‘Defiance’: Ongoing Impressions – Part 3
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 debuted 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.
My time with Defiance has continued and I am now almost at the 40 hour mark, not only that but the main quest storyline is now complete. Defiance‘s story is quite shaky at first, taking a good half a dozen missions before you really understand the games narrative, even then it is still a struggle to comprehend the overall plot. Each mission during the main quest is basically its own story, which is actually a good thing. Sure it eventually all connects together in the greater scheme of things, but these small side-stories allow you to further develop your relationship for the diverse cast of characters.
These characters could have been much stronger if their acting was up to scratch, most lines of dialog feel phoned in and never show much emotion during some of the hectic parts of the games narrative. If the characters showed more emotion, I might be sitting here expressing my love for the cast, but sadly it just wasn’t there. The narrative overall picks up in the final act, introducing a main villain and more interesting enemies to defeat. I found myself reminded of Mass Effect 3‘s climatic battle heading into the final mission, it was able to present the feeling of desperation in the struggle for good and evil. Don’t expect the narrative to blow you away by any means, but there are a ton of missions here to keep you playing for a long time.
The lack of variety during the main-quest missions will grind upon any die-hard MMO fan. As stated in my first impressions piece all missions seemed to involve traveling to a location, battling an incredible number of enemies, hack/capture/pick-up/attach certain options holding the Square button and then defeating more enemies. This mission structure barely ever changed apart from adding even more enemies, which was extremely disappointing. When my first few missions involve defending a helpless NPC, only to have me defending a helpless NPC 35 hours later, its slightly disheartening. One smaller gripe during these missions is directed towards your allies, though you are able to heal them when they go down, your AI friends never once come to your aid. Though many games have showcased NPC’s healing the playable character, Defiance avoids it completely and feels frustrating when the NPC lets you die at their feet.
Defiance has another alternate side-quest narrative, these are called Episode Missions. These missions revolve around the two main characters from the Defiance television show, though you could tell the actors had not voiced video game characters before, these missions were definitely my favourite part of the game. It is a shame they only present a handful of Episode Missions, the narrative given throughout these missions were enjoyable, direct and easily more memorable than the games main quest. I am unsure if more Episode Missions will be presented as the show continues, but as it stands what we are given is cream of the crop in terms of what Defiance can offer.
While I have mentioned the low quality voice acting above, it gets worse for the NPC’s around the world. During dynamic events you might have to rescue a soldier, while fighting enemies the constant repetitive screech of the soldiers while they are tied up is actually horrible. There is one certain character that literally repeated the same thing over 10 times in a row, that I abandoned the mission, maybe I am a bad person? Let’s not forget the gut wrenching sound your character sometimes makes when he re-spawns, it happened plenty of times when the game couldn’t keep up with the fast respawn time. I would die, but when I re-spawned his death noise would sound for all to hear, it is laughably bad.
Sadly, the audio troubles continue throughout gameplay. Defiance‘s gun noises sound like cap-guns, or those toy-guns you can buy for your kids. Vehicle collision noises sound like hitting someone with an inflatable bat, when my vehicle first crashed into a steal railing, I was shocked how they could have placed a noise so far from the actual sound in the finished product.
However it isn’t all bad on the gameplay front, it can be impressive at times to see just how much is going on during battles while the game doesn’t skip a beat. There can be over 15 enemies on screen, all shooting, all moving and the game was able to keep up. Though traveling through the world seemed like a more difficult task, with vast amounts of pop-in. At one stage an entire bridge spawned while I was driving over it, these issues were greatly apparent when you were traveling through the environment at a fast pace.
You know what is the strangest thing after all these issues, I am still having a somewhat enjoyable experience with Defiance. There is no doubt this game has many flaws, many issues and deserved a lot more polish before it was released, but above all these issues I find myself still having fun. I have had long experiences with games where I have found myself bored out of my brain, wanting my experience to end. Yet I only find myself wishing the mission structure would vary enough for some new situations to occur, it is definitely a strong tick in the negative column. But don’t take away the fact that after 35+ hours I am still able to have a good time with Defiance.
That is it for part 3 of my ongoing Defiance Impressions, but we are also closing in on the end of this long journey. In the finale I will talk about the last few aspects of the game I have yet to cover, including my thoughts on the games competitive and cooperative multiplayer.