MAG - PS3 - Preview
For a while now, SCEA and Zipper Interactive have been talking about MAG, a massive online war-based shooter game that can have up to 256 players online simultaneously engaged in a battle. At E3 2009 in Los Angeles, the game was in the SCEA booth as a playable battle, giving players the first real go with experiencing this fast-pace and deadly world.
This is a player-versus-player conflict, with set maps (nine different ones – three for 256-player battles, three for 128-player confrontations, and three for 64-player fights) and a leveling system that is based on experience gained in the throes of battle.
There is an overriding story arc and that is essentially different armies vying for government contracts. The contracts come in the form of controlling maps. There are those who are awarded the contract and defend a map and its vital points, and those who are attacking the vital points in an effort to overwhelm the defenders, and win the scenario enough times that the army to which players belong are awarded the defense contract.
In addition to securing strategic points on the map, and killing the enemy, there are other ways to earn bonuses to experience gain. Players can work through the leadership ranks, and how that is accomplished begins to show some of what this game is made of – a squad leader issues commands for those within the squad to deploy to a certain area and take out certain objectives. Should the members of the squad obey those commands, every member of the squad begins to accrue bonus experience.
As players level, skills become unlocked and characters become more customized.
Graphically, the game is a bit of a treat, with great effects, solid animation and well-rendered environment objects, all running at 720p. Members of the dev team on hand to demonstrate the game said that the game will run at a smooth 30 frames per second even in the massive 256-player battles. The game has a UI that will issues orders, but voice is also incorporated into the story.
While the environment comes into play with players using it as cover, there is a penetration system based on the type of cover being used and the caliber of the ammunition being fired.
MAG is on track to ship to retail in the fall.