When Sony revealed MAG - no-one's referring to it as Massive Action Game any more, it seems - at E3 last year, its promise of 256-player online modern warfare raised a few eyebrows. Not that we didn't believe it; we did, however, wonder how it could possibly hang together. Even in MMOs, you rarely get that many people in a single conflict, and when it does happen (in EVE Online, say) precious few understand what's going on, or can perceive it through the juddering lag. Surely a multiplayer FPS on that scale could only go one of two ways: complex, tactical and dry, or sheer bloody chaos.
MAG is fun. In fact, it's massive fun. It's fast and loose, free-flowing, improvisational, spectacular, structured without being too rigid; it accommodates lone wolves, team players and power-trippers alike, and makes it easy for players themselves to direct the action. You'd expect it to be intimidating, but it actually feels like the FPS for everybody. Even after just one 20-minute, 128-player match, it's hard to shake the feeling that, one day, all multiplayer shooters will be made in its image.