Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Defiance MMO early impressions (PC)

Defiance is a new third person MMO style shooter that operates in a similar way to Guild wars 2 in that the game is free after the initial purchase, has large open areas to explore with or without allies and features large multiplayer events that anyone can jump into and assist with.

The comparisons end there as this game features a lot of shooting and driving around akin to what the early versions of Borderlands looked like.  Defiance is a companion title to the recently launched show of the same name on Syfy.  Although it's called Defiance it doesn't actually take place in the same location, instead you run around the San Francisco bay area.

I wasn't blown away by the character creation as it is pretty limited.  You only get two races to choose from even though the Votan collectively make up around 7 or so races if memory serves.  The two you get to choose are Human and Irathient, both decent options but it would have been nice to have more.  Apparently those who purchased a season pass will get access to another race for free technically as DLC, although I question why anyone would want to start over to play as another alien.

Gameplay wise Defiance is fun if not a little simple.  Weapons certainly seem varied and different enough from one another that it doesn't become stale and the mix of alien and human technology is interesting.  Missions are fairly basic 'activate the console' style affairs and never go beyond that format but what MMO does these days?  The early game will see you fighting mutants of varying types along the way and may become tedious for some players who prefer a more constant stream of new foes, but they fit the location and story they are telling here so far.

Other enemies are fauna such as the Hellbugs which come in a variety of sizes and elemental properties.  Some burn you while others spray acid and it wouldn't surprise me to see more types as the game continues.  The lack of enemy variety in the early stages makes sense when you take into account the fluff written for the area and the fact that anything going into the game probably has some feedback into the TV show.  Expect to see Hellbugs or mutants at some point in the show as a nod to the game and it's players.

Although the missions seem basic they are at least straightforward and easy to complete with plenty of side missions and challenge missions to keep you occupied.  The side missions are interesting because they seem to expand the story of the area more while the challenge missions feed into that competitive need as players attempt to become #1 on the leaderboard.  Driving around the map can be pretty fun when you are given your first ATV and can simply bomb around the map looking for interesting things to see and do.  The map has plenty of dynamic missions which can be anything from defending friendlies to freeing prisoners.

The game can be a little buggy mostly where enemies are concerned.  Floating foes and odd hit detection can be a minor irritant but nothing far has ruined the gameplay or crashed the game entirely.  Sometimes mission dialogue will stop for no reason and the combat music can become stuck in a constant loop but overall it's no worse than Guild wars 2 post launch which had it's fair share of quest related or event related bugs.

I will probably review Defiance when I am more comfortable with it's mechanics and have seen more of the game.  So far though I am enjoying the combat and the story and look forward to seeing more as the show and the game develops.  I would recommend the game to fans of the program or anyone a looking to tryout a new MMO game.  I haven't had a go of the multiplayer yet, but intend to report on that soon.

Thanks for reading.


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