If you’re anything like me, you’ve played games like Halo and Modern Warfare and had wanted them to be bigger. You could switch to more realistic shooters like ARMA or Operation Flashpoint. But, unless you’re into super realistic shooters, where traveling to the destination and waiting for the moment to strike, you might be looking for something faster pace. MAG seems to blend more casual shooting games with large scale battles. And it does it beautifully.
MAG doesn’t just up the map size, it also drastically increases the number of players in a single game. I’m not talking about games where they upgrade the players to 32. MAG has several game types that go all the way up to 256 (128v128) real players in a single game. Now granted, that is only one of the game modes and it takes a bit of playing to be able to unlock it. However, once you do, it’s awesome. Even the two smallest game modes still offers 64 (32v32) players to duke it out, with one mode offering 96 players (32v32v32), and two more modes giving 128 (64v64) players a chance to meet on the battlefield. That’s including the two DLC game modes, Interdiction (128 players) and Escalation (96 players).
When you start the game you have to pick between one of three factions to side yourself with, and you can’t change it unless you want to delete that character profile or purchase more profiles as DLC. There isn’t a huge difference between the factions. It changes what maps and guns you’ll have access to. I’ve heard that SVER are better at close range combat, while Raven excel at long range weapons, and Valor meeting somewhere in the middle. However after playing for a while, if there is a difference, I’ve not noticed anything major.
What does matter are the people you play with. if you play without a microphone or players you can communicate with, you’re bound to lose. This game requires teamwork with not just your squad, but with your team as a whole. The game breaks teams up into 8 player squads, each with a squad leader. In a larger game that is broken up into 4 squads per platoon, each with a platoon leader. The leaders are supposed to use different chat channels to coordinate with each other over who should be going where. And it pays for players to follow what their leaders are telling them. Not only do you need to be a certain level to be eligible for a leader position, but the game features very light RPG mechanics in which you gain points based on your actions, and more points when you do something in the vicinity of a objective marked by your leaders. The points can be spent on new guys, attachments and aesthetic changes to your character. Also, every level gives you a point to put into improving yourself, like giving more damage resistance to explosions, or a little more health.
The gameplay itself is great as well. The maps are all big and open and allow for both long and close range combat. On the bigger maps, they offer vehicles to help get around, but I never found them absolutely necessary to get to the action quicker. The maps lend themselves more to outdoor gameplay where all these players can meet on the field of battle. So, if you’re good and have a couple people to back you up, you can find one of the multiple choke points of the map and be able to hold it against a great number of players.
From the moment you start a match you can feel how big everything is. When you hear something about an objective, those are real players fighting there. When you hear an explosion or gunfire off in the distance, it’s not a scripted event, it’s someone actually doing that somewhere on the map. Even if you happen to lose your squad, it’s simple to hook up with some other players from your team and help them out.
If your looking for a big experience, this is a game you need to check out. The size isn’t just a novelty either, the game proves it’s more than just a size upgrade time and time again.