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Large-scale, near-futuristic warfare is waged online in MAG, a squad-based, first-person shooter created exclusively for PlayStation 3. In the esprit de corps of multiplayer games such as those in DICE's Battlefield series, MAG plays out across large areas with dozens of human-controlled competitors, who take up real-life combat positions and responsibilities such as stationary defenses and artillery, sniping and recon, and frontline infantry. The game features a light RPG-style leveling system, which rewards soldier characters with points for success on the battlefield. Points accumulate over time, and when enough are collected, they can be used to purchase selected upgrades and improvements to the character's equipment and abilities, allowing each player to eventually develop a custom character that is fine-tuned for a personal playing style. Upgrades are designed to enhance the player's performance, as opposed to increasing the characters' raw strengths or durability, to maintain fair competition between high-level veterans and newcomers.
As their characters level up, players also become eligible to take leadership positions in each battle. The game supports up to 256 players in a match, but these large armies are broken into smaller command units. At level 15, for example, players can sign up to command a squad of eight players, and at higher levels, they can apply for higher leadership positions over groups of squads. At the top of the chain, each team on the battlefield can have a single player who leads the entire army of as many as 128 human-controlled soldiers. In combat, players are never forced to follow orders, but soldiers gain double the experience points for accomplishing goals assigned by a commanding officer. The battles of MAG take place in a larger, persistent game world, and so each fight can influence the setting and circumstances of future encounters. MAG was designed by Zipper Interactive, developer of successful home computer war games such as MechWarrior 3 and Crimson Skies, as well as founding titles in Sony's SOCOM series. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide