PS3 Reviews: Defiance Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Defiance Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

6.5

Gameplay:

 

7.0

Sound:

 

6.8

Control:

 

7.2

Replay Value:

 

8.0

Online Gameplay:

 

7.0

Overall Rating:       7.1

 

 

Publisher:

Visceral Productions

Developer:

Trion Worlds

Number Of Players:

Unlimited

Genre:

MMO

Release Date:

April 2, 2013

Important note— As this is a massively multiplayer persistent experience, it should always be considered that the experience can change significantly over time via updates and various patches. This review should only be viewed as the starting point for the game in question, and it should be understood that it’s a pretty solid foundation.

Let’s say you’re a sci-fi fan and you’ve been watching countless commercials for the SyFy channel’s anticipated new series called “Defiance.” And let’s say you’re also a big fan of online multiplayer games, especially those that factor in an extra action or shooting focus, such as was found in MAG (and what will undoubtedly be seen in the upcoming Destiny from Bungie). If all of that rings true for you, there’s no doubt that you should try the latest MMOTPS – if that is indeed a correct classification – from Trion Games. Defiance can be a lot of fun and given upgrades and expansions, this could be quite the experience.

You can’t really expect anything too visually stimulating from such games, as the sheer size and scope alone pushes the constraints of current hardware. So you’ll have to deal with mediocre facial animations, average character design, and some bland environments that do little to stir the imagination. That being said, as you spend 99.99% of the time playing rather than looking, gameplay is by far and away the most critical element. Besides, there are a few things to like about the visual presentation, as there’s a lot of appreciated variety in terms of locales and overall creation, and some of the special effects are pretty slick. Briefly, this world is capable of great immersion for those who love this style.

The sound is in much the same boat from a technical standpoint. There are some decent voiceover performances and the soundtrack can be invigorating and even majestic at times. The effects are pretty good and nicely implemented ambient sound keeps one involved in the on-screen action. There’s a definite balancing issue, though, and that seems to be just as persistent as the persistent world we explore. All in all, the sound is better than average but nothing to write home about. And in retrospect, it’s actually too bad that this particular MMO sports cut-scenes, because that only brings the game’s graphical and auditory drawbacks into the unfortunate limelight. It's an odd flaw for an MMO, too.

Of course, all of that is easy to gloss over when one begins to play. While I have never managed to become interested in MMOs in any capacity, when I’m forced to test one, I usually end up enjoying myself to some degree. Perhaps it’s due to the more action-oriented third-person shooter approach on display in Defiance that I had plenty of fun. It’s also very important to mention that this doesn’t play like your standard MMO, in that there are story arcs, missions, character development, and other aspects of a single-player campaign that I always like. Hence, this should make the game more appealing to the online novices.

There are several intriguing modes that are destined to keep you playing for hours on end. The game mostly revolves around PvE contests (Player vs. Enemy) and you should definitely get your money’s worth out of those multiple story arcs. Another potentially fantastic twist is the inclusion and impact of the TV series, which will supposedly be factored into the game in some way. Basically, the show and the game will be connected, but the significance of this partnership is yet to be seen. I believe this is a great opportunity to expand beyond the standard MMO experience, which typically only involves a lot of grinding, fetching, and leveling.

For now, you should have a lot of fun heading out into the dangerous landscape and taking on a variety of missions. The Arkfalls are getting a good reputation as offering plenty of fast-paced entertainment; in this mode, destroyed Votan ships are falling to Earth in big fiery chunks. Each holds a cache of goodies and you must reach the wreckage to claim the treasure within a certain amount of time. It’s a little different than the standard “questing” you’ll find in standard MMOs, so this is another highlight that allows Defiance to stand apart. Then there’s the equivalent of competitive multiplayer for most shooters, PvP (Player vs. Player), and that can be a blast as well. And there's no poor AI in such contests, either.

It’ll be interesting to see how MMO followers receive this game, primarily because it is indeed a hybrid. You need the requisite reactions and moderate skill to succeed in most any third-person shooter, while at the same time, you need to embrace a much deeper system as compared to regular TPSs. In this way, I’m worried that Defiance will actually miss both groups of gamers, as both need to make some compromises. Still, there seem to be universally appealing features, such as the ability to upgrade all weapons, unique weapon traits, and the constant opportunity to team up with others. You’re never quite fooled into thinking this is a single-player adventure; the cut-scenes can’t make you forget that human players are all over the place.

On the flip side, there are universal problems, too. I suppose some will be more willing to overlook the shortcomings, just because they know Trion will continually be working to resolve lingering issues. However, it should be noted that enemy AI was almost brain-dead when the game first kicked into gear online. Things have become a little better with recent patches but the AI still isn’t anything special. Then there are obvious server issues, including crashing and freezing, both of which I experienced. Microtransactions are featured but I’ve never liked them and they don’t seem any better in this game. I wonder if any of them are worth the extra expense.

Still, there are parts of the game that make up for the inconsistencies. The action remains mostly streamlined, as players can easily join co-op missions, and the distinct differences between PvE and PvP, along with entertaining features and modes that add longevity and depth, increase the game’s value. It’s true that many of the problems are fairly common in the world of MMOs, so perhaps they shouldn’t be too greatly emphasized. Regardless, though, I’m not of the mindset that we’re allowed to completely ignore the flaws just because we assume they’ll be fixed in the near future. Flaws are flaws and must be acknowledged in any review.

One of the features I do like is the fact that Defiance doesn’t utilize a subscription model. The microtransactions are clearly designed to make up for that lack of income, and I have serious reservations as to whether or not such a tactic will work. However, it’s great for gamers, because you don’t have to fork over a monthly fee to play. Then you’ve got the solid foundation I mentioned above: The control is accurate and reliable, the missions are numerous and various, playing with others is usually quite entertaining, the pacing keeps one involved in the action, and the blend of traditional campaign and online multiplayer elements is quite stimulating.

Defiance is a persistent experience, which means it’s also a persistently changing experience. What we see now could be drastically different even a few months from now, so keep that in mind. For the time being, Defiance has started off on a relatively good note. The depth and longevity will undoubtedly cater to the MMO aficionados, the speed of the action-oriented TPS gameplay will interest some of the shooter fans, and sci-fi followers will definitely like the style and ambiance. There are several clear issues that plague an otherwise enjoyable experience, and microtransactions could be almost required in due time, but much of the drawbacks can be addressed in future patches. And I do expect the game to be well supported.

Therefore, if you like the idea and concept and you have the patience to let Trion fix what needs to be fixed, I say give the game a try.

The Good: Expansive, immersive environment. Solid control throughout. Nice blending of single-player and multiplayer elements. Various story arcs hold lots of promise. Good mix of depth and action. No monthly subscription fee.

The Bad: Technically unimpressive. Plenty of obvious MMO-centric issues. Server inconsistency. Microtransactions are concerning.

The Ugly: “I guess I’m spoiled, but I want my games to work all the time. Not part of the time.”

4/15/2013 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (20 posts)

Shatterday
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 10:31:05 PM
Reply

I'm so glad you reviewed this. I have been seeing the previews for the show for a while now. I'm a big fan of science fiction TV and I've had my share of MMO fun in my day, so I have really been considering this purchase (I'm a full time student with a full time job, so I have to pick and choose my adventures). Part of me wants to say that I would buy this game and watch this show anyway, just to keep the genre alive, since I feel that it has taken a lot of hits over the last few years.

You're right, it is difficult to review an MMO in it's early days. I think that after reading this, that my decision to give it a shot has been reinforced. May be a good opportunity for a PSXE community on there as well.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:50:11 AM

I am level 428 (out of 5000) and if you like Borderlands, Fallout, and MAG.. this game is for you.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 11:20:27 PM
Reply

I don't have time for MMOs but does anyone recommend the show?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 11:35:01 PM

The shows 2 hour pilot aired tonight at 6:00pm pacific standard time, and appears to be playing all night on syfy. Have it recording will watch it later as Revolution is on tonight.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

duomaxwell007
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 11:47:19 PM

umm not ALL mmos require huge time investments... you can play Defiance (and just about EVERY mmo thats come out in the last 5 years) with limited free time

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:28:49 AM

duomaxwell: That's only partly true. You can't really feel as if you're making any significant progress unless you donate lots of time to any MMO. You can always pick up and play games like Defiance and have some fun, but the truth of the matter is that real advancement still takes a ridiculous amount of time.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Shatterday
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:30:28 AM

I didn't think the pilot was bad at all. I think all shows are a little weird when they first start out. The effects are a little cheesy sometimes. You should be able to catch it on syfy.com or hulu.com if you missed it.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

duomaxwell007
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 1:36:43 PM

maybe so but some mmos are worse for example you can play WoW 2 hours a day, get some levels and even complete a raid and get some good loot. whereas sin final fantasy XI you can play for 8 hours a day everyday for a week and still take a full month at playing at that rate before you accomplish something significant. So Defiance is much more like WoW than like lets say FFXI in the case that you dont need to play all day everyday to get something significant done in a timely manner

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 3:53:45 PM

duo: You are aware that 2 hours a day is pretty much the max of what a lot of people can do, right?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

duomaxwell007
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 @ 10:45:48 AM

exactly.. which is the point i was making. 2 hours a day is PLENTY of time to accomplish something in games like WoW and Defiance... this isnt 1995 When MMOs like Everquest (and final fantasy xi which came out in 200 but meh) required so much time to get anything significant it was practically a second job ( would know I spent 8 hours a day everyday for 8 years playing FFXI.. infact when I check my time online time it equals 4 years.. meaning in 8 years half of my time was spent playing that game. I dont play Defiance half as much as I played FFXI and I still have PLENTY accomplished) and you had to neglect your wife and or kids to get that next level or shiny new piece of gear. In otherwords Defiance works perfectly fine for ppl who dont have a lotta time. Not ALL mmos require huge chunks of time investment.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 11:40:46 PM
Reply

Well this game has been on my radar since I heard about it... about 3 weeks ago. But surprisingly its fairing very well and that is good enough for me for a game like this. Its right up my alley thats for sure.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:42:43 AM

Don't pass on it... it's that good.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CrusaderForever
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 1:12:09 AM

It really is that good! It's just FUN! Arkfall's FTW!!!!!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Hand_of_Sorrow
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:04:27 AM
Reply

i was hoping for a sp game with a little bit of co-op/mp thrown in.

still, its good to see the game got a good review here

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

maxpontiac
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 12:48:06 AM
Reply

I can respect this review because you not only acknowledged the strengths and the flaws, you pointed out that this review is based on the foundation and not the end product.

I have put a ton of time in this game with my two sons and not only are the servers improving, we rarely have connection issues with all three of us on at the same time.

So far, Defiance is my GOTY.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 1:07:39 AM

Really? Thats awesome!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 3:10:25 AM

On PC or PS3? And what other games this year have you played (ergo compare it with)?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

CrusaderForever
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 1:10:19 AM
Reply

This game is fun and addicting! I have about 10 hours into it and I love it. Just watched the pilot as well. Really excited about where this game and show are going.

This was my first MMO and I have to say I am very impressed. We've heard it many times but it's true, Defiance is as if Borderlands, Mass Effect 3 and Fallout had a baby. The only bad thing I can say is the graphics are average, but that is to be expected. Defiance 2 on the PS4 will be unbelievable! Defiance will have to be a success for that to happen. I agree with Ben, the foundation is strong and I can only see improvement as time goes by. Well done Trion!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 3:12:14 AM
Reply

I am really, really tempted to get this game. I just need someone to play it with. All my coop buddies are on PS3 and I really want to play this on the PC.

It's a darn shame such games are not cross platform.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 @ 11:57:13 AM

Just buy the Ps3 version... You can't have it ALL. Sacrifices must be made.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

So, how's Far Cry 4?
Terrific, one of the best in 2014!
Good game but not amazing.
Okay; nothing special.
Eh, I'm disappointed.

Previous Poll Results