Today we’re taking a look at Trion Worlds’ MMO shooter in our Defiance video review which tells you what you need to know about this ambitious game on consoles. Is it any good though?
Defiance review – Text version.
Today we’re taking a look at the Trion Worlds developed online only Defiance which ties in with the Syfy channel TV series of the same name. Set on a future Earth in the San Francisco area, players take on the role of an Ark hunter of either alien (Irathient) or human origin and embark on a sprawling action adventure across the ravaged planet. However, whilst the game offers a solo play style, the option to team up or simply join masses of players on the fly is one of the game’s greatest assets; but at the same time is possibly something that lets the game down.
From the offset it has to be made clear that Defiance will not work on Xbox at least without a gold subscription. Silver members will get as far as the title screen and be locked out of the game. In some ways this is a shame because, although the game is very much an MMO, the design is such that players can easily play the game alone. What’s perhaps really annoying is the game installation which when you include updates takes forever before you can actually start the game. It also requires quite a hefty install size on your hard drive.
Once the fun and games of installation have been passed, players can then seamlessly jump into the game in an instant. From the offset players can customize the look of their character and then its off to undertake the opening scripted missions. It’s here where players learn about the EGO system which is a set of skills and perks which upgrade the characters as well as getting to grips with the third person shooting. As a shooter, the controls are fairly tight and responsive, offering some cool shootouts versus the human and alien enemies that litter the Earth.
Whilst the game does feel a bit solitary at times, it really comes into its own after the first hour or so and once you’ve gotten used to how things work. Players are awarded vehicles which can be summoned at will, offering the chance to tour the ravaged lands and its here where the persistent world and MMO style presents itself as players who are effectively completing objectives in a solo manner, interact with other players doing the same thing. Players inadvertently help each other during missions as they fight the same enemies making lighter work of things when there’s a group rather than lone players which creates an unsung camaraderie amongst players.
There are some larger scale battles on offer which litter the map based on the alien Arkfalls which seem to attract the most players. It’s here where massive groups of players take on the largest bosses and groups of enemies en mass. There’s a great sense of scale in these encounters but again not really much co-ordination between players who are soloing the game rather than forming specific teams.
Defiance isn’t without its problems though and looks like a game that has been hit with the ugly stick with poor textures and low quality character models. Also the frame rate is the game’s biggest problem, often dipping below acceptable levels, and when masses of players enter the fray it becomes borderline unplayable.
That said, the game does boast a large open world to explore that shifts between day and night and offers a mixture of distinct areas to roam. It’s also perhaps expected that due to the open nature of the game it’s not going to boast the best graphics. If one isn’t too fussed about the game’s looks and can live with dips in the frame rate then all is good.
The game’s audio also comes in as a mixed bag with semi decent performances coupled with cheesiness and cliched dialogue. The player character is a mute, but that doesn’t stop the Ego character making much noise in her annoying electronic voice. There’s some good use of music that gently provides a bit of background ambiance to the world which is good, and sound effects are as expected and suit the science fiction nature of the game’s premise.
In terms of longevity, players can spend a lot of time here partaking in random side missions, set missions that relate to the Defiance story, or those pertaining to specific mission parameters. There are time trials for racing about in vehicles across the terrain, challenge missions to compete with other players scores, and the option or replay completed missions. There’s a lot to do and what works well is the pacing being left to the player to decide what to do and when to do it. The game is expansive, and seeing as it’s an MMO encourages long play times to level up characters power level, there’s also the questing for new loot which in itself is something that can take an age to get the best weaponry and gear. For the price, players can spend many hours joining friends, or simply teaming up with other players to get the most out of this game and that’s without having to spend any real cash on the extras.
Defiance is a solid entry for an MMO more ideally suited to PC. There’s plenty of content to get stuck into although sadly the game can get a little repetitive at times. The biggest issues seem to revolve around the graphics and frame rate which sadly let the game down. If you can stomach these issues, then Defiance is worth checking out, and if you’ve got friends who have also been bitten by the Defiance bug thanks to the TV show then it’s a cool game to team up and take back the Earth.
Score 7/10 – Review by Robert Cram