Friday, July 09, 2010

Video game number one hundred and ninety eight: Mag

Video game review number one hundred and ninety eight in my 365 Games in 365 Days project is "Mag"

Last year at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle, I was able to get 19 free t-shirts (Yes, I was counting). One of those t-shirts was from the Sony booth, featuring the game MAG. It's a cool green shirt, and I actually wear it fairly frequently, but until this morning, I had never actually played the game.

Thanks to Gamefly, I was able to try it out for the first time. Unfortunately, I neglected to read any reviews before playing (I really have to stop doing this) so I was unaware that this was yet ANOTHER fucking shooter without an offline campaign. I am beyond pissed off at myself for picking up another one of these to play, and I spent the last several hours failing miserably at getting a single trophy in this game so that I could quit and move on.

While I was trying to earn a trophy, I played between 10-15 rounds of the only two game types my low-leveled character is allowed to play. One is "Supression" (basically a team deathmatch) and the other was "Sabotage" (basically assault). While there's nothing really "wrong" with either of these matches, both of them took place on the same maps almost every single time. As a new player, it was kind of nice to be able to learn the locations that I liked, but it also got fairly repetitive extremely quickly.

In order to progress to other modes and new levels, you must first level up, and that was insanely hard for me. I topped out at a level 3 (22 XP away from level 4). I'm pretty sure one more mode would have unlocked at level 4, but I was so sick of this game that during my last match, I actually ejected the disk without saving and quitting first, something I rarely do.

I've mentioned before that I'm not great at PS3 Shooters. I've also mentioned before that I REALLY hate first person shooters that don't have a campaign. This game takes two things I don't really like and combines them together, like a shit coated Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, filled with rotten eggs instead of peanut butter.

MAG isn't a terrible shooter. In fact, I enjoyed the selection of weapons and I'm actually starting to get used to FPS stuff on the PS3 more and more with each new game I try. There are plenty of things I like about this game. Apparently, higher leveled people can get promoted to "Squad leaders" who can order in special strikes and all that stuff. Although I was ten levels away from experiencing it, that sounds kind of cool.

The online experience seemed to work better than most PS3 games I played, although it was pretty silent for the most part. If I had a mic for my PS3, I probably would have tried to talk to people and asked for some tips. Most other people weren't talking either (one kid was complaining a lot, and occasionally, someone would shout: "MEDIC!") I'm not sure how much help there would have been for me. Perhaps I'll get a bluetooth mic so I can start joining the conversation in games like this on the PS3.

What really pisses me off is the difficulty curve. Since there's no ranked matchmaking in MAG, you're thrown into the lion's den with people who have been playing the game forever. I kept losing and losing, with absolutely no hope of getting better. Many rounds were just spawn, run to where the fighting is, and be killed instantly. Call of Duty does something similar, except they have a wonderful campaign you can play through, so that by the time you're ready for know your moves well enough to stand a chance. Plus, in Call of Duty, even the worst player on the team can occasionally pick up an awesome power up and do some real damage. Although I could pick up dropped enemy weapons, I still felt weaker than everyone else in this one.

In the end, I put about 3 hours into this game, and I have no trophy to show for it. Although this bugs me a bit, I decided that I wasn't going to grind for several more hours just for one isn't worth it to me.

Overall Score? 4/10. Good graphics and decent controls, but it's not for me. For people that love shooters, there are a dozen better ones I can think of, all of which have offline campaigns. If you all you want to do is run around online and shoot pre-teens, play Call of Duty. It's a vastly superior game to this one, and a little more friendly to new players.

Trophies? I couldn't earn any. Not since Sonic the Hedgehog have I wasted so many hours playing a game I wasn't fond of while trying to get an achievement, and not since that awful game have I given up completely. There were no easy trophies for me to aim for, unless I wanted to invest several more days into this game (which I do not). The easiest one I could find was for killing 200 people. By the time I had finished my morning of gaming, I was only 23 kills in. I'd often go entire matches without getting one kill, so 200 would have been pretty damn slow. There is absolutely no way I will grind for a trophy in this game. I know that goes against the rules of my challenge, but fuck it. Life is too short to keep playing something you hate. I should have learned that with Sonic. I feel like I played this enough to review it, and that should count for something.

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