SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2017

Defiance Review

Defiance is a new MMO from the creators Trion Worlds, which are known for their fantastic MMO, Rift. Defiance is a behind the shoulder MMO shooter. The game takes place in the future of a terraformed Earth. Aliens called the Voltans came to Earth to seek a new home when their world was no longer habitable. This brought about humans and Voltans trying to live together in harmony, which in the sci-fi world, never works out the first time around. Civil War followed, but a group of humans and Voltan united to bring about peace, which ended with the battle of Defiance. The battle of Defiance was held around the Midwest United States in St. Louis, which is where the TV show ties in, but our game pits us against the enemy around the San Francisco Bay area.

Defy

You start the game with a cut scene introducing the player to some key characters in the game.   In the cut scene you are aboard a ship headed to the San Francisco Bay area to hunt down some ark tech. Ark tech is to be believed to be able to transform the world back into a peaceful loving utopia instead of its “Mad Max” like raider hang out. You are an Ark Hunter hired by Mr. Von Bach of Von Bach Industries and you are to assist with protecting and securing his findings and research of the Ark Tech. During the cut scene, you are greeted with the options to customize, create, and name your character. During character creation, you are able to change some the different features of your characters look and choose a class type. The classes include Soldier, Sniper, Heavy Gun, or Light Assault types. These class types only matter for what your character will start out wearing, and what weapon they will start out using.  You can use any weapon in the game, as well as change what your character is wearing.  The ship you are on gets taken down by an unknown force and you crash land which starts the tutorial. In the tutorial you are introduced to your AI counterpart “EGO” which will kind of remind you of a Cortona from “Halo.” This AI counterpart will be with you throughout the game and give you direction on what you will need to do on quests and in the tutorial. The tutorial gives you a basic understanding of how to use the controls. They also introduce you to your starting EGO powers.

EGO Powers

There are 4 main Ego powers in the game. You get to try them all out and find out how they function and work while in the tutorial area. Once you have tried out the different EGO powers, you then get to choose the one you want. The 4 powers that are available to you are:

  • Cloak lets you turn invisible for a short periods of time, which works well for getting away from the enemy when in tough situations.
  • Overpower lets you  do more damage for a short  period of time and automatically reload when active.
  • Blur lets you move really fast and turn your melee into a very powerful attack.
  • Decoy sends out a decoy that enemies will follow and focus on, letting you take enemies out while they are more focused on your decoy.

Once you have chosen a power, you will be able to upgrade that power and purchase “perks” using EGO points, when you gain enough experience. Perks spread out from the main 4 powers on the EGO grid. As you level, you will be able to attach more perks to your character. Perks vary in what they do, as they may assist you with your main EGO power or do something different such as providing you with better defense or more health.

On the Offensive

During the tutorial you are introduced to one of the games main characters, Cass. Cass is a Voltan who you will aid in making sure that the ark tech you are hired to look for by Mr. Von Bach does not fall into the wrong hands, because Ark Tech is a very volatile and dangerous piece of technology. Once out of the tutorial, you will be able start making a name for yourself.

The world is detailed and really makes you feel like you are on an alien world, even though you’re on Earth. You’ll start out doing quests to progress the main story line, which can be confusing at times to understand. You are greeted with sides quests that you can complete to earn experience or items. You can also take part in time trial races and rampage type quests. The rampage and time trial quests are timed and allow you to compete with others for leader board domination as well as granting you experience.

The game also introduces Arkfalls, which if you have played Rift, are pseudo-random events that happen in the world that anyone and everyone can participate in. These Arkfalls are mostly large in scope, with some being easier and completed solo, while others are required to have a large group to complete. There is no need to find other players when doing the Arkfalls, as other players are guaranteed to show up and collect the rewards.

Roughing It

From here the game allows you to do what you want, at the pace you want. New side quests open up as you complete the main quest line which takes you all over the map. Arkfalls and other random events will show up when travelling from place to place. Travelling is completed by fast travel locations that will open up once you have been to those locations. During the first few missions, you will be gifted with an ATV, which will be used to move around the map and that is a good thing as it would take some time by foot. There are other vehicles that you can purchase in game that have different stats, as they may be faster, have more boost, or be able to take more damage.

Everything you do in the game levels you up in some way. For example, the more you drive your ATV, you will unlock “Pursuits”, which are like achievements, but your ATV will level and allow you to drive faster or have a bigger boost meter. Weapons you use also level in this way, think of it as being able to use that weapon or item better by practice makes perfect.

Modding

During your playtime, you will come across Mod items. These items are used to modify your weapons. You can put better attachments on your weapons, such as a better stocks, barrels, sights, or magazines. Like any MMO, items do vary in rarity, going from normal being white, to extremely rare being purple. Like most MMOs, when finding higher colored item, they usually mean much better stats but you will notice that sometimes you may find a blue colored item but your white colored item is better. This sort of inconsistency with finding “rare” items does not make the process as enjoyable by finding out that the blue or orange item you found may be no better then that common white colored item. The modding system does however make the gun collection game fun. With the modding, you can take a standard weapon and turn it into a powerful item. All weapons can be modded that have mods slots on them, which is indicated on the stats screen of such weapon, and mods can also be taken off weapons if you were to find a better mod. Mods do cost salvage points, which you can get through completing quests or breaking your weapons down, which turns them into salvage. Collecting different guns and using different guns is the name of the game. You will need to have a variety of guns with you at all times, as certain situations may call for a different gun.

Multiplayer

The game does introduce other features for group play. Such things include allowing you to create a clan for things like PVP. PVP includes a standard death match or team based death match fare. Co-Op missions, which allow you and three others to take part in instanced missions. These mission are fun and you and three others, be it friends or strangers, will have a good time. These missions do not require much if any communication between players, so at times it can feel like you’re still playing alone. New Co-Op missions unlock as you play through the main story line. The other group activity the game offers is Shadow War. Shadow War is a big PVP team-based capture match, set on the actual open world. In these matches you can partake with tons of other players in capturing and holding points of interest, which score you points for the win.

The Meat of It

Defiance is a great MMO, but with flaws. When coming from other MMOs, it does not really do anything different, but you will have a fun time playing it. The missions can become dull as they mainly consist of kill and fetch type quests, but these quests are usually short, which allows them to be completed quickly. Playing the game for short periods of time seems to be the most rewarding. The game is entertaining, but when playing for extended periods, it can feel very repetitive and will start to get boring. Playing in short bursts allows you to get some nice progression and to keep the experience from going dull. Defiance is a Buy to Play MMO, meaning there is no monthly fee after you purchase the game. Defiance includes a cash shop, luckily nothing in the cash shop gives anyone an advantage over the other.

Defiance does tie in with the SyFy TV show of the same name, and seeing the characters and relations with the show makes for a very interesting experience indeed.  The show and game are to coincide with one another from episode to episode. Not much has been seen on this but the TV show has only been through 2 episodes so far. It will be interesting to see how these two projects mesh together.

Defiance is available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The platform that I reviewed from was the PC version, which looks nice and runs perfectly. I have heard of other players having issues with the game but mainly on the Xbox 360. However, Defiance has received a few updates that have worked out for the better and smoothed the game over on the Xbox 360 side.  Defiance is not the greatest MMO but for those on the console side, it is a nice treat to finally have an MMO besides Final Fantasy 11. For PC players, it still is a great experience but you can tell that the interface was made for the console counterpart in mind. The interface does take some time to get used to when playing the game on the PC, and some menu choices don’t make sense initially, but after awhile, you will be able to navigate without issue. Also, for those PC players, the game can be played using a controller if you find it easier that way.

If you want to find out more about Defiance, visit their Official website here: Defiance