Apparently, I can’t sleep. Dunno why, but for a week, sleep has been absent from my life. Staying in bed for 5 hours, lights out, doing nothing, and I can’t sleep. Insomnia, I guess. But I’m here to give you an exclusive impression of a game that will either live or die within a matter of a year, in my opinion.
MAG, for those who are new to gaming, is that PlayStation 3 game that was announced at last year’s… sorry…. year before last E3. It stuck out to some, including me, because it was going to bring 256-players online in one match. That’s a big jump from even the max I’ve seen on PC, which is 64-players in Quake II, a game from 1997. Amazing how that player battle went: 32 to 64 to 32 to 16 to 8 to 256.
I’ve had the BETA since last year but really, I haven’t played too much. Is the game fun? Yes. Laggy? Nope. So what’s wrong with it? Let’s start with what’s good about it. The 256-player battles work, and they work well. Matches are around 30 minutes long in this mode, and there’s a good flow with the game. That was key to making the huge players work. The maps are a bit smaller than that of Starsiege Tribes (another old game), but they’re still big enough to get lost in. Completely lost. As in using your mic to tell your squad, “Hey, chief. I um, thought that command to head east meant to head towards the SW. Don’t ask.”.
The lobby system is handy. No more waiting for players to join in the traditional console sense. Now I can goof off in my stats menu, change options and junk, while they find 200+ players. I absolutely hate games that make me sit and wait for players to join. This usually pits me into a staring match of “Waiting for players…” until the few I had drop out of game. And let’s face it: I’m American. I need to get as much as I can out of each minute because I’m impatient.
Lastly, there is 32-player matches still. Actually, I haven’t played too many of the huge matches, since my internet has been running like turtle speed recently. But, there’s a few more options than just big matches.
So what’s the deal? I really don’t think this game is going to make it. Currently, in the beta, there’s several animation glitches. While the graphics look decent (not great, but I can live with them for sure), the animations are just horrible. It’s a beta, true. But there’s more animation in Doom. Not really, but I hope you get what I’m saying. Fix them! The sounds are pretty bad too. Again. Beta. But I have a surround sound system that has my shooting of a heavy machine gun sound like I’m throwing poppers at the ground. It’s horrific.
Aside from the graphics and sounds, which are probably just beta issues, and not a big deal to me if the fun factor is off the chart. My biggest fear is this will be a flavor of the month game. There’s too many other big titles coming out this year. And we’re not going to pull gamers from Modern Warfare 2 to jump into another game. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I think if they would have invested in some sort of single player too, just a small 4-6 hour campaign, it would have helped. Why? I dunno. I want to do more than just fight online. Most of the time, I hate online people so much I just never play. People are either too sucky, too serious, or too good. And by too good, it easily falls into that catagory of yelling at your television and swearing that headshot he got from a mile away from a pistol was a hack, even though you were standing in a field looking in your inventory.
My predictions: The game will sell a decent amount, but not hit enough for greedy stockholders. Sony will support it for the year. Mainstream reviewers will give it a 7.0/70%-ish score. It will die off by the beginning of next year for most hardcore MAG fans.
I really hope I’m wrong. Truly hope I am…