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 it brings with it one of the more interesting premises gaming has seen in the modern generation. Defiance is not only an online third person shooter MMO, 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.
Having now played over 20 hours in the Defiance universe, I feel like I am able to strongly comment on the main facet of Defiance‘s gameplay, combat. Gun-play takes place in third person and feels smooth,. your character can roll in either direction and has a jump that constantly reminds me of Sackboy due to its floaty nature. Due to Defiance‘s lack of originality (which I will speak about later) in quest structure, almost every side mission and main mission will have you shooting wave upon wave of enemies. Combat becomes quite monotonous since nothing seems to alter gameplay,; it’s just point, shoot, kill enemies and then repeat. Sure MMO’s are known for their repetitive nature but they usually hook the player using a key factor, loot.
Defiance offers loot sparingly, and even when you find some goodies, they feel quite useless. Having played over half the main quest-line and over 30+ side missions, I am still using weapons I purchased within the first few hours of the game. Nothing that is eventually dropped seems to be worth my time. Even after completing various Ark Falls I feel like loot is completely dis-interesting. When I played a game like Borderlands, for example, loot drove me to keep playing and it was dropped so frequently,- it felt like I was continuously pulling the handle on a slot machine in hopes of something legendary. In Defiance I have somewhat settled in my mind-set, that I won’t find anything stronger and that, in-turn, has made combat less interesting.
Leveling your character is handled in a unique fashion. Instead of your typical level system we are given the Environmental Guardian Online system. Your EGO Level is raised by completing Pursuits. These Pursuits are like small side-challenges such as kill a certain enemy, discover certain locations, etc. They are also given by completing certain missions and gaining enough XP to fill your experience bar, which then offers a new EGO attribute point to distribute to various upgrades. Your EGO system is never truly explained. I currently am sitting at an EGO rating of 257 I am still unsure exactly what this means.
Personally I feel like a collaborative method of EGO and persistent leveling would have been a major positive, though the addictive nature of filling that experience bar is still apparent. I feel the lack of explanation towards your EGO rating is definitely a missed opportunity, if someone has played as much as I have and still struggles, how would new players wrap their heads around this method?
These Ego Attributes we are given for completing each experience bar, allows us to unlock perks that can add to your character and upgrades to our special abilities. These attributes are all located within a grid format; unlocking attributes allows more attributes to be unlocked. This method is quite interesting as it allows players to search for the ability they want and work their attributes accordingly to take the path needed, however you are able to re-spec you character at anytime so working overly hard to reach certain attributes never feels like an issue. As you would expect only a few perks are allocated at a time, the more quests you complete, the more perks you may designate. So far I personally haven’t felt like these perks alter gameplay, which, in-turn, makes grinding for experience to gain more attribute points, somewhat pointless.
Grinding is definitely apparent within Defiance. This is shown in abundance during the game’s many side quests and random events. When traveling through the world you will stumble upon random activities, like captured soldiers, derelict vehicles and soldiers that need assistance. These events became less random after a few hours, since there are only a handful of different events that occur. Even the further I expand my presence in San Francisco the same events occur, with only minor differences such as the enemies I encounter.
As for side missions, we are offered a small amount of text before each quest explaining what the side quest involves. However they never felt interesting and become nothing more than a forgotten thought, as they never affect the world and end up becoming their own meaningless chapter.
We are also given various other challenges, such as vehicular time trials, specific weapon challenges known as Hot Shot mission, and Rampage challenges which require killing enemies in a certain time. These can be quite painful when you spend a large chunk of time with the challenge, to then be given a screen after your attempt saying it wasn’t good enough to garner a reward. Racing definitely felt cruel when you would be setting a decent time, only to have a random derelict vehicle from a side mission spawn in front of you ruining your attempt.
Overall these side-quests all feel generic. Some interesting stories would have been appreciated rather than the feeling each side-quest is copy-pasted.
Although this part of the on-going review leans towards the negative experiences of Defiance, I am still finding myself having fun within the world. I will continue to focus on the main campaign Defiance offers, which I will touch on in the next edition of the review. Defiance does feel at its strongest when you are playing with a group of players, I will focus on these aspects over the next days, also, so I can touch on these issues strongly in the next edition.
For further impressions on Defiance, read Part 1 of this ongoing review.