Here's the unfortunate truth about MAG: Plenty of players simply do not care about teamwork
- An elegant command structure, user-friendly command system, and XP rewards for following orders provide real motivation to work together; doing so successfully can provide a thrilling feeling of beating impossible odds
- Barebones matchmaking and game-selection make each match a crapshoot; until more players learn the importance of teamwork, the game experience will continue to be uneven and unpredictable.
MAG is a manifesto on the importance of working together, and when everything clicks, it's exhilarating. The difficulty is finding 127 other players who realise that the game simply cannot be won without teamwork.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
It's suddenly very quiet. I'm lying prone in the high grass with a scoped ATAC 2000, ready to pop up and nail any enemies foolish enough to try to come and clear my charges from their AA battery. We've been lucky so far: Only a couple minutes in and we've already taken down their bunkers, forcing them to spawn all the way back in their main base. If we can successfully keep the bad guys away from the AA, our drop planes will be free to buzz the battlefield -- meaning we'll be able to parachute onto the middle of the map rather than slogging in from the distant edge.
But it's now unpleasantly quiet around here, meaning either the enemy hasn't noticed that the icon for their AA is suddenly flashing blue and red -- which is, let's face it, unlikely -- or they're preparing a stealthy and/or well-coordinated attack to clear those charges... or at the very least, repair the damage once they go off. And possibly take back their bunkers as well. This would be bad.
Then all hell breaks loose, and a wave of red dots is suddenly swarming on the mini-map: They've chosen Option B, and they've done a really good job of setting up a surprise attack. I'd admire the enemy commander's skill if I had the time, but suddenly I'm down, with no living medic within saving distance, and I'll be damned: They managed to get to the charges just in time. This does not bode well for the rest of the match.
This kind of thing happens a lot in MAG, though. Not the too-quiet part -- battlefields of 64, 128, or 256 players tend to generate a fair amount of noise. I mean the all-hell-breaking-loose part, the tide-turning part, the part where a large team, working well together and staying in constant communication, demolishes a less organized opposition. Being a part of that (hell, even seeing it from the other side, sometimes) is exciting. Actually orchestrating such a thing is exhilarating. It's clear that this is the kind of experience MAG was designed for: these moments where leadership, teamwork, and skill come together as an unstoppable force.
Too bad it rarely happens.
That's not for MAG's lack of trying. The game does a fantastic job of making the tools of leadership and communication simple, accessible, and manageable. Commanders can easily hop into a wonderfully detailed overhead map to designate targets, call in tactical strikes, and keep an eye on the position of any enemy within sight of teammates or recon vehicles. A leader can select any feature on the map and the game will immediately send out orders to everyone in the squad, dropping a nice, big, flashing icon on everyone's heads-up display. (If you're more of a hands-on leader, you can do the same thing on the ground just by aiming at a target and fiddling with the d-pad.) As motivation for following orders, your squad earns double experience while within range of your target, points which players use to upgrade weapons, unlock new abilities, and level up toward a command of their own. The game also awards generous XP for team-based support roles like healing, reviving, and repairing; in fact, you earn twice as many points for resurrecting a teammate as you do for executing an opponent.
So the game is actually quite elegantly set up to encourage teamwork, to reward both leaders and grunts for working toward mission objectives, and draw teams together in mutually beneficial relationships. But here's the unfortunate truth about MAG: Plenty of players simply do not care. They're happy to run around, beef up their kill counts, die in a blaze of glory, and do it again.
That wouldn't be a problem, except for this: More than any other team-based game I've ever played, the quality of any one player's experience is tightly and directly related to the commitment of his or her teammates. End up with a clueless, inexperienced, or just completely apathetic squad leader and you'll be miserable, vainly trying to hold your own in a field of hundreds while an organised enemy mows through your ranks. (It certainly doesn't help that the game offers almost nothing in the way of training for commanding officers.)
Get stuck with teammates who don't follow the squad leader's guidance and it's the same story: a handful of experienced players trying to do the right thing, while everyone else runs around in circles or -- more commonly -- hangs within 10 feet of their starting location and tries to snipe the enemy. And if you think it's bad being on a team with a bunch of run-and-gun lone wolves, try being their commander. I have had more frustrating game experiences than I had watching my squad wander around aimlessly, blatantly ignoring my orders as squad leader but not many.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Google Daydream VR headset
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Surface Pro 4
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCFront End DeveloperNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - ITMSP - Melbourne CBDVIC
- FTLead PMONSW
- FTFront End DeveloperQLD
- FTData Conversion LeadNSW
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- FTBranch Practice Manager - SecurityQLD
- TPProject ManagerOther
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTSenior IT Business Analyst - Permanent OpportunityNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC
- FTLevel 3 Support AnalystVIC
- CCPerformance Test AnalystQLD
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC
- FTProject / Implementation Coordinator (Junior-Mid Level) Sunshine Coast LocationQLD
- FTEnterprise Account ManagerNSW
- FTSenior .Net Developer with Silverlight proficiencyVIC
- TPWinforms DevelopersWA
- FTMid-Level Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)ACT
- FTDigital Sales Account Manager - Global BrandNSW