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.
One of the key elements I have avoided in this ongoing review was the games AI, with combat being the games main focus AI opponents are constantly on your screen. Defiance has some fairly weak AI enemies, now that cat is out of the bag we can explain why. Multiple times you can be right next to an enemy laying waste to them with your weapons and they will not notice until they have been put down, almost all enemy AI has one objective and that is easily explained with one word, shoot.
They will stop and shoot at you in the open, they will stand on towers and shoot, or they will run directly at you and you guessed it, shoot. They are mindless enemies with one task and they only become difficult to handle when the game decides to throw unforgivable odds your way. In small groups you will never find they challenge your skills, but the deeper you go into the games narrative you will get wave after wave of enemies thrown at you, almost small army numbers. Though the variety in enemies was something I appreciated, with almost each Act giving you fresh enemies to fight against, the poor AI never seemed to get any better.
Having spoke about the painful repetition players must face during missions, the multiplayer aspects of Defiance offer a glimmer of hope. When completing main story missions or side quests, you might find players have already started the objective and you are able to team up alongside them to complete the mission. If you so wish you are even able to group with players, allowing your team to share vehicles and their locations always be shown on the map. This works well enough, having grouped up with a handful of different groups during my time in Defiance it definitely makes the monotony more enjoyable.
The cooperative elements of Defiance actually became some of the most enjoyable and memorable moments. Working with others felt better than playing alone, keeping an eye on your team mates to keep them alive, reviving them when they were down and even a celebration dance after a job well down. These are moments that made the game world feel alive, rather than you facing wave after wave of enemies on your own.
These cooperative moments carry over to the Co-Op maps you unlock throughout the games narrative, these maps are basically dungeons four players can work together to defeat. Though these maps never provided a challenging experience, it was fun to ride around with three other players and work towards a collective goal. The bosses in these maps are also interesting, bringing even more diversity to the enemies on offer.
On the other side of the coin Defiance also offers competitive multiplayer, with a major flaw holding the feature back from what it could offer. Personally the multiplayer feels buried, you must enter your normal menu screen, hold down the left trigger, find matchmaking and then go from there. The numbers of people playing the multiplayer are extremely low, which makes me think the fact this multiplayer isn’t the easiest to find, is the reason numbers are so low.
Making matters worse after spending so much time waiting for a full lobby to start a match, the match will be over within five minutes and the multiplayer party broken up, forcing you to wait once again. The waiting for a single Shadow Fall match was horrendous, this match type offers 64 vs. 64 player battles. But after 3 hours of letting my character wait, not once was there enough players to fill the lobby and allow a match to begin.
However the multiplayer is actually quite fun once you are done waiting, bringing a nice challenge compared to the poor AI you become accustomed too. Using your characters powers to their full extend, provides strategy that isn’t on offer during the main game. Matches take place in small sectioned off maps, with nothing blowing me away in design but they allow for some decent gameplay. It is a shame that the lack of players means enjoying the multiplayer features, involves more waiting than actual gameplay. Could it be that console players just don’t know the multiplayer exists? It’s a genuine argument since the game (once again) fails to inform these features exist. Though we are constantly reminded Co-Op Maps exists players without friends playing Defiance, may choose to ignore them altogether, in-turn missing the multiplayer section.
Defiance is a flawed experience and with that, it becomes hard to recommend. Though there is a ton of content on offer, even for the single player gamer, you must ask yourself if quantity over quality is something you can stomach? Defiance had many chances to become a great experience, but when you spend almost every main missions and side quest repeating the same thing, it becomes nothing more than a monotonous chore.
Unlike most MMO’s the lack of classes and the fact you can respec your character at anytime, holds back the notion of replaying with a new character. There is no reason to start again and grinding for experience with one character is hard enough, let alone multiple characters repeating the same bland mission process.
Overall there is fun to be had with Defiance and I genuinely had a good time during my first 20 hours, but after awhile the problems and lack of variety drain the fun away. What you’re left with is a game that feels rushed, almost as if they had to publish this game before the TV show aired. Even when you find something positive, it won’t be long until the issues once again appear ruining your chance of enjoyment.
+ Lots of content
+ Fun cooperative multiplayer
– Repetitive mission structure
– Audio and graphical issues throughout
– Poor AI enemies
– Fails to explain its various features