As a fan of Video Games of all types, when a developer attempts something new, I try to take notice. When I first heard about the idea behind Defiance, I thought it was an interesting concept, a story based on a T.V. show that was also a MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online), surely it would be a decent P.C. game. Then, I heard that the developer was planning on a Xbox and Playstation 3 version, and I was intrigued, doubtful that it would work, but still intrigued.
The story is split into two different storylines, one intertwined with the T.V. show, and another inside the Video Game. They exist in the same vast world, with you as the main character. At the start of the game, you are introduced to the main NPC characters that drive the two storylines, Karl Von Bach, a wealthy CEO of Von Bach Industries, who is a weapon specialist, and holder of a valuable and powerful vault key, and who is in search of alien technology to advance his cause. Von Bach hires you as an “Ark Hunter” and while you are aboard a transport ship that eventually crashes, you meet the two driving character of the television based storyline. Joshua Nolan and Irisa Nyira are seemingly mercenaries for hire and they accept a job to steal back a wealthy alien’s property. I would delve deeper into this storyline, but unfortunately, one of the missions glitched out on me, and I couldn’t progress this storyline.
The first thing you notice as you start Defiance is that your character has no feel, there’s a sensation weightlessness that causes your character to jerk around, I did get used to it eventually, but it is quite annoying at first. During the tutorial portion, you get to try out the different powers you are to choose from. There’s Blur, where your character moves very fast, Cloak, that causes great damage from behind while invisible, Decoy sends out a mirror image of you, and Overcharge, which increased damage to weapons. I, of course, chose the latter, and as I leveled up I began to like my decision more and more. There is, also, a tremendous skill tree to upgrade from, but as you start, you have a limited selection, so you don’t get overwhelmed. The downside is, for me, that there is limited slots to use your upgrades, and when I was finished with the game, I only had three slots unlocked, so all my hard work felt like a waste.
A lot of the reviews I have read have called Defiance a Borderlands ripoff, but I totally disagree. Borderlands felt big and empty, like it was just you and your three friends against a whole world, but Defiance doesn’t carry that feel at all. Also, one of the things I most enjoyed about Borderlands is the weapon system. I felt like I was always in search of the next great weapon, but in Defiance it is pretty much a waste. At my 5 hour mark I purchased a weapon from a shop, and at hour 25, I was still using the same weapon. Sure, I had picked up hundreds of other guns, but I felt my trusty old LMG still gave me my best chance of killing. Also, the weapon upgrades were useless, I didn’t fell any more competent using a gun after upgrading it, and how the system worked is still a mystery to me. I would buy upgrades, and was unable to use it for some unknown reason.
The biggest selling point for Defiance, is the fact that it is a MMO. The problem is, there is a majority of the time in the game, my experience felt like a single player game. Sure, sometimes on a mission I would run into a couple of randoms who would help me on my mission, but those interactions were few and far between. Perhaps it is because of the massive amounts of side missions, but I rarely came across people to play with. The one exception to this is Ark Falls. These are random missions where you would defeat a boss or perform a massive task, which would earn you tremendous amounts of XP and money. When I would arrive at these Ark Falls, there sometimes were more than 80 people fighting to complete the task, but this would overload my console and Internet connection, which then would make all the players and enemies invisible, thus ruining my experience. My last complaint about the MMO, was that several missions take place at the same location, and at times other players would be completing their mission from further along in the story, and I would inadvertently join their mission, and cancel the mission I was on. I would have no idea that this happened, and I would help the randoms finish the job, and the Playstation would go into an eternal loading screen when it attempted to load the final cutscene. This happened to me on at least 3 occasions, and it was very annoying.
Final Thoughts and Score.
Overall, I really wanted Defiance to work, and for a long while, I had a great time. The amount of glitches seemed to grow as time wore on, and eventually it grinded my progress to a halt. Beyond the glitches I mentioned earlier, I experienced missing objectives, inoperable story related buttons, doors, and boxes, and at the worst times, I was kicked from the servers, normally at the end of a long boss fight. Without these issues, I would really have had a great time with the game, but it appears the developers bit off more than they could chew, because the game became a mess for me. I know, there are a lot of players that have had good experiences with the game, but that wasn’t the case for me. Overall, I’d give Defiance 62/100, mainly because of the glitches and issues that almost causes Defiance to be a broken, not completable game. Hopefully patches will continue to be released and they fix the game, because hours of fun could be had if the game worked.