I consider Defiance one of the more underrated online shooters of its time. A tie-in with the Syfy (ugh) channel’s post-apocalyptic space-western TV series, it offered open-world looting and shooting roughly on par with Borderlands, but with a greater focus on cooperative multiplayer and (in my humble opinion) better guns. Today, its much-touted relaunch – Defiance 2050 – was released as free-to-play, although those expecting a massive overhaul for the game might be disappointed.
Having played a few missions of this new release, I can confirm that this is still very much Defiance. Unless I’m missing something, practically everything from the original release does seem present and correct (TV tie-in-missions and all), plus all of the DLC being integrated. The biggest change is the introduction of a class system. Rather than have a single sprawling skill tree, players are broken up into four distinct roles – Assault, Guardian, Assassin & Medic – with their own smaller skill tree and more advanced classes coming as premium perks later down the line.
Less immediately obvious but still nice is some of the work they’ve done under the hood. While your mileage may vary, the game does run and look a little nicer than the original Defiance, and isn’t plagued by nearly as much pop-in as I remember. They also seem to be able to throw around more enemies at once, which the tutorial mission drives home by giving you a minigun with 9999 ammo and asking you to go to town on a massive swarm of expendable mutant soldiers.
As a returning player, I got to bring a few account-level perks (such as more character and inventory slots) over from my original account, but little else. I have at least retained a bunch of cosmetic outfits and a few vehicles (all of which have the same underlying stats), but everything else is reset to scratch. On one hand I’m sad to lose my preposterously huge arsenal of weaponry, but I’m curious to see how the game plays ‘fresh’ again after this re-balance.
So far, I’ve observed players both in-game and out are largely displeased with 2050, although from what I saw via in-game chat, much of that stems from expecting more of an overhaul to the game, rather than a re-balanced re-launch and server reset. Developers Trion Worlds definitely haven’t communicated that as well as they might have, especially considering the sequel-esque title.
Defiance 2050 is out now, free-to-play, and can be found on Steam and Glyph. The original Defiance is still available, and Trion Worlds have mentioned no plans to shut it down in the immediate future.