‘Defiance’: Ongoing Impressions – Part 1
Platforms: PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / PC Genre: MMO, Third Person Shooter, RPG
Developer / Publisher: Trion Worlds
Platform Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Defiance is the latest title developed by Trion Worlds and brings with it one of the more interesting premises gaming has seen in the modern generation. Defiance is not only an online MMO third person shooter, but also a brand new TV show that debuts on Syfy April 17 2013. The premise of both forms of Defiance revolves around a near distant future where a race of aliens called the Votan arrive on Earth; their home world has been destroyed and they are looking for a new home. The TV series and the game itself are meant to connect in ways never seen before.
Over the next few weeks I will be giving you updated impressions during my time with Defiance, before I present the official score and my final thoughts. Today I am giving you my initial observations after my first day with Defiance, which I’ll be playing on PlayStation 3.
The Defiance MMO is set in the San Francisco Bay Area after a world-terraforming event that changes the physical attributes of the land. These alterations can be seen all around you through the broken and battered buildings and desert landscape. When the sun rises during the games time cycle the lighting glorifies the surroundings making them quite beautiful to behold. However in most cases so far, nothing stands out during standard lighting, it all seamlessly gels together into one massive bland area. Sure the post apocalyptic world in Fallout could also be called out in this measure, but Fallout also found ways to produce some graphically amazing landmarks scattered throughout the environment. So far Defiance lacks this ability; almost every area seems similar and interiors of buildings seem familiar. Hopefully this isn’t the case throughout the entire experience.
When you first enter the world of Defiance, you are given the option to create your character. Male or female, human or alien and what their background involved. It is very reminiscent to the original Mass Effect in that regard but with less options, and so far no one has referenced the choice I made. When I say less options, I mean it. There were around 6-7 hair options and the facial structures don’t look amazing by any means, but as an MMO your facial appearance is the least of your troubles. Your outfit is selected depending on what background you choose for your character, leaving customisation options of your appearance quite limited. Though you do unlock more clothing as you play, these so far seem to be entire outfits that lack the ability to be altered to your tastes.
Once your character is created (My characters is Pierce Hawthorne, for community fans out there) we begin the story of Defiance… at least I think so. Maybe it slipped by me? Or maybe it wasn’t explained too well? Either way I find it hard to tell you the exact plot of Defiance‘s narrative. I won’t judge it yet as I have only done a few actual main story missions, but so far it has been a struggle to know why I am doing the things I’m doing. Side missions also have their own narratives, all segregated to themselves apart from the main story. They are fairly generic, usually involving the player heading to point A, defending and hacking an object then returning to original location. I would assume longer and more interesting side-quests will appear later on, but so far the only incentive to undertake these tasks is the reward of experience points.
Defiance shines during group tasks, one in particular called Ark Fall’s. These missions occur randomly and involve all the players in the area (if they choose) converging on one giant crystal like object, to defend it from mutant or spider-like aliens. When teaming up with a group of players, healing each other and covering ones another backs, it feels so connected. When you finally clear the Ark Fall and stand victorious surrounded by a dozen or so warriors, you feel triumphant. When you are able to get 4 of these warriors to join you in a celebratory dancing contest, it becomes even better! This cooperative experience alone made my time with Defiance more enjoyable and I definitely hope for more instances where Defiance takes a page out of Guild War 2‘s playbook.
These are only my first impressions of Defiance. There’ll be plenty more I haven’t covered and even more I haven’t even experienced. There have been other issues I will deal with in the next few days, but I would rather test the waters more before judging certain areas of the game.