hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The first two days of Defiance

4:30 PM on 04.04.2013 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

Killin' bugs and ugly dudes

Defiance, Trion Worlds's post-apocalyptic MMO shooter, came out a couple of days ago, and I've been courting it. We've gone on a few dates, but we're still getting to know each other, so it will likely be a couple of weeks until I'm ready to give my full impressions. The Syfy TV show based on the game airs on April 15, and the game will apparently have an effect on the series, so I'd at least like to watch an episode of that first.

In the mean time, allow me to share with you my first foray into this ravaged future Earth, where aliens and humans live side-by-side, but don't exactly co-exist. There's still a lot of junk I probably don't know or haven't figured out yet, so bear with me.

An MMO shooter can be a lot of different things. PlanetSide 2, for instance, eschewed most of what we have come to expect from an MMO, instead dropping players into a persistent battle between three evenly matched factions. It's an online war, with only the hint of a traditional massively multiplayer framework.

Defiance is on the opposite end of the spectrum, and comes laden with quests, gear drops, and a proper narrative. It's unmistakably an MMO, but one with guns and aiming instead of hotbar mashing. 

Making my first character was, I must admit, a wee bit confusing. I went into the game fairly blind, and very little is explained from the get-go. There was a vague cutscene lacking any context and then I was presented with the character creation screen. 

What's the difference between the humans and aliens? Not very much. Everything seems to be purely aesthetic, and, frankly, the alien design makes Star Trek races look imaginative. It took me more than a moment to realize that there were additional customization options hidden at the top of the screen -- the first of many poor UI design choices -- but once I spotted them, I crafted my hairy biker alien. 

I found it a bit odd that after yet another cutscene and a tutorial section, I still didn't really know what was going on. I knew how to shoot stuff, and I knew how to use my special ability, but beyond that, I was completely lost. I don't need a game to hold my hand, but Defiance is pretty stubborn when it comes to doling out information or giving any context to the adventure.

After rummaging about in menus, I've been able to learn a lot of what I need to know, but it's all unnecessarily obfuscated. Much of this comes from the haphazard UI, which seems badly implemented on the PC version. It does not really appear to be designed for the platform.

Speaking of things not designed for PCs, don't expect any graphics settings. You can scale the bloom and add motion blur, but beyond that you can't do much more. There are four graphical presets, including the hilariously pointless "custom" preset. A custom preset only works if there are advanced options, but they don't exist. 

Defiance was meant to have been built from the ground up on all three platforms, PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, but it's hard not to think of it as a console port.

So, my very first impressions were not particularly positive. But I soldiered on, and I'm glad I did, because I started to enjoy myself. 

I like the classless system, for one. Having multiple loadouts means I can switch weapons and my primary power and secondary perk on the fly, completely changing my role in combat. I can go from a sniper with a back-up pistol who uses the high ground to his advantage one minute, to a close quarters shotgun-wielding maniac who gets an advantage against charging enemies the next.

One of the things I absolutely loathe about your average MMO is the lazy quest hub. I find running into an area and gather all the quests I can before running out again and completing them to be incredibly unsatisfying. It feels like a routine. Although missions in Defiance can be seen on the map, they are spread out, giving you a reason to explore a little -- which is even more fun once you get your first vehicle -- and giving greater purpose to some of the areas.  

While not particularly interesting, missions have yet to devolve into simple kill or fetch quests. There's a logical reason for every mission, and they tend to involve me assaulting areas until the military can come in and take them over, or assisting a character who joins me as a temporary companion.

While exploring the mutated landscape, events crop up every now and again which require some haste and lend a sense of agency to the proceedings. I sometimes found allies being assaulted my mutants dropping out of helicopter, and quickly leaped in to defend them, or I'd come across medical personnel surrounded by mutant troop carriers and need to rescue them.

Larger events like meteor showers that deposit menacing chunks of space rock filled with bugs that wouldn't be out of place Starship Troopers occasionally appear, and are easy to find on the map -- they also show up on the HUD, which is pretty convenient. I'm yet to figure out what their beef is with Earth, but damn are those beasties tenacious.

The rocks form a circle around a massive area, and must be destroyed within a time limit, with the event eventually climaxing in a battle against a particularly dangerous elite insect. I've only participated in one such big event so far, and I confess that I had no clue what the hell I was doing, but it was certainly fun to join a hundred other players in a bug extermination party.  

I'm yet to dabble with the matchmaking feature, and I'm finding that Defiance doesn't really put the social aspects at the forefront of the experience in the way one might expect from an MMO. I've teamed up with fellow players during some of the random events, but it's always temporary and utterly disorganized. I intend to put some more effort into getting into the group content soon.

Keep an eye out for my full impressions after the first episode of the TV show airs on the 15th. 



Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure FraserIBrown Tips
Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Daniel Lingen avatarDaniel Lingen
#PAX2015
Agent9 avatarAgent9
gonna help my mom move and pack some things. what it means is I'm gonna sit and get yelled at whether I do or do not do something. I can't be the only one with a picky parent that expects nothing less than clairvoyance (-_-)
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
If some weren't aware, Phil/Mike Martin needs some help right now but can't access traditional donation avenues like Paypal on his own. I'm offering to be a middle man. I'm also offering to match 50% moving forward right now. [email protected]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
At first I thought it would be fun. Then more ideas came, so I kept adding. More! More! But soon it just became stubbornness. Now, as I stare at 10000 words of meandering loon about a subject I'd almost rather be porn, I must question all my life choices.
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Someone on Gamefaqs asking the real questions. How mad would you be if halfway through the Mad Max game he stumbles upon a tribe of kids and the rest of the game is a lighthearted romp?
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I think, for my first try, I drew a pretty damn good Ryu, if I do say so myself [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/edB8UKLdSZep8ZSOYF8u[/img]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Really sad that Wes Craven has passed away. He made really fun films.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
R.I.P. Wes Craven. I'll always remember you for A Nightmare On Elm Street, Scream and Red Eye. I'll try not to remember you for Music of the Heart.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
So apparently Nintendo is taking down Mario Maker Let's Plays as fast as they can. Good job!
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
Phantom Pain is fucking glorious.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
Anyone remember the cartoon "Freakazoid"? I'm doing artwork for a box for work to hold my supplies, but I cant remember some of the better characters. Freakazoid, Steph, Cosgrove, Candlejack, the Lobe, Caveguy... but who else?
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Gotta love all those Dtoid community members that magically appear whenever there's a giveaway.
DSBrad avatarDSBrad
Newest Madden may be one of my favorites. Been taking all my time up.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
TWITCHTOID! I'll be playing some more PS4 Zombi and then some Until Dawn if'n I want to change things up. Link: [url=http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator]Twitch.tv: TheDefenestrator[/url]
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Bless Wasteland 2's custom portraits [img]http://i.imgur.com/JuWaB1W.png?1[/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Sorting out a bunch of university stuff and going through a bit of writers block. I'm also holding some of my best stuff back for freelancing purposes (uni ain't cheap!), so sorry if my blogs have been a bit lackluster lately. And will be for 4-ish weeks.
gajknight avatargajknight
Been looking for a car to buy today. I swear, I am so sick of my mums voice. "It's too expensive!" "Don't you think it's a little big..." "INSURANCE!" Goddamn woman, chill your beans.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Hey look! I bought some toys and stuff and junk and what-not. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/Mobile%20Uploads/2015-08/IMAG0656.jpg~original[/IMG]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Yes, it's essentially a trace job, but this is my first piece of pixel art: [img]http://i.imgur.com/N0zmHiL.png[/img]
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Oh for fuck's sake, why is there no Netflix app for my PSTV?
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Defiance


  Feb 08

Who wants a code for the Defiance beta?!

Try it out before the April release


  Jan 30

Defiance launches April 2, TV series on April 15

Trying to wash the word "transmedia" out of my mouth


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -