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 MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09

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PostSubject: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:21 pm

i know i said i would only post games in here that were not main stream and let's face it MAG will get a lot of cover but i was just reading this hands on review and it sounded so good i thought i would copy and paste it in here

now i warn you it is very long so i have tried to break it up into sections but it is well worth the read



little intro

Little has been heard about MAG, Sony's ambitious 256-person online shooter that was announced during last year's E3. In fact, other than the the CG trailer shown at the conference, there has been an almost total lockdown on any information related to the game. Last week, however, all that changed during Sony's Seattle Gamers Day event.

The event was held at developer Zipper Interactive's Redmond, Washington headquarters, where studio heads Jim Bosler and Brian Soderberg took the stage to explain MAG, the technology behind it, and how the game actually works with 256 people.

With a long history of making online shooters (the developer was the first to bring an online game to the PS2 with the first SOCOM), Zipper has been working hard to make sure that players will experience a smooth and pleasant experience, even when playing against a couple hundred other people.

In fact, it's been running weekly 256-player tests since late last year with SCEA folks in California in order to test the network technology -- Zipper says it's already achieved smooth gameplay.
Concept-wise, the idea behind MAG was to be able to re-create battles on the scale of Blackhawk Down, with hundreds of well trained soldiers engaging in highly coordinated battles across large areas. In order to do this, the developer has created one of the most robust command systems we've ever seen in a videogame.





about the game

When you first jump into the game, you are auto-matched into squads of eight with a dedicated squad leader. Each squad is a member of a platoon with three other squads, which also has a dedicated commander. Finally, each platoon is a member of the army with a top level commander overseeing everything. So, ultimately the goal is to have two 128-member armies battling it out with commanders issuing orders, while smaller squads and platoons engage in skirmishes while working towards the final goal of the map.

While each map will have its own dedicated main objectives (see: "steal these top secret vehicles"), what really makes the commanders and squad leaders critical is the concept of FRAGOs. "FRAGO" is a real military term that stands for "Fragmentary Orders" -- these are on-the-fly orders that are issued as the battlescape dynamically changes during a fight. Sure, you need to steal those vehicles to win the round, but on your way there, you might run into a mortar that is destroying your front line -- the squad leaders can place a FRAGO on the mortar, indicating that your team should focus on blowing the mortar up before continuing onto the tanks. Besides simply making you an efficient army, MAG also rewards players who follow FRAGOs with additional experience points for fulfilling the order. You can always ignore the FRAGO, but getting twice the experience for fulfilling it makes it awfully enticing -- even if you're a lone wolf player.

Speaking of lone wolf players, the game will allow you to run off and do whatever you want and won't punish you for it. But players who stick close with their squads and platoons will find they get a bevy of bonuses, including things like faster reload times, the ability to run faster, or maybe increased accuracy. In-game, this was a fantastic way to make you want to stay with your squad, since the benefits are quite tangible (though not powerful enough to threaten the balance).






little info about the developers

It should come as no surprise to fans of Zipper's SOCOM series to learn that the company is serious about its military games -- in fact, many of the developers at the studio came from the military, where they'd work on sims used to train soldiers. That sort of experience permeates all aspects of the game. Though set twenty years in the future, the game is still grounded in realism (if a slightly exaggerated realism -- still gotta have fun!). The guns look and feel fantastic, packing the right amount of punch and the battlefield itself feels chaotic and dangerous. Forget SOCOM: Confrontation -- this is the next-gen SOCOM, only taken to a whole new level.




the look of the game

Visually the game is quite striking. Perhaps not as sharp as Modern Warfare, but a gorgeous-looking game considering the scale. In particular, the lighting is fantastic, with light-scattering fog creating an absorbing ambiance that at times is similar to S.T.A.L.K.E.R (specifically while you're playing on a SVER map, with their scavenged technology and pieced together buildings). Speaking of which, depending on which faction you decide to join when you first create your account, your whole UI will change as well to match your faction's style. Resolution wise, the game will run at a native 720p and will upscale to 1080i for owners of older HD sets.





about the factions

Each of the factions in MAG differ quite a bit in terms of design and weapons (of which there are over 70). The Raven faction is a glossy, high-tech group with the latest and greatest weapons and gear. Their slick, gray and black carbon body armor look matches their headquarters as well, both in color and tech level. Meanwhile, as mentioned, SVER is a rough-and-tumble group who customize weapons found on the battlefield with graffiti and taped-on customizations. Their bases are jungles of rusty metal and corrugated steel sheets, providing cover from enemy fire. Finally, the last group is Valor -- think USA Delta Forces and you're on track. They have more traditional military gear, with lots of camo and more classically styled gear. Their headquarters in Alaska is complemented nicely by the huge beards that many of their troopers have.




respawning

The respawning system is familiar to anybody who has played Battlefield, and gives players a chance to switch classes or pick a new spawn point. How you died or how many times you die doesn't effect how long it takes you to get back into the action; instead the game sends out 'reinforcements' every 15 seconds, so depending on where you come in during that 15-second period, you could be back in the action in just a few seconds. It helped keep the action going at a good pace, and since you'd spawn back in with other people, it meant you almost always had fellow soldiers around.





hands on gameplay review

So, how does it play? For our demo last week, we were playing a 128-person match, with journalists being grouped together in an eight-person squad, with Zipper and SCEA employees rounding out the rest of the match. The map we played was the aforementioned "Steal the vehicles" map, where we needed to sweep into the enemy's base, steal two armored vehicles and get back out alive. This was a lot harder than it sounds, particularly with the enemy commander calling in air strikes and mortars right on top of our squad as we tried to advance through the heavy enemy resistance.

Controls are immediately accessible to any veteran FPS player (though our recent obsession with Resistance 2 co-op meant we kept accidentally pulling out grenades instead of running). The Zipper employee walking us through the map also mentioned that the team plans on having fully customizable controls -- so even if you really, really want to Killzone-up your controls, you can. The game is very responsive, and targeting enemy soldiers quickly and accurately felt great. No learning curve here.

Upon spawning, our first task was to take out a fortified bunker that was a front-line spawn location for the opposing Raven soldiers. Our platoon leader placed a FRAGO on the bunker, and our squads started to surround the bunker as we tried to avoid the machine gun turret on top and the enemy soldiers flooding in. It was a heated battle, but never felt overly chaotic and eventually we were able to take down enough soldiers to mount a C4 charge on the back of the bunker. Once placed, we still needed to wait around, though, and make sure that the Raven soldiers weren't able to come back and deactivate the charge. Currently it's a 30-second countdown, but Zipper is still working on balancing that so that no one side is favored during demolitions

After we were able to take down the bunker, we moved forward -- further into the base. Here we got another FRAGO to take out a mortar gun which was causing chaos for one of the platoons on the other side of the base. Foolishly, we ignored that and ran towards a bridge that the enemy had been using to snipe us and as we turned a corner, we ran right into a full squad of Raven soldiers. After quickly being turned into Swiss cheese, we found ourselves back at the respawn screen. You can choose to stay in the game as you "bleed out," but knowing there weren't any friendlies close enough to heal us, we chose to respawn.


As we ran back to the mortar FRAGO, I got there just in time to score the XP bonus as one of my squad mates successfully destroyed it with another C4 charge. Once destroyed, we got the unfortunate news that the enemy had rebuilt the bunker at the front line, making reinforcements difficult -- so our platoon leader directed us over to an AA gun that had been keeping our planes and helicopters from supporting us. We were able to take it down fairly quickly, which gave us a new spawn point right in the middle of the base in the form of a helicopter with twin player-controlled machine guns. It's worth pointing out at this point that while there are driveable vehicles in the game, players will not be able to manually jump into the cockpit of a jet or a helicopter. A minor disappointment, but considering how many people in Battlefield used fighter jets as 30 million dollar one-use transports, it's not that big of a deal.


Eventually, we were able to get to the final goal, a large, heavily fortified garage where the high-tech transports were stored. This was a heated battle with multiple squads from both sides converging on the garage as we desperately tried to extract the vehicles. We probably died six times just trying to get the garage open in a mad dash of desperation, but once we started coordinating our attacks we were able to get on of the armored transports out and started back towards our base.

While the Raven soldiers were suppose to make sure that we didn't steal any of the vehicles, once we did steal one, their goal changed to making sure we didn't leave the base alive -- and if that meant blowing up the vehicle ... so be it. As some of our troops escorted the vehicle towards the front line, others stayed behind to try to slow down the enemy as much as they could. Unfortunately, the soldiers left behind died quickly in the onslaught of incoming Raven troopers and a well placed airstrike stopped our attempted grand theft auto in an abrupt and violent manner.

That was the end of our hands-on (though we did get to play the Raven side later, which was quite a bit of fun and much easier).





reviewers personal perspective

From a personal perspective, I've got to say that I came away impressed. I'm a long-time Battlefield player and love first-person shooters as a whole, and MAG nailed it in all the right places for a competitive shooter. A solid framerate ("at least 30fps at all times"), no lag, responsive controls, a great command structure, and a persistent world where your actions contribute to your faction's ultimate goal of ruling the world, makes for what could be the top shooter of the year, on any console. Modern Warfare 2, I hope you're listening -- this is the one to beat.

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:32 pm

found a 2 new videos but to see the old one i posted a while back just follow the link below

MAG OLD FOOTAGE TEASER TRAILER


here is a gameplay teaser



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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:34 pm

here is Architecture Interview video

The devs built a new network architecture to support 256 human players at once.


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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Thu Apr 30, 2009 6:12 pm

Looks alright I hope they release more specific information soon.
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PostSubject: Q&A   Fri May 01, 2009 2:11 pm

here is a Q&A i found talking to Zipper Interactive's Russ Phillips


With competitive shooters these days, one of the things that really drives the community is online integration. The ability to log on, see your character and his stats, see how your clan is doing, etc. Is that something that you guys are looking at integrating into MAG?

Definitely! We want you to be able to follow your character, build a career with him, and be able to get on any time of the day -- especially to follow your Faction's progress and what is actually going on in the 'Shadow War' so we'll have websites dedicated to providing this information. I think any player that has played a game like this will want to know where they sit and and where their faction sits. So yeah, we've given a lot of thought to that.






Speaking of how your Faction is doing; what is the ultimate end-game point of your Faction 'beating' the other ones for total domination of the Private Military Complex (PMC)?

[Writer's note: He was unable to answer this question (didn't know)] Here's the response from Zipper:
When a faction wins a contract, it resets the scores for that contract. Each contract is handled separately, as if it were a separate tournament. So if Raven wins the battle for Escort maps, the scores reset, awards are given, and the battle starts over. It's an ongoing, rolling competition for each game mode.

Rewards given for each are still under works, but expect more than just bragging rights. There will be personal benefits for soldiers in the faction (such as experience modifiers), as well as benefits that help the faction as a whole (such as increased power for command abilities).

Characters do not reset after each contract is won. No need to restart at level one, as the battle is an ongoing rolling tournament.






n our hands-on, we were able to drive around in armored vehicles and various things like that, but can you at any point pilot aerial craft? Or are they purely NPCs acting on orders from the team leaders?

Yeah, that is correct -- we felt that there was so much in MAG already that we didn't want to over complicate it. Because it's just enough at this point to be on the ground, use the ground vehicles to go where you want to go and then be able to call in an air strike on a mortar or an AA battery. We didn't want to overly complicate an already massive game.






So just a bit ago when I was playing the game, I experienced some of the basic idea of classes in MAG. I saw the standard recon, trooper, heavy setup -- so how flexible are the classes? Are they basic guidelines, or strict templates -- or can you customize them or modify your abilities?

Well, there's definitely guidelines classes, but when you start you can definitely customize him to your liking by modifying his look, also you can add a custom specialty to him as well. Like for example, if you wanted to go in as a sniper recon guy, or if you wanted to go in as a heavy assault -- these guys look really different on the battlefield. So at least from an aesthetic angle, they look quite different -- if you see a big, tough looking armored guy running around, you know he's going to be a heavy assault guy. He's probably going to have a rocket launcher, or something you might not have. Or you can go in as a recon guy and be a bit more stealthy and have your sniper rifle, and you'll look the part -- a bit lighter and sleeker looking.





Well will you be able to customize your 'support' skills then? Could you be any of those classes and equip a medical kit for healing other players, or a wrench for fixing vehicles and buildings?

We're trying to kind of separate those classes so that you really build a career with them. And it's not like a free-for-all where you can go in and do this half-way through and this the rest of the time. We want you to really excel in the chosen path that you made, and I think it works really well.





Do you have any idea about the number of weapons available?

Geez, I'm not sure -- I know there's more than 70. I mean there are a ton of weapons that you can unlock as you level up.







So being the Art Director and all, it seems like you'd be a perfect person to ask this: what inspirations help inspire MAG? What sort of movies, games, or books influenced your look and feel of the game itself?

Well I think that the inspiration for MAG itself is to create that gritty, real world war feeling. And that was kind of a tough thing to do. With three very different factions (with very different looks), [it] helped make us look at how we were going to create a cohesive, unifying look to MAG while still continuing to keep three very different looking Factions. But we were able to use film grain and some post processing effects that can help bring out the dark colors that give it a gritty looking feel.





How many maps is MAG going to ship with?

It is going to have 15 total, I believe there are 12 maps in the 'Shadow War' and another three training maps.





Actually training maps bring up another question -- clearly this game is online-focused, but will there be an offline mode where new players can experiment and try out the game?

Nope, there aren't any bots or anything, but you'll jump into a training mission with other new players. But when you join the 'Shadow War' maps and you'll be put in a map while your level is loading up. This is a map where you can just run around and experiment with the different aspects of MAG. Think of it as a secondary map that you play before the 'War' starts. That gives you time to hone your skills or get used to calling in air strikes or whatever.





That's interesting, because one of the things I was thinking about was the idea of having to wait in a server lobby for 256 players to enter -- seemed like a boring prospect. But the idea of entering into a skirmish type of battle while I waited for the server to fill up sounds like a great solution.

Yeah, it helps you get used to the commands and controls, or just lets you kick some ass before you get into the main game.





Final question, this is a bit early considering you guys are focused on shipping the game out -- but have you thought about anything in regards to DLC?

I can't really comment on that too much, but definitely something we've thought about. The game is going to have long legs.

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PostSubject: E3 stage show game play   Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:23 pm

loads of videos coming out from E3 and this is one i thought people would want to see now the video is from youtube and so it looks blocky that's not the game but i thought i would post the video as it shows some game play and gives an over view of what it's like being in command




looking at how good this is and smooth if it can keep it up might give MW2 a run for it's money

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:34 pm

seems a bit like battlefield to be honest .. but 256 players... can the psn handle it?

if ye ..thn it shd be awesome Smile
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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:40 pm

well they are designing a whole new network technology especially for this game it remains to be seen just how well this will work but if it does we will have something great to look forward to

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:31 pm

whn abouts is the release date?
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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:11 am

no official release date confirmed but Q3-Q4 - 09 as they say so somewhere between july - december but that's still subject to change

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PostSubject: MAG Exclusive Shadow War Doc   Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:29 pm

here is a new M.A.G video that give more details and shows more gamplay footage


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PostSubject: who will you pick   Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:33 pm

this is a little video showing and telling you alittle about each group to help you pick when the time comes (as if i remember right you can only pick one side for the shadow wars)




i think they all look good and as they all have the same weapons just diffrent styles of weapons you are really only picking the look of the team you go for


i would do a poll but this section will not allow it so i will do one just before it is release in the main forum section so we as a clan can all pick the same side

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PostSubject: Command & Control Dev Diary Trailer   Wed Jul 08, 2009 2:48 pm

Command & Control Dev Diary Trailer


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PostSubject: MAG Public Beta enrollment begins   Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:33 am

i have also placed this post in this section also just in case someone comes (oo-er) here first

info copied and pasted below:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------


A lucky few individuals will discover this invite for the MAG beta in their inboxes. The e-mail includes a unique code used to access a closed application form. According to the beta enrollment page, Sony "will be adding people in waves." If you don't see an invite in your inbox right now, don't worry: you may be invited later. "If you do not receive an invite for the first wave you may still be invited in a following MAG Public Beta wave."

Sony has already conducted a closed beta for MAG for over a month. The expansion of the beta to the public gives us hope that maybe -- just maybe -- we'll be able to see MAG's 256-player online battles hitting the PS3 sooner rather than later.


by Andrew Yoon
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:02 am

Very nice Mr C. When is this game out? I have a worry that with teh arrival of MW 2 that this might loose out somewhat...perhaps the kids will head over to MW2 and leave this strategy game to older players?

who knows...

DW

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:18 am

well the release date has been set at the end of november but it has not been set in stone so is still subject to change i think if it does still come out then it will at least give people a few weeks to see what the servers are like on MW2

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PostSubject: Re: MAG :hands on gamplay review and dev video UPDATE NEW VIDEO 8/7/09   Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:33 pm

UPDATE

info copied and pasted below:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The exact release date for Zipper Interactive's multi-multi-multi-man FPS MAG has been up in the air for a while now -- but a recent announcement on PlayStation.Blog has made the game's launch date decidedly cemented. It's hitting store shelves on January 26, 2010, landing atop an ever-expanding aggregate of first-quarter blockbusters. However, most of its seasonal competitors don't allow for four to the fourth power players to square off in a single battle, so we don't think it'll have any trouble holding its own.

Honestly, we'd hoped it would land a bit closer to the game's initial announced fall launch window -- but hey, at least now Zipper's got a bit of extra time to nail down an actual title for the game.

by Griffin McElroy
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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