on the game? Its not like players don't notice bunkers being attacked and go "Maybe I should NOT focus my fire towards the people out in plain sight attacking my bunker". What I'm saying is that you cant claim a game is bad due to people being predictable. I also find it odd that you said "In beta I maxed out the level cap, I played two of the three factions, I respeced to try out different kit." and spoke a bit about the problems you had. Surely the problems couldn't have been that big if you played all the way to the cap and then bought the game? Anyways, if you are right then we can but hope that they patch it so the factions are balanced.
 
Lastly, your review could do with some better structure and format. Try being a bit more objective when it comes to how the game works. "Did it really take a whole clip to kill that guy or am I slightly annoyed that I've died 5 times in a row without a kill?" is something I usually find asking myself when I am raging in Team Fortress 2 or Uncharted 2 but then again I am prone to shouting....
 
Keep up the reviewing
Edited by ryuken

well since I've only played valor and I'm only lvl 12 aaaaand I didn't play the beta, you do have more experiance than I do, maybe this is something that the developers didn't forsee (regarding maps "imbalance") but I still find it hard to believe that they would make one class just plain more powerful than the others, they couldn't possibly have overlooked that or have done it on purpose. Maybe some class' are better for a specific play type like sniper for example, but not thru and thru.  
 
going back to the maps, if you have the high ground you already have the advantage but to me it all comes down to team work and individual skill.  
 
obviously I want you to be wrong (and I think you are to a point) so thats my main modivation for disagreeing with you.  
Posted by DannyJ

Join a clan. My clan has destroyed SVER on multiple occasions, also my clan is Raven if that says anything more about coordination and teamwork.

Posted by miva2

one less game I need to buy :)

Posted by Crash_Happy
@Gditz: One last reply since you're actually sensible.
You are right that it's not the fault of the players and I don't blame them. I don't expect them not to defend and in their position I certainly do. That is why that particular problem is the layout of the maps, as I describe it. One team has open fields of fire, in real life this would probably be stupid but within the game rules it provides a massive advantage as long as the players are good enough to realise and use it.
I don't know if you've ever been in a beta, but you expect to find things like this. That's one reason why open betas are still used. I was more than happy to just log the problems and wait to see what changed in the next patch. Various problems were indeed patched and there was supposed to be another big balance patch on retail release.
This is why I was confident that these things would be addressed. I still hope they are, in which case I will edit my review to reflect that change. 

As far as links, I wish I could help. They disappear pretty flipping fast on the forums, but if you're really interested there is a new thread here:  

http://community.eu.playstation.com/t5/MAG/I-think-Zipper-need-to-think-about-Balance-a-little-more/td-p/10113096
 
And no, that's not me.
Posted by Devil240Z
@Detrian said:
" Sounds like a butthurt baby who doesn't understand how the weapons are balanced or that different maps ask for different tactics.  "
thats exactly what i was going to say.
Posted by Crash_Happy

Oh but boohoo! You couldn't think of it in time! Tell you what, take a week. See what you can come up with.

Posted by Crash_Happy
@ryuken: No, I think it's a good old fashioned mistake. I'm assuming that, taking the assult rifles as the case in point, they are supposed to balance out. I think that what is supposed to happen is that one gun may have a higher RoF, but lower damage per shot and another weapon a lower RoF but higher damage. Get those two things to balance out and hey presto you have equal guns that feel different and even appeal to different play styles. Bargain.
Somehow though it just doesn't quite work. I will say again, I really do want to like this game. Fixing the guns seems simple, but I'm stumped over how you fix the maps without a more major change.
Edited by Windswilling

The problem with user reviews is shown by the example set above.  

 The player is clearly bad at the game, can not grasp the simple tactics needed to employ for success, nor probably can't frag anyone due to a lack of skill.  Their expectations maybe heightened from playing other console shooters that employ massive amounts of aim assist.   Hopefully people ignore their ramblings of non-sense.
   
I've played all three factions now, you can be successful with each as long as you employ common sense.  Strats with your teammates go a long way.  This is a TEAM based game, not a lone wolf mindless shooter like MW2, or insert any other generic shooter like it here.   Each PMC tends to have a better weapon than the others for each segment, though never game crippling, never as much as you'd like to presume.    Bugs are found in any game, and this game has the least amount compared to every other shooter that launched this gen.

If you're someone who wants a ground breaking shooter that employs tons of teamwork and is very rewarding, this is your game.  Get a clan together as soon as you can and as you progress your character while learning new strats, the game is second to none for this gen.  If you want to smoke up and blast your rap music through your headset annoying everyone else, this is not your game, as you'll be vote kicked immediately.  Take the time to learn this game and level up, and it's very-rewarding to say the least.  Stick to CoD MW2 if you need a game that's mindless and holds your hand. 
 
Once again, don't listen to this butt-hurt player.  How can you tell they are?  Read their "review", and look at the last comments:  "Action Replay".  Get real sport.

Posted by JJWeatherman
@EgoCheck616 said:
" The sad thing is your review makes complete sense, but you'll get almost no recommendations because most people will think you're a fanboy for giving it a 1/5.  It's the harsh reality we live in. "
The real sad thing is the lack of formatting. So hard to read.
Posted by TotalEklypse

at least he didnt try to mention mass effect in his review. jokes aside, i have seen battles go either way. the game has very good balance as far as i am concerned (i have been on all sides used almost every gun before u try and act like i wouldnt know). there are a few issues with map layout i might argue but equipment wise it's fine. MAG is not for the casual as everyone knows, but your lack of valid points makes me have to agree with the masses regarding the star score of this review. sounds more like crying to me. most of the experienced guys went SVER (most of us from beta) to be the underdog class. the way the fight plays out depends on the tactics of the group as a whole. really what did u expect though? u have a ton of experienced players vs the nubs trying to find thier places. things will all change when we hit our 60 mark and switch sides. if u wanted to give a real review you should have backed things up a bit more. i do agree with another poster though that the training could have done a bit more but really... it isnt rocket science. If you have played one shooter you have played pretty much all of em.  1/5 only because i cant go any lower.  
 
thats my 2 cents. nuff said.
Posted by slyspider

 
@EgoCheck616: 
the guns are made different on purpose you numb nuts. Your argument holds no merit! Valor has the accurate but weak and slow guns, Raven has fast but inaccurate and weak, S.E.V.R. has strong but slow and inaccurate. Now granted the differences are a bit more complicated but if you try raven tactics with valor guns,,, your gonna die! Also the map thing, defense is suppose to be easy. If you would use your brain you would figure out that if Valor made defenses at a base it just might be hard for some one to take it over..... You also stated that this game isn't a sim, well if you look at socom those games are pretty close to sim so why wouldn't this game be the same...  i have played about 10 hours of retail and probably over 50 or 60 in beta. I played all three sides and found them to have a nice distinct feel. Maybe you play the special dumb-ass version.

Posted by Kontrapunkt

           You didn't really talk about how the game actually played, you did speak of the networking issues but, really all that was in there is how you thought it was imbalanced.  Also reading some of your comments on the review, you said there was some fumbling about, which you should of put in the review.

Posted by slyspider
@TotalEklypse said:
" at least he didnt try to mention mass effect in his review. jokes aside, i have seen battles go either way. the game has very good balance as far as i am concerned (i have been on all sides used almost every gun before u try and act like i wouldnt know). there are a few issues with map layout i might argue but equipment wise it's fine. MAG is not for the casual as everyone knows, but your lack of valid points makes me have to agree with the masses regarding the star score of this review. sounds more like crying to me. most of the experienced guys went SVER (most of us from beta) to be the underdog class. the way the fight plays out depends on the tactics of the group as a whole. really what did u expect though? u have a ton of experienced players vs the nubs trying to find thier places. things will all change when we hit our 60 mark and switch sides. if u wanted to give a real review you should have backed things up a bit more. i do agree with another poster though that the training could have done a bit more but really... it isnt rocket science. If you have played one shooter you have played pretty much all of em.  1/5 only because i cant go any lower.   thats my 2 cents. nuff said. "
you were saying nice this about the game then you gave it a 1/5? HUH?
Posted by Rabalais42

@Crash_Happy
 
Not trying to hate, but commenting on your own review doesn't help your argument...
 
If you feel your review justifies the score given then it should speak for itself, you shouldn't have to argue for it.

Edited by Karn

I hope you all realize this is an opinion, not gospel. I think, say, Mass Effect is shit. Does that make it shit? No. You still love it. My opinion doesn't change anything. Let the person who is thinking about buying and reading the reviews decide.

Posted by StaticFalconar

you ever heard of formatting? Sounds like your writing skills is about as good as this game is.

Edited by Crash_Happy
@Windswilling: The problem with players commenting on player reviews is shown in your reply.
 
The commenter is clearly lying when they claim they have played all three factions, or at best they played a couple of levels of each and think that entitles them to make claims that simply aren't backed up. This is indeed a TEAM game and each faction suffers equaly from players not acting as a team and/or not owning a head set. But when they do a team can of course have a high degreee of success, and probably most importantly fun. Bugs are of course found in any game and the good news is that with modern consoles, they can be patched out. But why more bugs than in beta?
 
For players that want more than the mindless sprinting and shooting that things like MW provide, as I do, then MAG should have been the answer for you. As it is one of two things will happen. You'll have some fun as you level up before finaly realising the lack of game balance. Or more hopefully, and I really do hope for this, Zipper will finaly patch out the problems and we'll be left with the great game that it should have been.
 
Once again, feel free to be the kind of commenter that is unable to come up any original insults or think for themselves. I myself and perfectly happy for you to be enjoying a game that I think could be so very, very good.
 
 
 
And thank you Karn. That's the kind of maturity that somehow went missing a couple of months after the site opened up. Instead we have people responding as if you (or in this case I) insulted their mother.
Posted by KREEPYKRAWLLY
I don't believe a single thing you wrote, if MAG had any of the problems you typed out, why didn't Jeff clearly mention them. BULLSHIT...fucking fanboy
Posted by Crash_Happy

And from that brief interlude of maturity in response we dive into the fetid swamp of mr Krawlly here. Fitting name.
All the information you need to figure out why Jeff couldn't mention them are contained within my original text. By calling me a fanboy I assume that you are suggesting that I have a different console and for some reason dislike Sony so much that I felt the need to invent a negative review? 
Man that's... out there.

Posted by TheCheese33

I think you're being a little too harsh. I really like MAG.

Posted by gramblor

Is there a way to track the progress of all the factions?  If so, after a month or two you should know if your opinion is valid or not.

Posted by Brendan

Tip to the reviewer:  As a reviewer, don't treat this place like a forum where you feel you need to argue everyone in your comments.  Let your review speak for itself, because all you've done is make your argument seem weaker the more you've responded.
Posted by TheJollyRajah

I fucking hate MAG but it doesn't deserve less than three stars. This review sucks dude.

Edited by hatchimmmmm

this is a review? hummmmm i like it, im going to by this game :) 
i love shooters so this is going to my shelf, dont care your review.
 
THIS says everything:
  15 out of 101 found this review helpful. :) lol

Posted by TotalEklypse
@slyspider said:
" @TotalEklypse said:
" at least he didnt try to mention mass effect in his review. jokes aside, i have seen battles go either way. the game has very good balance as far as i am concerned (i have been on all sides used almost every gun before u try and act like i wouldnt know). there are a few issues with map layout i might argue but equipment wise it's fine. MAG is not for the casual as everyone knows, but your lack of valid points makes me have to agree with the masses regarding the star score of this review. sounds more like crying to me. most of the experienced guys went SVER (most of us from beta) to be the underdog class. the way the fight plays out depends on the tactics of the group as a whole. really what did u expect though? u have a ton of experienced players vs the nubs trying to find thier places. things will all change when we hit our 60 mark and switch sides. if u wanted to give a real review you should have backed things up a bit more. i do agree with another poster though that the training could have done a bit more but really... it isnt rocket science. If you have played one shooter you have played pretty much all of em.  1/5 only because i cant go any lower.   thats my 2 cents. nuff said. "
you were saying nice this about the game then you gave it a 1/5? HUH? "

actually i meant his review 1/5 because i cant rate it any lower. my fault wasnt payin attention lmao. i agree with the GB rating. 4 of 5. it isnt perfect but i get a lot of enjoyment out of it for what it is. it has flaws but look at what was accomplished by the devs regardless.
Posted by Gahzoo

After playing all the PMCs, I think SVER has the shittiest assualt rifles. 
 
Their map for Domination is kind of annoying, but once you get the burnoff towers its like the others. 
 
Seems like you are just pissy for losing.

Posted by XenoZak

I went to the link you posted Crash_Happy. The one that proves the imbalance was documented well?
 
Everyone on that forum flamed that dude for not shutting up about imbalance telling him it was non-existent and he should stop whining... These are the people currently playing mag too...
 
Maybe you should see what the majority of MAG players think about balance instead of one person and yourself.
 
Personally i think you just prefer SVER, thats fine I did too. Others like valor and raven for their respective traits. Don't blame the game for that, blame yourself.

Posted by Crash_Happy

I didn't say ithat link proved anything I merely provided it to show that it was something known about.
 
All the SVER players were telling him to shut up yes, that's hardly a suprise. If you wanted to take the time there a big discusion on that forum about it and it's mentioned on lot's of other forums.
 
Maybe you should reconsider what you think is 'the majority' of MAG players. I make no claims as to what they think, I put forward what I consider an issue but rather than addressing that people keep insisting on addressing me.
 
Personaly I neither prefer nor play as SVER and I have to say that all things considered this shows how accurate your assumptions are and for that there genuinely is no one else to blame but yourself.

Edited by damnboyadvance
@Crash_Happy: It seems that you've failed to mention anything in your review about the soundtrack, the graphics, or how 256 players hold up. (Any lag?) It seems that all you're really doing is complaining about the difficulty of the game.
 
Also, at the end of the review, you state that "the kind of player that uses an Action Replay" should "go ahead and choose SVER," yet it seems you fail to answer why. Why should they choose SVER? Why shouldn't they pick Valor or Raven?

Other reviews for MAG (PlayStation 3)

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    45 out of 52 found this review helpful.

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