A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents needs to know that MAG is a massively multiplayer online war game. It looks quite realistic and takes place only 15 years from now. The game isn't played alone -- it's an online-only game where players can interact with other human players (even in other cities) to accomplish a number of missions, such as taking down enemies, securing a base, stealing intelligence, and so on. While it's a first-person shooter, MAG is a "Teen"-rated game instead of a "Mature"-rated game because there is little blood. Because of the compelling nature of playing with others, this game will tempt kids to keep playing so pay attention to time management issues.
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What's it about?
MAG (\"Massive Action Game\") is a PS3 exclusive that lets you battle with up to 256 players over the Internet in a number of near-future military skirmishes. The story, if such things interest you in a military shooter, takes place in 2025, amidst a global crisis caused by food shortages, dwindling fuel reserves, and ensuing economic depression. Rather than afford a full-time military, governments contract smaller groups of private military corporations to protect a country's interests. This is the start of the \"Shadow War,\" pitting three private army factions against one another -- the Valor, Raven, and S.V.E.R. -- each with their own skills, weapons, and unique side to the conflict.
Is it any good?
While this ambitious online-only shooter suffers from a few technical kinks, action fans with a penchant for multiplayer mayhem should be happy with this much-hyped war game. After choosing a side and playing through a brief tutorial, you can join one of the missions and chat with teammates using an optional headset. "Sabotage," for example, supports up to 64 players and your task is to protect valuable data from the opposing force (or, if on the other side, steal this intel from the enemy). In "Domination," which supports up to 256 simultaneous players, you must fight to secure and hold eight targets.
Depending on how you want to play, you can sharpen your skills as an on-foot soldier by learning the terrain and finding the best places to fire your machine guns, sniper rifles, or toss grenades, or you can become the commander of your unit and assign orders. If you're good, you might work your way up to commandeering a 32-person platoon or 128-person army. Military shooter fans who prefer multiplayer matches over computer-controlled opponents should find MAG an ambitious but successful shoot-em-up that's easy to pick up but tough to put down.
Online interaction: MAG is an online-only game. There is no single-player component other than the tutorials. What separates this title from other military shooters is you can play with up to 256 players at once and work your way up to commandeering entire squads, platoons, and armies. Online interaction with others on your same team is fun (with or without a headset). If a headset is used, the language you might hear is unpredictable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether an online military shooter is any worse than a single-player one. That is, how do you feel about playing against real people in cyberspace and shooting them? What about the greater risk of hearing profanity?
Because players are part of a team playing online with others, they will be tempted to just keep playing. Families might want to discuss time management strategies about playing video games.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.