While Defiance is looking to win hearts and minds as a television show on Syfy, developer Trion Worlds has worked for the past five years to bring that same universe to life as an MMO. But can they pull it off?
Well, not quite, but it’s not for lack of trying. Defiance the game is an MMO and third-person shooter which has undertaken the Herculean task of bringing an online gaming experience to players that is in line with the unfolding events of a television show.
While the game is an enjoyable little romp for anyone spoiling for a rumble with some heavily armed mutants, it gets old. Fast.
For those new to the series, Defiance is set in the near future where aliens and humans coexist on a terraformed Earth that has become a frontier for Ark Hunters battling for alien tech – which is where your character comes in. You can scour the game world alone, co-op with friends or muck in with other players online, unlocking new weapons and skills as you go.
It is fun chasing markers and smiting enemies for a time, but on closer inspection the game is a Borderlands clone – you even have an invisible guide who helps you through the tutorial stages, rather like Angel in Borderlands. There’s a dash of Mass Effect (well, the font) and the MMO flavour of Warcraft, but there isn’t anywhere near the level of depth.
You can choose to play as male or female human or Irathient, no doubt to reinforce the species of one of the central characters from the television show.
Customisation leaves a lot to be desired, though, with ‘origins’ to your character rather than classes, and facial animation wasn’t as sophisticated as we’ve come to expect.
Where the game suffers massively is from glitches: enemies spawn from nowhere, hit detection is ropey and draw distance on console is at times shocking. The game world quickly gets repetitive, and there are simply too many barriers to enjoyment to make for a fluid experience.
Defiance’s ambition outstrips its ability to please, which is sad given the clear effort that has been made.