Defiance (Video Game Review)

Defiance is easily the most ambitious title of this generation of gaming. A video game that would tie-in with a brand new SyFy series while offering an online world where hundreds of players could play together and even team up for massive 64-player matches sounds too good to be true, but that's exactly what Defiance is offering players. The game is meant to be played online with multiple players in a sessions, but it can be enjoyed in solo play as well, and developer Trion Worlds has promised players will not need to watch the show to fully understand the game, but realizing character development and fully understanding the intricacies of the game's storyline is far easier when seeing all the world of Defiance has to offer. While it remains to be seen how great the television that premieres on April 15 will be, Defiance as a game is a fun MMO experience that offers a unique experience well worth trying out for fans of third-person shooters and open world, mission-based adventures.

Players begin a game of Defiance by creating a completely new character that can be customized as male or female and human or the alien race known as Irathient. Players will also choose an origin for their character that doesn't force a characters into certain class restrictions, levels, abilities, weapons and so forth, but rather it gives certain starting weapons and outfits based around a particular playstyle. All characters are also equipped with an EGO or Environmental Guardian Online that allows players to unlock new abilities, gain new missions and give a better perspective about a player's surroundings, enemies, weapons and more with detailed information. While the character creation system for Defiance is fine, it would be nice to see it expanded a bit in the future as the game continues to grow larger and have a larger audience full of more diversified characters inhabiting the world.

Speaking of the world, all of the action in the Defiance video game takes place in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, contrary to the Defiance television show that will take place in a similar timeline but in the St. Louis, Missouri area of the mid-south United States. This isn't the same San Francisco from our own time however, as the land has been terramorphed by years of war between rivaling human factions and immigrant group of aliens known as Voltans. The survivors of the war are mostly soldiers known as Ark Hunters that search the planet for important alien technologies while fighting off remaining resistance forces of another species entirely. All of this is explained early in the game when the ship containing the player's created character and a host of other valuable NPCs, including important characters from the televisions series, is attacked by unknown forces and crash lands over the San Francisco area. The story of Defiance is incredibly complex and not easy to fully understand just by watching the simple opening scenes of the game, but it's a pretty good one once you've figured out who is who in the game and what you are fighting for, though much of the game is spent in missions with little to no narrative value.

Missions in Defiance come in a variety of types and can include basic missions as you'd find strewn about any other MMO world or a game series such as Borderlands. These tend to get a bit repetitive and can be as simple as driving to a nearby area, killing a handful of enemy soldiers, and scanning a corpse. There are more important missions in the game however that are more pivotal to the game's storyline and will include cutscenes to explain what is happening and why the mission is so important, and these tend to be missions that are much more difficult and a lot more entertaining to complete. There are also side missions that stray from the typical shooter mission style and may require players to perform in races with checkpoints or some other mini-game. Episode missions will come later in development and carry direct narrative implications to the Defiance television show, but it remains to be seen exactly how these missions will operate. The most exciting missions however are the Arkfalls that drops random amounts of loot and alien enemies into a nearby area and will bring together players to fight off the hordes and gather the best rewards the game has to offer. These missions can be the most difficult in the game and will require the cooperation of large groups of characters to complete, but the more players involved in an Arkfall the greater the rewards will be for those players, so make sure to team up with as many players as possible!

All of these great ideas are combined into a fun third-person shooter world that isn't the best looking, doesn't have the highest quality sound design and isn't completely glitch free. Still, Defiance is a nice looking game considering the massive size of the world even if some structures and character models are a bit distracting. The game's sound effects and some of its voice acting seem a bit off as well, but breathtaking scenery and a well crafted soundtrack help keep you focused on the mission at hand. Countless missions and leveling both your character and the character's abilities, perks and weapon proficiencies is what makes or break Defiance for gamers. We really enjoyed the futuristic setting and connecting with other players in a high quality shooter that no other game offers currently. Only time will tell how good Defiance can really be, but we know we will still be playing it long after it has reached its true potential.

Defiance is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Defiance is rated M by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language & Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Defiance website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-64
  • Massive World Based on SyFy Show
  • Online Leaderboards
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer & Publisher: Trion Worlds
    Platforms: PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 (reviewed)
    Release Date: April 2, 2013

    Score: 8 out of 10
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