First off, let me tell you that Defiance is an MMORPG. For those who don’t know what that is it’s a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. There haven’t been many MMORPGs on a console especially shooters. How does this play differently than a normal game? Well picture this, lots of players are playing on the same server as you (At all times which means yes this game requires an always on internet connection) and may be on the same quest as you, in that case, they can end up helping you out (Which most of the time they do). Even if you are playing the game solo, technically you are never alone because anyone can waltz into your firefight. Because there are so many players are playing on this one server, enemies will respawn in order for other players to try and take them on even after you wiped them out. So now that you have the basics of what an MMORPG let us tell you about Defiance.
Defiance as you may know is not only a video game but it’s also a television show as well. Both are not exactly alike having the video game setting take place in San Francisco and the television show in St. Louis. The plot is broken up in episode quests which are missions that are influenced by the television show and the other is the main story missions which as you may have guessed, not influenced by the television show. I have not watched the show so I cannot say how good that is but I can say for sure that Defiance’s plot is very bland and boring. It starts off with an interesting plot where aliens and humans waged war on Earth. After the war ended they were able to set aside their differences and join together to face against other enemies plaguing the planet. You are an “Arkhunter,” enlisted by Karl Von Bach, CEO of his own weapons manufacturing company called Von Bach Industries, to gather valuable alien technology.
What really killed it for me was the boring cast of characters. The characters seriously lacked any personality especially in cut scenes (Not to mention that your character never speaks during them which made me feel like I really wasn’t an important part of the story). Character animations try to pass off as lifelike but seems more awkward than realistic. The dialogue between the characters is pretty corny and uninspired. Not only that but it seems like the developers forced some of the characters to swear and it really doesn’t work at all. The only real reason I wanted to continue the missions was to get the loot. Sometimes a serious cutscene that is meant to have you on the edge of your seat will actually have you on the floor laughing.
I will say that the side quests are a lot of fun. Each of these listed side quests can be played as many times as you want and each has a ranking system so you can compare how you did to other players;
Time Trails: Race to the finish line in your vehicle and try to get the fastest score
Rampage: Kill as many enemies as you can while trying to keep your multiplier as high as possible
Hotshot: Defend your position from an onslaught of enemies
Emergencies: Rescue missions that require you to take out all of the enemies within the area
*There are lots common side missions all over the map that you can complete for XP and either weapons or mods
Even though the story is not a blockbuster, the gameplay is where this game shines. As many of you are aware, MMORPGs typically don’t require aiming your reticle right on the enemy and pulling the trigger. Typically, those types of games used an auto-targeting feature. Not in Defiance’s case. This is like playing any third person action/shooter game that requires you to line up your shots carefully and hide behind objects to avoid taking damage. It reminded me of playing Mass Effect where you can run, dodgeroll, hipfire, precision aim, melee, use (1 0f 4) special abilities and throw grenades. One unfortunate thing though is that you can not stick to any surfaces to hide in cover which can really suck when you’re getting pelted by bullets even though you are crouched behind a car or wall.
When it comes to weapons, this game was a lot like Borderlands where you could find a variety of different guns ranging from Sniper rifles, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, assault rifles, pistols, sub-machine guns, heavy machine guns, infectors(Which shoots out a poisonous venom-like bullet that has a chance to infect the enemy and create bugs that will cause further damage) and bio-magnetic weapons (that can either drain an enemies health or boost your own). On top of having a vast amount of weapons to choose from, you can also add modifications such as sights, barrels, magazines and stocks to every weapon. To equip mods or add a mod slot to a weapon, you will have to have enough salvage. You can obtain salvage by breaking down weapons, completing missions or even killing enemies. Even if you’re having trouble finding a certain weapon or mod, there are vendors all over the map that have lots to purchase. Don’t have any script or enough salvage (What the currency is called in Defiance) to buy or mod anything? If you are dying to buy something you can’t afford you can purchase bits (Which is your real money) to purchase in-game items. Sick of running around shooting enemies? Why not run them over with various types of vehicles. You can get behind the wheel of 4 wheelers, cars, buggies trucks and hotrods. Each one having their own benefit such as 4 wheelers are slower but easier to navigate and cars are fast but are big and bulky.
As an MMORPG, I know that Defiance is a massive game and usually the bigger the game the worse the graphics. But even so Defiance can look really ugly at times. The land and building structures looks plain and dull, there are only a few enemy types of each enemy race (Raiders, Hellbugs etc.) so don’t be shocked if you end up killing the same boring raider for the 1000th time. When switching weapons your gun sometimes takes time to load (So it looks like you are holding air). Textures from far away move at a much slower rate so it looks really fake (This is especially true of enemies who are far away) and when entering a new area or transitioning from a cutscene, textures won’t completely load and will take a few seconds to reset. Sometimes you may have to ask yourself if you are actually playing a next-gen game or not. Personally, I would’ve enjoyed a smaller world with better graphics and faster loading times.
When it comes down to it, this game really reminded me of the first Borderlands game where the plot wasn’t very good, the graphics were ok (Yes, Borderlands was cell shaded but still didn’t look great) but yet the game was really fun to play. This is true of Defiance. But I must say I would really only recommend getting this game if you have a group of people who you can play with or a clan to join. This game can become very tedious and if I must say so myself difficult when trying to complete it by yourself. If you do end up trying it, tell us what you think.