Two Hours With Defiance

By Alec Meer on May 2nd, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Defiance describes itself as an “online open-world shooter”, but it can’t pull the wool over my eyes – I know it’s really an MMO. Look at it, pretending to be something new and different even while thousands of players sprint around chasing experience points and killing infinite, infinitely respawning monsters. You can’t fool me, Defiance! I defy your description of yourself. I DEFY IT.

Defiance also a tie-in to a new sci-fi serial on the Syphilis channel, but as the trailers suggest it’s a sort of grey pantomime I currently have no intention of watching it. Perhaps an hour* with the game, which as far as I can ascertain is designed to be standalone as well as tie-in, would change my mind?

* I had planned on just an hour, in keeping with a series of features we used to run about games we didn’t quite have time for, but given that a good 15-20 minutes of that hour involved simply sitting through NPC exposition, I opted to give the game proper a little longer. Even so, just like An Hour With pieces, this isn’t a review. It’s impressions which solely reflect that hour/two hours.

Initially there are two cutscenes involving a text-scroll about aliens invading San Francisco ages ago, then talking between people I didn’t even catch the names of, let alone care about, then we’re into character creation. There’s a choice of two races, both in manparts and ladyparts flavours, and the only obvious difference being that one species has big foreheads. The other one is human, because obviously. There seem to be four classes to choose from, named Veteran, Outlaw, Survivalist and Machinist, but the game fails to describe how they’re actually different. All four of them are described as being hunters. Maybe that means it’s actually classless, but they do have different clothes and guns, so I rather doubt it.

I have no idea what I’m choosing, what kind of experience it means and why I might prefer it, so I pick the one with the shotgun because Doom II remains the best time I’ve ever had in terms of shooting monsters. I also make myself a big-foreheaded woman, because in real life I’m a man with a normal-sized forehead. I’m then asked to customise my character’s appearance, but no matter how many times I scroll through the ‘bone structure’ option, I can’t see any difference. No Depp-esque cheekbones for me, then. The only faintly distinctive change I can seem to make is to add a bunch of piercings, so I fill my boatrace with metal and leave it at that. OK, my forehead, my face full of crap and I are ready for action!

Oh, more talking.
And some more.
I don’t know who any of these people are. They seem very interested in me though. I think the ones with the more impressively-rendered faces are people from the TV show?
Nice textures though. Look at this man’s angry face, that’s not bad for an MMO.

Someone tells someone off, a thing happens and then I’m playing at last, and standing in what I presume are the post-invasion ruins of San Francisco. I wonder if I can find that nice hotel I stayed in in Japantown a few years ago?

I’m still not allowed to do anything, of course. A character who isn’t called Cortana but is Cortana wants to exposit at me some more, then tell me how to move and that sort of thing. Like everyone else so far (and after), she keeps calling me ‘Ark Hunter’, but every single time it happens I think someone’s saying ‘a cunt, huh?’ to me and feel briefly outraged.

Anyway Cortana eventually has me shoot a Mutant Soldier. Turns out a Mutant Soldier is not only an incredibly boring name for a game baddie – it’s also an incredibly boring character model. Oh gosh, a dude in a helmet with a bit of wrinkly face, what unspeakable horror. But, y’know, he’s a mutant so I suppose that means he has to die.

I carry on running where I’m told and pressing E on things I’m told to press E on, and soon enough I’ve been talked through a set of core abilities and asked to choose one. I pick invisibility, because The Invisible Shotgunner strikes me as pleasantly absurd/terrifying. Invisibility seems more forgiving than in, say, World of Warcraft – as long as no-one else can see me when I shotgun one of their mates in the back, I’ll slip back into stealth until the (recharging) energy meter runs out. Seems pretty well set up for insane guerrilla shotgun assassinations, so I’m happy with that. I’m not happy with the UI, which is a barrage of tiny, counter-intuitive, same-coloured icons which require far too many mouseclicks to achieve anything in, but maybe there are a bunch of keyboard shortcuts I need to learn.

Eventually I manage to figure out that pressing Escape, then holding down space, then clicking on the spanner icon from the pop-up radial menu gets me to settings, wherein I can breathe a sigh of relief and turn off the awful music. It’s terrible, insipid, watery boom-beep-thump electronic stuff, like listening to techno in a lift, or the sort of thing you’d hear in the background during a scene about hacking in a film from the early 90s.

Meanwhile I’ve moved out of the brown and grey starting area and into something that’s actually rather eye-catching. For some reason San Futurisco has giant mushrooms everywhere, in addition to ruined bridges and shattered towerblocks, giving it the overall appearance of a collision between Morrowind and STALKER. I quite like taking in the view, and hopping across the tops of mushrooms just because. The Boring Mutant-shooting seems a shame, really, and it doesn’t help that firing any gun at them feels like throwing gravel at a window. There’s a sense of weightlessness, a certain intangibility to everything. I can even jump/fall from any height without taking damage, which is usually something I enjoy, but here it just adds to that distracting sense that this is a world of papercraft.

Supposedly this is open world, but with little idea of what I’m doing or why, I opt to follow the mission objectives for now. This primarily involves running an awfully long way, shooting some Papercraft Mutant Soldiers, pressing E to Use on something, then running an awfully long way back to where I was. But hey, I get some cash and a few new guns out of it, so it was worthwhile. I’m no longer The Invisible Shotgunner because I got a sniper rifle and a submachine gun which had green names. Green Means Good: that much I know.

I run back somewhere, and someone else greets me with “A cunt, huh?” I try to shoot him, but as we all well know you can’t shoot friendly characters in MMOs. This might look a bit like Fallout 3, but it’s much more like Tabula Rasa with proper shooting.

Well, I say ‘proper shooting’ but the reality is that the camera makes a sad mess of things. Rather than true third-person, it feels a lot like a first-person perspective with a character model stuck to the front of the screen, with the result being both a slightly jerky viewport and a maddening discrepancy between what you appear to be firing at and what you’re really firing at. Time and I again I was crouched behind a crate or wall, lining up what would clearly be a textbook headshot, only for the bullet to ping off the crate or wall. From a first-person perspective, more than like the edge of that crate of wall would have obscured my view; from the game’s quasi-third it was nowhere to be seen. I pretty much gave up on trying to use cover from thereon in.

More running, more pop-pop-pop, more press E to use, more semi-lovely scenery and then, wonderfully, the reward of a quadbike all of my own.

That was quick. I am well pleased about this. I can summon it up any time I like by pressing V, it appears to be indestructible (or at least, like everything else in the game, made of card) and I no longer need to go on tedious kilometre-long jogs. Also, I can run people over in it, which would be as satisfying as that sounds if only the sensation was a bit more meatier than riding a bicycle through a slight breeze.

To cap off my (initial) time with the game, I found a free-for-all open world mission where a half-dozen other players, in both human and Big Foreheadian, were endlessly shooting a giant beehive with a million hitpoints. The beehive kept on spawning giant knobbly insects, eventually escalating to what I presume were Boss giant knobbly insects, but mostly we just kept on firing at a big, static beehive for about ten minutes until it went pop. Do they do that in the TV show?

I return to base to take on a mission about going to a place, shooting some Mutant Soldiers and pressing E to Use on some things. An NPC addresses me as “a cunt, huh?” I log off.

Would/will I continue to play Defiance were I to have the time? Despite all the snark here, maybe. Primarily because I don’t yet have anything like the measure of it, but also because it seems fairly well suited for dropping in, hopping on a quadbike and speeding off across a passably spectacular landscape to shoot some dudes for ten minutes before logging off. It seems, so far, very geared towards solo play, with casual co-operation when you feel like it. Apart from that initial 20 minutes of vomited exposition misery, it’s refreshingly determined not to waste my time. Here’s invisibility, here’s a vehicle, here are bunch of guns, baddies over there, there, there and there, go do that thing you do. It also seems to be subscription-free, though there is a season pass for DLC. Not convinced I’d want to pay for that based on my very short experiences so far – it’s quite pretty and once you’re past the intro it goes from 0 to 60 pretty much instantly, but it does feel overwhelming lightweight.

Anyone been playing it for longer? What can I expect down the line?

, , .

79 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Lagwolf says:

    It is all that but sure as hell not worth $60 (or your regional equivalent). $30 mb…

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Yeah, some F2P games seem more inviting that this game. And I hate F2P games.

  2. dE says:

    Good, I’m not the only one that instantly links SyFy with Syphilis for some reason. I quite don’t know why though.

    • Premium User Badge

      lurkalisk says:

      Probably because of their spokesperson, SyFy Phyllis.

      • Mirqy says:

        according to penny arcade, Syfy is something like the Polish for syphilis.

  3. Sorbicol says:

    The TV Series isn’t very good. Not sure if that helps or not.

    That said it has some potential, probably once it realise its not going to be the new BSG no matter how hard it tries.

    • Shezo says:

      I’m more hoping that it’s gonna be a new Farscape.

    • Shuck says:

      Also, since the show takes place in a completely different state, I’m not sure exactly what the crossover is with the game that was so touted early on. It certainly can’t be anything to do with the characters. (Or the setting. Or the plot.)

      • marach says:

        You meet and help the shows main characters in the first episode missions they actually set up the first episodes opening explaining where they got some stuff etc

        • Taidan says:

          Bear in mind that those missions have apparently been removed from the game for now, so if you didn’t do them first time around, then you will have to hope that Trion decide to “re-run” them at some point in the future.

          Really bad design choice, that. They’re “phased” anyway, so they would be invisible to anybody who had already completed them, even if they were still in-game.

    • glix says:

      And it’s only 3 episodes in. It’s rare for a show to be amazing right out of the gate.

      Also, yes, it’d be more like Farscape than BSG and all the better for it.

      • Giuseppe says:

        Yeah, it’s hard to be great so early on; the thing is, so far Defiance is not only far from great, it’s actually quite dull. Pretty much every good sci-fi show I’ve seen has started off in a much more interesting fashion, even if it did fell short from being great in its early episodes.

        All in all, Defiance may have some potential, but these first few episodes have left me largely indifferent to the characters and to the story. That can’t be a good sign. I’m already starting to think this is gonna be a short-lived series.

        • glix says:

          There’s a very large number of shows (and some games) that I initially thought were pretty dull too, but if I had stopped watching then I would have never known how much better they get. That includes Farscape, so I’m gonna hang on for a while because of Rockne’s involvement.

          • Giuseppe says:

            I can’t really say the same. I’ll keep watching at least till the end of the season, but I don’t really have any great hopes for it. Hell, Falling Skies is basically The Walking Dead with zombies replaced by aliens, and I still found it to be more exciting to watch than Defiance.

            I hope I’m wrong though. I’m itching for a good sci-fi show.

          • geoffreyk says:

            I’ve got to side with Giuseppe on this. I’ve put over 100 hours into the game, and enjoyed it, but the TV series has been very weak. I would even say that the most recent episode was downright bad.

          • abandonhope says:

            The whole “we’re going to Antarctica!–no we’re not” thing was just awful. The show eschewed character building for the sake of diving straight into the action and setting up easy, formulaic shlock.

            They’re now trying to hammer really poor BSG emulation into the rest of the nonsense they’ve got going, but it’s just crap on crap. So far, Defiance is one part Stargate Universe (“We can do dark and sophisticated, too! Oops, no we can’t.”), one part Terra Nova (pure shit top to bottom, not a single worthwhile character).

            I’d like nothing more than for Syfy to get a clue and generate something good, but I can’t stomach another horrible season of a terrible show made by people who clearly have no interest in sci-fi. There are thousands of bad sci-fi novels that are infinitely better than any of Syfy’s series. Someone over there needs to pick up a book and either buy the rights or steal a few ideas that don’t suck.

          • Premium User Badge

            Cinek says:

            lol. This whole “Antarctica” thing got maybe 2 minutes on the screen through all 3 episodes and yet it hurt your eyes so much?
            Trolololo?

          • abandonhope says:

            @Cinek – You missed the point. Leave Antarctica out if it helps you. Nolan at the start of the pilot is incongruous with Nolan by the end. Independent frontiersman salvager in search of riches turns noble lawkeeper–in a single episode. That’s quite a character arc there. Really drew me in, you know? It’s easy-mode writing at its worst.

        • Premium User Badge

          Cinek says:

          TBH: I find Defiance more interesting than Farscape. If anything: Farscape was dull.

        • Katdoral says:

          Personally, I just wish that they’d stop using their in-house CGI group and go back to using the old group from canada. (The ones they used for stargate) They aren’t as terrible as their usual weekly movie CGI, but they still aren’t very good.

      • P.Funk says:

        There are actually a lot of shows that are great early on. The ones that are traditionally not so are the ones which are not story arc based, but instead based on one-episode story lines, like Star Trek.

        Star Trek was notorious for being crap in the first season and better as it wore on. Shows like that can afford to have a ‘settling in’ period because you can basically retcon the story as you go, write out character sensibilities, then actually create the foundations of characters in the second or third seasons. Word, Data, Picard, all had the bulk of their character development done at around the 1/3 mark of the show’s run.

        Shows which are crap and always stay crap tend to be ones that are concerned with large arcing plot lines from the start and bungle them early. Breaking Bad, The Wire, Game of Thrones, Deadwood, Mad men, etc all work brilliantly because they’re just done right from the start and nothing that happens early on seems out of place as it goes on.

        For a story arc based show to suck in season 1 makes you wonder how they can write themselves out of a bad story arc if that arc is the main point of the damned show. BSG was arguably best in its first 2 seasons and actually got worse, preachy and stuff, so there’s that too.

    • His Divine Shadow says:

      i’m dropping the series after the 3d episode. the pilot was just mildly disappointing, the second episode was downright bad, and the third one was just offensively, clockwork-orange terrible (and by this i mean http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/94/Clockwork%2771.jpg/300px-Clockwork%2771.jpg)
      note that it’s coming from a guy who persevered though entire first seasons of falling skies and terra nova.

    • Premium User Badge

      colossalstrikepackage says:

      I concur. The father-daughter relationship aside, the acting, writing and CGI are all laughable. It’s a shame that Firefly and BSG set the bar so damn high. Even popcorn SiFi (Stargate) leaves it in the shade, due to Defiance’s lack of likeable characters. It seems a shame – the premise is rather interesting, but execution shoddy. I was hoping this could become a new regular…

      • Brun says:

        Still secretly wishing that when AMC inevitably decides to make a foray into a homegrown science fiction series they decide to raise Firefly from the dead.

  4. hemmingjay says:

    The game is decent as a MMO Shooter that I paid $30 for. I would rate it objectively at a 6.5 or 7, although I have certainly enjoyed moments in the game that would warrant a higher score.

    I’m not entirely sure what service Alec is providing though by giving us his stream of thought for a game he has done no homework on. This initial look at the game is not up to Mr. Meer’s usual standard and certainly not of the quality I have come to know from RPS.

    • MasterDex says:

      if these are his feelings after playing the game, I don’t see why it should be considered of a lower standard to any other article.

      • hemmingjay says:

        The only problem I have with it is that it’s painfully clear he wasn’t interested in reviewing the game and couldn’t be bothered to learn anything about the game before playing(or even paying attention while playing).
        Other than that, the actual writing is professional and technical even if it lacks all of the usual flavor inherent in RPS articles.

        • DXN says:

          His approach is, itself, part of the review, innit though. Telling us frankly how the game made him feel and, for instance, how little the lore meant to him or interested him — rather than just how the game rates on X, Y and standardized scales. S’at whole New Games Journalism thing!

        • Arglebargle says:

          Yep, filled with dismissive BS. Meer had no clue what was going on because he wasn’t paying any attention to anything. That’s my impression of this rambling review.

          Now the game is just so so, probably only worth $20-30 imo, but held captive by console pricing. The UI is bad, absolutely designed for controllers, and fudged for the PC. Though it was spectacularly worse for PC earlier in development, so count your humble blessings there. Character creation is mighty meh. But reasonable fun as a shooter for this non hardcore shooter fan. Also, Meer didn’t get far enough into things to get to the BFGs, or the truely weird armaments. However, he was right about an invisible shotgunner being awesomely fun. I guess he just couldn’t manage his to keep his high disdain in check.

          Pretty much feel this was a throwaway visit, so colored by disdain for Syfy that it has little relevance. (And I hate the Syfy ijits, and am going to be taking up the Syphilis schtick)

          • Premium User Badge

            liquidsoap89 says:

            Couldn’t the reason the seemed uninterested be the game’s fault? Surely if I sat through a long period of time watching a poor video I would lose interest, so perhaps the reason he doesn’t care is because the game didn’t give him a reason to.

          • PacketOfCrisps says:

            Fortunately this isn’t a review, as stated at the start of the piece.

        • AngoraFish says:

          It’s pretty much the same way I play games, and I can assure you that if a game hasn’t grabbed me in the first two hours the odds of me continuing past that point are exceedingly low.

          I wish more reviews considered the first two hour experience, because I for one have no interest in persevering through hours of average in order to achieve some hypothetical higher level of future enjoyment on the say so of a reviewer, usually based largely on the earnest assurances of the developer and an ‘analysis’ of the feature list.

        • StormTec says:

          I don’t know how you got “review” from “Two Hours With Defiance”

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            He hung a right at jumping instead of taking a left at conclusions

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          RPS is never really trying to be “here’s tons of technical information about the game” – it’s just “here’s some things I think.”

          There are going to be an awful lot of people who only have a vague idea of what Defiance is about, and this is actually a pretty useful indicator of how a lot of them might engage with it. There’s a lot of places where you can find detailed reviews – this is a two hour dip of a toe in the pool, and the internet needs write-ups of that just as much as it does srs bsns reviews.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      yeah i agree, not really necassary, and to be quite fair what the fuck is the point in reviewing a game if you obviously cant be arsed.

      • Creeping Death says:

        …He didn’t review it.

        It’s a freature RPS has been doing for some time (though admittedly, not recently). They are only meant to give a quick first impression of the game. Here, have a few more to get a feel for it
        http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/an-hour-with/

      • Premium User Badge

        Martel says:

        I enjoy the irony of folks complaining that he didn’t pay attention enough to the game, and yet couldn’t bring themselves to read (or at least comprehend) the article. Good times right there

        • Premium User Badge

          P7uen says:

          Look, you can’t expect them to sit through all the boring exposition at the beginning about how it wasn’t a review when they clearly don’t have any interest in… wait a minute!

          Anyway, I was in the beta for this article and it was much better before Alec nerfed some of the insults. He kept the “gravel at a window” quote only at the insistence of the community. 6.5 out of 10

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            A good thing, too. I thought that was one of the better bits.

      • Ragnar says:

        Indeed, what’s the point of him giving his opinion of the first couple hours of an MMO? If he hasn’t beaten the MMO at least once, then he’s clearly not qualified to give his impressions, and his opinion is of no use.

    • NothingFunny says:

      To me it seems a valid approach of just a report of a gamer who jumps in to play and writes his impression. It give a good first impression-type preview of a game.

    • Premium User Badge

      colossalstrikepackage says:

      I don’t know. Maybe him coming up with ‘meh’ as his conclusion is not as satisfying as tearing sexism a new one ( Starcraft ), but I enjoyed reading his views. It’s an okay game by the sounds of it for the first few hours. It’s an MMO that’s okay. I mean, that says it all really.

      Do I wish he was telling us about something exciting or outrageous? Yup. But you can’t eat dessert all the time!

  5. MasterDex says:

    “Passively spectacular” – I’ll have to remember that one!

    The TV show is alright, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to amount to anything more than Eureka with aliens, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, it can be nice to sit down and watch a nice ‘safe’ show.

    A friend of mine picked up the game, at the insistence of some of his other friends. He seems to like it enough. Personally, I’ll be avoiding it. It sounds like it has all the problems that usually stop me from picking up MMO’s – a sense of broken immersion because of all the signs shouting “This is game!”

    • Don Reba says:

      I like the show, actually. It’s sort of a “Fallout The Movie” with aliens. Defiance City is clearly inspired by Megaton. Instead of being built around a live nuke, this one is built on top of a nuclear station. And it even has its own Mister Burke.

    • Rumpel says:

      i think the show is just horrible. the pilot was ok, maybe even good, but since then it has gone straight down. the last episode with that ritual stuff? i cringed so hard…
      also mind you, i was really hoping for it to be good, since this is the first time in a while syfy actually ordered a scifi show.

      as for the game, i lost my interest after discovering there is no real progression. the guns you find are mostly “sidegrades”, and the perks you pick seem rather random and not designed towards supporting and improving specific playstyles. the zone events feel generic and uninspired. played it maybe for 10 or 12 hours before uninstalling

  6. nrvsNRG says:

    i like it, its a surprisingly good third person shooter, and also plays better with a 360 pad, which is quite a novelty for me to be playing a mmo with one of those. its a game thats currently in my rotation, and its great for dropping in every now and then to hook up with my clan for some co op maps and PvP, or to just mess about for a couple hours. totalbiscuit really liked it iirc, not that its a big deal, its just it was quite a good review.

    • Quickpull says:

      If you like the idea of playing an MMO with a 360 controller, try it with DC Universe Online. One word of advice if you do, make a villain and choose the Joker as your leader. Getting missions from Mark Hamil is the only proper way to play the game.

  7. CutieKnucklePie says:

    “it doesn’t help that firing any gun at them feels like throwing gravel at a window.”

    I laughed so hard at this one because it’s so true.

    • Larkington says:

      When I got to this point I realized the game isn’t for me. Despite everything else, I was intrigued by the setting and concept. But firing a gun with no oomph is a deal breaker.

      • hemmingjay says:

        Cutie above you said that the guns do indeed have “oomph” and I agree. In fact a lot of the guns are quite satisfying.

        • StormTec says:

          ““it doesn’t help that firing any gun at them feels like throwing gravel at a window.”

          I laughed so hard at this one because it’s so true.” – CutieKnucklePie

          Methinks comprehension isn’t your strong point, hemmingjay.

          Unless you think throwing gravel at a window is full of “oomph”?

          • CutieKnucklePie says:

            Yeah exactly. I loved the turn of phrase because the shooting felt lightweight and disconnected to me too. I haven’t played the game post-launch but that was my impression during the beta.

  8. Taidan says:

    After having spent around 50-60 hours with the game, I’d review it as “Seriously flawed, but fun in spite of all that.” The actual combat mechanics are excellent, as far as the joy of lining up headshots and quick-dodging away from signposted enemy attacks can go. The MMO-features, such as questing, social interaction and character customisation are seriously lacking.

    Stability-wise, there are lots of obvious bugs still plaguing the game, ranging from small inconveniences all of the way up to progress-halting super-blunders. Performance is fine from a system standpoint. Game has a nice, solid feel to it. There have been problems with hackers in PvP, Trion are apparently policing it and handing out bans.

    Long-term appeal is questionable, if played heavily, but it’s great for quick dips here and there. There are plenty of side-quests and other quick distractions (Such as arcade-y vehicle time trials) to be had, but no serious endgame apart from the random world events, which get old very quickly. I have never talked to another player in-game, and I see no need to so far. (Come to think of it, I have never seen anybody communicate in game in any way at all. I did turn off voice-chat on day one…)

    The tie-in to the TV show is appallingly done. So far, we’ve had a fun, interesting mini-storyline to follow pre-show, but that has since been removed. (Why did they remove it? Considering the content is “phased”, and thus invisible to people who have already finished it, I can see no real reason. Removing content from a game such as this is absolutely insane!) Since the launch of the TV show, all we’ve had are really grindy achievements, most of which involve travelling endlessly around the world hoping to find certain randomly spawned events. Not fun, especially if you’re of a completist mindset, as there is a time limit to do this before they are removed from the game again.

    The TV show itself… Well. I’ve never seen a TV Sci-Fi jump the shark after only three episodes before, that must be some kind of record. It still has potential of sorts, but not impressed so far.

    I wouldn’t go as far as actually recommending it without some serious caveats, but if you’re after a casual PvE blast with some persistence and some fun, if shallow co-op action to be had, then this is as good as it gets. If you’re after a new MMO to immerse yourself in, then look elsewhere.

    • Kryopsis says:

      My experience has been very similar. If you approach Defiance as a ‘shooter first, MMO second’, you’ll probably enjoy the game as much as I have. The action is satisfying and, to me, vastly superior to the Borderlands games. The game is class-less, level-less and has a horizontal progression system. While you do gain XP to unlock new abilities, your health, shields and damage output do not change dramatically: the main difference between a newly-made character and somebody who played the game for a month is merely the amount of options available. All guns have fixed damage so a ‘purple’ or an ‘orange’ end-game assault rifle will have the same damage as the weapon you start with. The difference is that it may reload 15% of your special ability on a kill or partially refresh your grenade cooldown.

      Basically, I really like Defiance and I’ve had a very positive experience with Trion. This said, the game *is* buggy and doesn’t have much in terms of content. Whether or not it is a game I could recommend in a month or two depends on how much effort Trion is willing to invest into their product. Fixing the absolutely odious PC interface would be a step in the right direction.

      EDIT: I should probably specify that I spent 75-100 hours on Defiance.

      • Taidan says:

        Definitely in agreement that it’s far superior to Borderlands, in terms of the mechanics and “feel” of the action.

        I’ll also say that it was my experience with Trion’s treatment of Rift that pushed me to buy. (As well as some generous discounting on Green Man Gaming…) That game had what can only be described as “A rocky start” but Trion’s people were very honest about the shortcomings, and the game eventually saw vast improvement, as well as a decent amount of extra content. Really hoping we see the same again here.

        • geoffreyk says:

          Just wanted to 3rd this line of thought. I’ve put over 100 hours into the game, and generally like it, but would never suggest that it is “amazing”.

          Worth pointing out about the “sidegrades” and leveling scheme: the very flat level curve benefits the game in a couple different ways. One, since your character and loot map directly into the PvP modes, the smaller differences between damage output mean that a newer player actually stands a chance against a higher level player. Level isn’t immediately determining outcome, and thus the pool of people to play with is much larger. Second, returning to the earlier areas of the map, or encountering entry-level enemies, even 50 hours of progression later, still presents a similar challenge. Even now that I’ve “completed” the main storyline, and advanced to rank/level/”EGO” ~1450, when a challenge asks me to go back to the starting area, I’m not just going back there and steamrolling everything. I find this more palatable/enjoyable than either the Borderlands model or Elder Scrolls model for dealing with levelling. Finally, if you find a weapon that you really like, it won’t be rendered useless 5 minutes later when you reach a new area with enemies that have doubled-health.

          Alec’s “review” was pretty spot-on; the game has plenty of head-smackingly stupid or seemingly under-loved aspects, plenty deserving of snark, but is nonetheless a well made, enjoyable, light, shooter.

          EDIT: Disclaimer – I have this on a console-toy because none of my Master Race gaming friends were going to get it, and I find it more enjoyable co-op than purely solo.

    • Don Reba says:

      The TV show itself… Well. I’ve never seen a TV Sci-Fi jump the shark after only three episodes before, that must be some kind of record. It still has potential of sorts, but not impressed so far.

      I did not find the third episode especially outlandish, compared to the first two. And the girl is, basically, River Tam, which I see as a good thing.

      • Taidan says:

        **Mild Spoilers**

        Obviously it’s entirely subjective, so peoples’ mileage will vary. Personally, I thought that the character was already busy enough as it was, what with being a troubled-teenage-alien-orphan-adopted-by-human-who-killed-her-parents/nomad-uber-warrior-forced-to-settle-in-small-frontier-town, without also having to surprise-to-everyone developer her into a psychic-super-sleuth over the course of a single episode, especially with no foreshadowing of even the possibility of psychic powers in the Defiance universe in any of the previous story or lore.

        I mean, at with least in Firefly they slowly built up to the reveal over the course of a few episodes, before unleashing their superhero.

  9. smg77 says:

    I wish this wasn’t $60. I’ve been watching the TV show and am interested in the game but reviews have been mixed enough that I’m not willing to fork over that much money without being able to try it first.

  10. trjp says:

    I got everything I needed to know about Defiance from a comment in a Giant Bomb quicklook (about another game) where someone said

    “Hell I had to play Defiance for 12 hours – nothing could be worse than that”…

    I believe they were playing God Mode at the time too – which is like sitting in shit calling someone smelly isn’t it?

  11. SCdF says:

    This article made me feel uneasy and kind of dirty. While there were definitely solid critiques, 80% of it was slagging off a game in a spitefully generic way that could apply to basically every game ever (HL2: some characters I didn’t pay attention to, they made me run and click on things until they die, then I press e on a door). The overall tone made it feel mean and hateful, in a way that feels unexpected at RPS. I actually scrolled up half-way through to see if it was an author I wasn’t familiar with.

    Maybe I’m just overly sensitive today.

    (I have no hat in this ring, I don’t have time to play MMOs, especially ones tied into shows that don’t air in my country)

    • Giuseppe says:

      Reading it made me feel like the author somehow got coerced into writing an article on a game he didn’t actually want to play. The whole article seems to be “forced” and the tone appears to be snarky for the sake of being snarky. Maybe the game is at fault here; maybe it’s not. I can’t really tell from reading this.

    • muut says:

      24 hours logged in the game so far, and I do agree with the whole ‘pressing e’ thing. There are very few quests / missions that aren’t “go to this place, shoot some dudes, press ‘e’ on one or more control panels, dead bodies, or flora, then come back again”, dressed up in various different ways that it’s hard to care much about.

      Even reading the above back to myself it sounds as though it sounds a bit unfair, given that you could apply that description to a lot of things, but playing the game it’s hard not to notice the generic-ness of the quest design.

      In fact the most memorable non-story quest so far was one in which I got to drive a big truck for a bit before shooting some dudes and pressing ‘e’ on some things.

      Having said that, I’m finding it a lot of fun just running around shooting things, assaulting random enemy camps, assisting other players from hilltops with my sniper rifle, driving about randomly and getting myself into trouble, so imho it’s still worth its hard drive space (especially since there’s no subscription involved).

      I agree that removing content is ludicrous; that probably isn’t going to help players taking a short break from the game to get motivated to return.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Some might argue that the measure of good game design is how well it distracts you from the fact you’re just clicking on things.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Certainly had the feel of ‘I’m not interested, and I’m not going to actually pay much attention.’ I’m not even a huge fan of the game, it’s got some major problems. This reports’ issues though seem to come more from between the chair and keyboard.

  12. Oculardissonance says:

    100 plus hours here and I really enjoy it. But I’m also left grinding achievements until more content comes. Bringing your new toys and abilities into pvp is a great feeling.

  13. mollemannen says:

    i’ve played trough the first storyline and im still playing. the gameplay is very pick-up and play. you can be in an instance or pvp match just a couple of seconds from logging on, if there are enough people playing that is.

  14. realitysconcierge says:

    Excellent read lol

  15. Ernesto25 says:

    Gave the show a chance and im as indifferent to it as the game, it doesn’t help one of the races seems to act like the twilight vampires.Theres some decent ideas but dealt with predictability, i would be surprised if there was as second season. Really want to see episode 3 now if it really *jumps the shark*.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Say hi to de fiancé for me.

  17. Bobka says:

    I might have had mild interest in this, but odds are by the time they drop the price significantly, they will either have shut down the servers or the player population will have dwindled drastically.

    If only they had made it a Fallout- or Borderlands-style instead of “Online Shooter!”

    • TigrisMorte says:

      show got renewed so, game is around for at least 2 more years. 60 bucks gets you tons of play. 33% of on steam well….

  18. killmachine says:

    if you’re looking for a third person mmo shooter, you should totally grab this if it’s on sale or if you know a trust worthy key store that sells it for 50% of retail. it’s totally not crap.

    i just played one of those arkfalls with like 50 other people around and it still was very much playable. the framerate went down a bit on my crappy old pc but there wasn’t any lag! i was very surprised. mechanically it was just stand around and shoot things but from the technical standpoint i was impressed.

    totally not crap but not blizzard’s upcoming titan. but there isn’t anything else on the market right now that does a better job than defiance in that genre.

  19. programmermike says:

    You wrote a 1700 word review of a game after playing only 2 hours of it.

  20. TigrisMorte says:

    “but mostly we just kept on firing at a big, static beehive for about ten minutes until it went pop”, well you were not doing anything then ’cause shooting the beehive does not actually cause any damage.
    This is an major arkfall. There are multiple types but other than shooting the crit points to stop the “beehive” from shooting radioactive goo at you or the arms from stomping the ground and sending you flying, you don’t shoot it. You shoot the hellion, either the “jack in the box” that pops up when certain goals occur or which flies out of the hive and starts to lay waste to all it surveys.

    yeah it is a “low investment” mentally but hell, what do you want? EVE?

    It is great fun.

    If you don’t spend most of your time driving around, leaping from your still moving vehicle to lay the smak on whomever scratched your paint, you’re doing it wrong.

  21. brodieman1138 says:

    I don’t hold RPS in a particularly high regard (they can’t even spell “what” correctly, and still have the nerve to call themselves journalists) but this is a new standard of low for them. Try doing a little research before writing an article.