Defiance is ambitious, but just okay
Defiance is probably the first of its kind – a massively multiplayer game that is playable not only on PC, but also on consoles. Add to the fact that it’s integrated with a science fiction television series of the same name debuting on Syfy next month and you’ve got a rather enterprising title.
This weekend marked the last major beta test of Defiance and it seemed to be a no-holds barred sort of play session. Millions of players tested the waters of the game, taking on the role of something known as an Ark Hunter in the universe of Defiance. The game takes place after a mission on Earth goes wrong and the ark hunters have arrived to find out what’s happened and to gather up valuable alien technology.
What’s brilliant about Defiance is what I already mentioned: it’s one of the first truly multi-platform games. You can choose to play it on the device of your choice: PC, Xbox 360 or PS3. That’s truly something to get excited about. Its science fiction setting is also unique, featuring an expansive open world with a lot of missions and events. There are even Rift-like happenings (which makes sense as TRION, the developer behind Defiance, also created Rift) where hundreds of players gather together to succeed in one common goal.
It sounds awesome, right? So why do I only feel that the game is okay?
For starters, the graphics are mediocre. Especially, for me, playing on the PS3, it felt like I had gone back in time and was playing on the PS2. MMO’s are not necessarily known for amazing graphics, but whatever engine TRION used for the visuals doesn’t work on consoles.
For a game that has a lot going on, the gameplay of Defiance itself is also “meh.” As typical with MMO’s, there is a lot of running around and taking on missions, but something just feels missing. The story feels flat and un-exciting when you’re participating in it. Perhaps playing it while the television series is actually airing might make it more meaningful, but right now, it’s just not there.
With all of that being said, though, I still spent hours playing the game, enjoying the sheer joy of shooting. Because above all else, this is a third person shooter. And sometimes, that’s all you want to do. If you want to mindlessly shoot at mutants, have at it – this game is for you. It’s a great time waster.
I went into Defiance expecting something more like Fallout 3 or Fallout: New Vegas. What I got was a very generic experience based on those games. TRION had an opportunity here to create something special, but what they’ve put together, in my opinion, is not worth its $59.99 price tag. As there is no subscription fee to play, I would recommend trying it out once the price is about half that. Defiance is not bad, per se, but it’s also not great. I expected better.
Here’s hoping that the television series proves more worthy.