Welcome to the New Age!
Defiance has been out for almost two weeks now and it’s time to follow up my preview of the game with my official review. First off, after all my years of writing game reviews, I still find it extremely difficult to write them up for games in the MMO genre. No matter how honest you are about a game, you will never please everyone. So for the record, this is my honest opinion of the game and the only opinions that really matter are those of my readers who know that my reviews are written without bias.
What is Defiance?
Defiance is a combination of a Third-Person Shooter MMO and a Syfy Channel TV Series. The game’s motto “Watch the Show. Play the Game. Change the World.” is a first for the gaming industry. Never before has the two industries combined to embark on such a project.
Both the show and the game are set in the near future, after an alien species called the Votans enter Earth’s orbit seeking to relocate after their planet was destroyed. Waiting in orbit for years while negotiating with Human leaders, the Votans could no longer hold out and waged war against the people of Earth. During the battle, Votan ships were destroyed, causing alien terraforming technology to fall from the sky randomly, reshaping the planet forever. After years of conflict and irreplaceable damage to the planet, both sides declared a ceasefire which allowed Earth to be inhabited by numerous races.
The game takes place in the San Francisco/Bay area of California. You are hired by Dr. Karl Von Bach as an Ark Hunter to assist him in recovering Ark Technology that he believes, combined with the Ark Core he possesses will assist him in reversing the terraforming effects on Earth. Your job is to gather up crucial tech and data that will enable Von Bach to become “Earth’s savior” by any means necessary. Unfortunately, the ship you are on crash lands into the Mount Tam area, with you as one of the lucky survivors. Due to this your objectives have changed and you must traverse the area to find Von Bach (whether dead or alive), assist the Earth Republic soldiers, and various other inhabitants that need your assistance. Since the game ties in with the TV show, various episode missions will be available each week after the weekly episode airs. Future content of the game will revolve around the evolution of the show.
As with any other MMO, the game starts out with you creating your character, which you will play throughout the game. Here the player can choose between two races, Human and Irathient. Each race has the choice between male and female characters, next you choose a basic Origin for your character from Veteran, Survivalist, Outlaw, and Machinist. Now for the fun part, players can customize their characters eyes, nose, mouth, skin color, hair, facial paint and tattoos.
From there, you go through the tutorial of the game, in which you learn about weapons, EGO Powers, and interacting with the world. Once you complete this portion of the game you are transported to the Mt. Tam area where you are now free to group with other players, join a clan, complete missions, side quests, races, and other challenges.
The controls for the game are pretty much your typical third person shooter controls. Now the only complaint I have about the controls of the game, is that there is no quick switch button for the various load outs that your character earns throughout the game. As I set my load outs to consist of different weapons and perks for the various types of gameplay, I want to be able to switch these out quickly without going into the main menu to change it. Now on PS3, players can use the in game voice chat to communicate with each other or use the typical MMO text chat. As of today, the voice chat is still a bit buggy, but has had numerous improvements since launch.
Once players reach certain EGO levels, you can participate in instanced Co-op Mission maps. If PvP is your thing, there are PvP maps and Shadow Wars available for you to participate in. So when you need a break from running main story missions, side mission, or the various types of challenges, you can queue up for one of those.
Now for those players familiar with Trion’s previous MMO project, Rift participating in Ark Falls should come as no surprise to you. Ark Falls consist of various types of events where players can gather to achieve a common goal; some of these events form a chain that lead up to a major Ark Fall. Basically, these can be compared to minor Ark Falls being sub-events leading to the huge boss battle. There are also various types of world events that randomly appear on the roads or areas of the world. Some require you to fight of waves and waves of enemies, others require you to save hostages, and there are many, many more types in game.
Players also have various pursuits they can complete from finding data recordings to using certain types of weapons. These pursuits reward players with EGO Levels, new outfits, and weapons. Completing these pursuits give the player a decent boost to their XP. Once a player reaches EGO level 250 they can take on contracts for the various factions, which in turn earns them reputation points that can be spent in faction based vendor machines.
Players can use any type of weapon they choose and your weapon skill levels up on use, once a player reaches a new level of a certain weapon skill it also rewards you with specific bonuses. If you enjoy crafting, well weapon modding is for you. Players can add five different types of mods to their weapons, add mod slots, and dismantle weapons to recycle the mods, or remove the existing mods to upgrade to better ones.
Graphics and Music
Honestly the graphics of this game fit the era that it supposedly takes place in. I would compare them to what Borderlands would look like if they had used realistic looking graphics instead of cel-shading. Now there are some various issues with the loading of the graphics, but this is probably due to server lag and not the graphics themselves. For some reason Trion has removed music from the console version of the game. You have various sound effects for the enemies you encounter, weapons firing, and voice over during cut-scenes. There is no theme song at the start up screen, no battle music, and no area music. So it honestly leaves the game feeling like something is missing compared to other MMOs I have played.
Now I have played numerous MMOs in my 16 years of experience with them and I have come to the conclusion that I will never see a perfect launch of one. Defiance is of course, no different. Since launch day various issues have arose from lag to missions’ glitching out. Voice chat has been buggy, items have disappeared, players have been disconnected from the server, some have been unable to log in, pre-order bonuses have not shown up, and challenges have been removed due to not functioning properly and so has a PVP map. Now I can honestly say that I have had very little issues with the game, and the game has been playable on PS3 since launch day. Trion has been on top of these issues and has been working on fixes daily while also preparing a major patch that will go live next week. Some of the other major complaints from the community are the lack of clan functions, text chat seems to become dysfunctional and voice chat seems to be non-existent.
Now as Trion is no stranger to the MMO genre, developing one for 3 very different platforms is probably something they didn’t expect to be such a battle.
Defiance is one of the most enjoyable shooter MMOs I have played. Even though there have been issues with the game, I will still continue to play. Trion has proven to be a very driven development company as they have actually pushed the first DLC release back, so they can continue on fixing the critical issues of the game. They take pride in communicating with the community as to keep everyone informed as to what is going on.
Defiance is definitely a game to keep an eye on if you haven’t picked it up yet. The only thing you need to play this game is the platform of your choice and the game disc. Even though the game is being supported through micro-transactions and sales from the upcoming DLC, you the player will never have to spend another dime on this game, if you choose not to. Trion has already confirmed that the player will never be alienated from their friends when new areas are released, as all map expansions will be free to everyone.
I am about three quarters of the way through all the available content, but have been working on completing pursuits, Ark Falls, PVP and Co-Op maps. I am looking forward to all the upcoming content and am in no rush to achieve EGO level 5000 any time soon.
Final Score – 7.5
“Defiance reminds me of what Borderlands would be if it were ever to become an MMO. The game has a great community and is lots of fun to play” The TV show looks very appealing and I am excited to see how the two will affect each other. If you haven’t picked up Defiance, what are you waiting for?”
The game was reviewed using the reviewer’s own personal copy.
In case you missed hit, Check out my Preview HERE!