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Black Ops 2: Can The MAG 2 Make You A Better Player?

David Lynch

Features


Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is competitive at the best of times, but what if there was a peripheral that could make you a better online player?

Published on Jan 17, 2013

Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2’s multiplayer killing fields are home to some of the fiercest online warfare currently available to players, but what if there was a peripheral that could make you a better player?

There have been many peripherals that have claimed as such over the years, but in a world where the control pad seems to have perfected in-game control (sorry mouse and keyboard fans) is there any real need for anything else?

Can a peripheral like the MAG 2 really make you a better CoD player?

The MAG 2 Wireless Magneton Induction Controller, to give it its full and needlessly convoluted name, gives you the chance of playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 like a ‘real soldier’.

We say ‘real soldier’ because what you actually compromise for this added sense of ‘being there’ with a peripheral like the MAG 2 is the accuracy needed to compete online.

That’s not to say that playing with the MAG 2 is as awkward an experience as you’d imagine. With only a small USB box to plug into your console and a lightning quick setup (seriously, you hold the gun at the centre of the screen and press a button) there’s a hassle-free aspect to the MAG 2 that’s surprising, but also rather welcome.



To put it to the ultimate test we jumped onto Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 and decided we’d attempt a little experiment. Will using the MAG 2 improve our score or make it worse? A simple question, even we can't mess this up, surely?

To make it fair we played one ‘warm up’ game with the pad and the MAG 2 and then we played four games in succession alternating between pad and MAG 2 after each set of games, using the same the exact same Loadout and setup.

If you’re curious, here’s the Black Ops 2 Loadout we favoured:

Loadout

Gun:

Type 25 with Fast MAG & Reflex Sight

Perks:

  • Hardline
  • Lightweight
  • Fast Hands
  • Dexterity
  • Concussion

Wild Card:

  • Perk 1 Greed

Results

For a quick glance at how we got on here are our stats:

Control pad:

Game:                       1          2          3         4

Death score:              91       170      182      201
Kill score:                  81       125      234      145
K/D score:                0.89      0.74     0.75      0.72
Score per min:          925     124      125       128


MAG 2:

Game:                           1        2          3          4

Death score:                105     124      134       151
Kill score:                     89        94      102      112
K/D score:                   0.85     0.76     0.76     0.74
Score per min:             126      122      118      121

As you can clearly see, and we’ll hold our hands up to this, we’re not the best CoD players out there (we’re fine with that, by the way). What is interesting is just how little the MAG 2 hampered our scores.

This tells us two things; either the MAG 2 is a worthy replacement for the control pad, or we really are just terrible at CoD no matter what we are playing with.

Though there is a slight increase in score with the traditional control pad, the differences really come down to comfort and the ranges of control with either the control pad or MAG and this is unfortunately something the perihperal simply can’t compete with.

Part of the problem arises in the way that the MAG 2 interprets your physical movements into in-game movements. The MAG 2 approaches the problem in an intelligent and logical way that negates the need for tons of wires or TV-mounted equipment.

You simply point at the screen to calibrate and then your done. The problem is, there is then no real reason that you need to be pointing the actual gun at the screen.

The on-screen gun isn’t tracking the exact movement of the gun you’re holding and as such it's just interpreting movement from your motions and the actual analogue stick that's included. Movements mind you that have been quite happily mapped to the control pad and its efficient use of buttons.


What this results in is an over compensation on the players part and, ironically considering this could result in more immersive play, you begin to recognise that the MAG 2 is a incredibly awkward way of interpreting control; control that the pad is perfect for.

This is something that’s exacerbated by Black Ops 2’s multiplayer more than anything else, but it does prove that the MAG 2 should have the accuracy to work with slower shooters.

Played online, usual strafing tactics and swift movements go out of the window. Physically turning makes any but the simplest movements viable and with a few finger buttons in confusing places, grenades or accurate melee-ing really aren’t options.

When we did shoot people (and we did occasionally) it felt like more of a triumph over the awkwardness of the controls, rather than a triumph over a steely-eyed competitor. Just as with other motion controlled games, fatigue will also quickly set-in.

It’s easy holding up a gun for the length of match, but for four matches, five? CoD isn’t the sort of game that’s easy to walk away from and so continued play becomes hampered by the inability of muscles to combat the lactic acid that quickly builds up.

The MAG 2 isn’t even that heavy, but try holding your arms straight out in front of you for longer than five minutes. It’s not easy.

Playing online requires that pinpoint accuracy and unfortunately, the MAG 2 simply can’t deliver. Aiming becomes an effort and is too slow to react and when timing is as important as it is in CoD, anything that slows you down will ensure that you eventually find yourself at the bottom of the scoreboard.

Black Ops 2, as with many of the best shooters out there, doesn’t just require that you’re a good shot with a steady aim. You need to work with the environment, peek around corners and use the cover effectively, otherwise you’re simply cannon fodder.



The MAG 2 makes these kinds of movements harder (and slower) than they need to be. You might feel slightly more immersed in the on-screen action, but you can’t really act like you’re physically within the game world. Ultimately, a control pad is still the easiest and most responsive way to play, despite losing that feeling of ‘being there’.

Verdict

Though the MAG 2 does surprise by responding to movements far faster than we thought it would, it doesn’t give you anywhere near as close to the range of movements that can be achieved through the control pad.

What the MAG 2 does show is just how promising this technology actually is. Played with an FPS that doesn’t rely on lightning quick movements and the need to traverse the environment with a certain agility, there could be a space for a gun peripheral like this to really help immerse players in the action.

As it stands the MAG 2 won’t give you an edge in Black Ops 2’s multiplayer, despite it making you feel a bit more like a soldier.

The MAG 2 is available for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

 

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