MAG Beta Impressions

The 256 player FPS MAG went into public beta yesterday and I had a chance to sit down and play for a few hours so I thought I’d give you a quick rundown of my experience. Normally I would wait until I’ve had a little more time to experience all that a game has to offer, but I wasn’t that impressed so I don’t know how much more of the game I will be playing.

First of all let me start this by saying that my PS3 was purchased mainly as a Blu-Ray player and I currently only own 1 game for the system (Little Big Planet), which has not gotten much playing time. My main reason for not playing games on the PS3 is the controller. I’ve never liked the way the analog thumb sticks felt in my hands. It just seems like they are too loose which causes my movements to be a lot more erratic than with the Xbox 360 controller. So with that in mind I already knew that I was probably going to suck at MAG and get very frustrated.

If you haven’t downloaded the beta yet from the Playstation Network you may want to set aside some time to do that before you get the urge to play. The demo itself only takes a few minutes to download and install, but once you launch it there is a 2gb “update” that begins to download and can take quite a bit of time. Once you get past that it’s time to make a character. There are 3 different groups  you can choose from and this group will determine which team you fight with, RAVEN, VALOR or SVER. I don’t know if there’s a difference between each group as when I made a character in VALOR (the US group I believe) I could not get into a single match, it kept erroring out. So after reading a bit on the internets I determined that if I chose SVER I would be able to get into a match right away, and I was right.

So once I got into the main screen there were a bunch of options that I didn’t have any clue what they meant so I just chose Deploy as I wanted to get into a game quickly. I tried to play the tutorial so I could get a feel for the controls and adjust my sensitivity, but for the life of me I could not figure out how to get into it. So despite the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, the only other option was to play Sabotage ( I think that’s what it was called), as all the other game modes are locked until you hit higher levels. So Sabotage consists of one team guarding 2 bases and the other team trying to capture them, once the capturing team as done so to both bases a 3rd base appears on the map and they must plant explosives there while the other team defends.

The game mode itself isn’t bad, it’s only 24 players or something like that, not the full 256 like advertised (I guess that’s only for certain game modes), but I still found myself dying almost as soon as I got to any of the bases. And the gun selection didn’t help me either. You start off with 3 guns, an assault rifle, a sniper rifle and a machine gun and in order to get new guns you need to level up and then spend those skill points (1 per level) on different upgrades and/or weapons. It’s a decent system, but I definitely think there should be more than 3 guns to choose from at the start of the game.

The maps and graphics looked pretty good. I’ve read some other people saying that they didn’t think the graphics were up to par with games like Modern Warfare 2, but I think they are still pretty good, especially considering how massive some of the maps are. I still feel as though the Playstation 3 controller is a huge crutch when playing FPS’ on the system, but again it’s probably just because I’m used to the Xbox 360, so those of you that are used to the PS3 controller and it’s response time and movement will probably be just fine. Other than that, I can’t really comment on the lag issue in a 256 player game because I have yet to get into a game with that many people, but there was no lag that I noticed in the Sabotage games that I was playing in. I may have to play some more just to unlock the other game modes to see what a huge game like that plays like.

So overall I’m not terribly impressed with the game, I’d much rather play Modern Warfare 2 to get my FPS fix. I had considered purchasing this game as a blind-buy when it comes out later this month, but I think I’m going to hold off now and just wait for God of War III which will probably be my first and only PS3 game considering the new Final Fantasy is coming to the 360 this year as well.

Has anyone else given the beta a run through, what do you think so far? What did I miss? And are the other game modes more fun than the Sabotage one?