Games

REVIEW: ‘Defiance’ Fumbles its Attempt at a 3rd Person Shooter/MMO

Story

Defiance takes place in the same universe as the SyFy TV show of the same name. Thanks to a massive terraforming event on Earth, the planet’s land, animals, and plant-life have all be altered. New species are introduced while a new race of alien species arrive on Earth. The aliens looked to make their new home on Earth, but a war between them and the planet’s denizens sparked. This war led to even more devastating changes for the planet. After the conclusion of the war, the humans and the aliens (called “Votans”) learned to co-exist with one another.

As a human or a humanoid alien species known as an Irathient, you’re main occupation is that of an Ark Hunter. Karl Von Bach (CEO of Von Bach Industries) hires you in an effort to discover and apprehend advanced alien technology. After crash landing on Earth, a digital avatar and an Irathient female become your guiding focus at the beginning of the game. From that point on, Defiance allows players to freely explore the planet as they ammass new weapons, abilities, Arkfall codes, allies etc.

Side (but super helpful) note: For anyone looking to nab all those valuable Arkfall codes, hit up Gameocial.

Defiance Review

Gameplay

Defiance is one of the first games to offer a companion experience next to a prime time TV show. The game’s events will coincide with the TV show, which debuts on the SyFy network on April 15 at 9 p.m. It’s also a science-fiction focused MMO third-person shooter, which means the game’s connected to a persistent and activity-fueled world. The game thrives when other players get together and participate dynamic events called “Arkfalls.”

The fun factor that ensues from these massive events is worth experiencing multiple times. Players locate large remnants of crashed alien ships, which are capable of attracting large groups of various Ark Hunters. These events also attract the attention of enemy soldiers and extraterrestrial creatures, which turns these encounters into the large scale skirmishes MMO games are most known for. These moments provide the highest points of entertainment throughout Defiance.

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Even though Defiance does massive player counts and dynamic events well, a large number of factors hold this game back from being the hit game it sorely tries to be. The game’s graphics are merely passable. They don’t look incredible, but they don’t look horrible either. However, the bland environments and uninspired character designs take away any semblance of character from this shooter.

An overwhelmingly generic feeling can be derived from this game, as nothing truly stands out. There’s also nothing particularly memorable about any of the game’s cast, plot, and soundtrack. The barebones character creation only gives you a minuscule amount of options to work with, which leads to players creating all-too-similar looking avatars.

Defiance Video Game Review

As for the actual shooting mechanics of the game, they’re nothing special. If you’ve played the dozens of third-person shooters that have released in recent years, you’ll find nothing new here. The combat is somewhat dull and unexciting and the weaponry you equip don’t feel too different when you wield any of them. Aim down the sights, shoot when ready, and throw grenades when necessary. Rinse, lather, repeat.

The abilities that are offered to players are nothing special, either. There’s a skill that makes you more of a powerhouse for a few seconds, but when haven’t we seen something like that before? Gamer’s will spend the majority of their time filling random soldiers and hideous bugs with lead as their life bars dip into nothingness. This sequence of gameplay is quite similiar to Borderlands, except that the colorful personality of that game is nowhere to be found in this one.

Defiance Review

The majority of the main story mission that are thrown at players don’t differntiate much as the game goes on. “Rescue hostage soldiers.” “Kill X amount of enemies.” “Kill these enemies and interact with this object.” These tasks start to become an uneventful chore once you’ve played them numerous times. The multiplayer team deathmatches provide a mildly fun diversion from those stale mission types, but the unbalanced nature of this mode is infuriating at times. Everything about this game exudes a boring sense of familiarity and staleness.

Defiance Review

From a technical standpoint, the game suffers a bit more on consoles. During my week long playtime, there were a large amount of glitches present. I constantly shot at enemies who’s life bars had drained to 0, but they still stood their ground thanks to their new found sense of invincibilty. Vehicles sunk into the environment as I watched from a high point on the world map. At one point, one of the main objectives I was tasked with interacting with for a main mission was nowhere to be found, even though the indication marker was present. Trion Worlds has released patches for the game since it hit stores, but these tech problems left me feeling like the game wasn’t completely beta tested before it’s release.

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Screenshots

Defiance Review

Defiance Video Game Review

Defiance Video Game Review

Defiance Review

Defiance is a massive project that Trion Worlds and SyFy have put a ton of effort behind. It’s unfortunate that the game’s bland scenery/characters/mission structure, glitches, and ho-hum gameplay keep this MMO from being anything more than average. The Arkfalls present players with at least one amazing aspect of this open world shooter, but the aforementioned issues manage to even bring those down.

Defiance hits stores on April 2 and is available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Defiance will clearly get patched (as is the case with most MMO’s). The game may even improve as time goes on and the TV show gains some speed. But the mediocre elements of the game and it’s lackluster presentation will still be persistent problems. Those issues will keep plenty of gamers from sticking around for the long haul.

Rating: 5/10

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with ‘Defiance’ Game Producer Nathan Richardsson

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