Defiance Impression: Defiantly Average
Note: This impressions piece was written based on the newbie experience through Mount Tam. Further impressions pieces will cover later experiences.
Defiance sure is a third-person shooter.
If that statement seems a little lackluster, it’s because Defiance didn’t inspire anything more exciting. My first week in Defiance has been fun, don’t get me wrong. Shooting enemies in the face, ranking up weapon skills, and running around doing open-world missions will always provide me with some measure of entertainment. It just fails to create the kind of addiction and obsession that an MMO should.
Platforms: PC (Reviewed), PS3, Xbox 360
Developer: Trion World
Publisher: Trion Worlds, Syfy
Released: April 2nd, 2013
Defiance (the game) is the story of an Ark hunter – you – seeking to uncover the secrets of the Arks and make a fortune in the process. Unfortunately for you, those Arks tend to be falling from the sky and colliding very loudly with the ground. On top of that, botched alien terraforming has made the environment go haywire, saddling everyone with nasties such as mutants and overgrown alien wildlife. Despite all of this, you seek your fortune, both to aid those around you and to make a quick buck.
I realize that sounds a bit generic, but that’s because the starting area of Defiance isn’t particularly unique. It’s chock full of literary tropes and stereotypes, from the renegade punk woman to the gruff-but-good military commander. I stopped paying attention to what was going on shortly after I completed the tutorial, partly because of this proliferation of tropes and partly because the game takes forever to actually go anywhere. I’m also not particularly fond of the characterization. The first character you genuinely meet – an alien wanderer – changes tone and personality at the drop of a hat. She’s the worst example, but every character exhibits these tendencies to some degree. Nobody can stick to a single personality.
As for the tie-in to Syfy’s show of the same name, I’ve only encountered the two main characters – Nolan and his companion – so I can’t say much on what comes later. The only time I really interacted with them was a glorified tutorial to the Arkfall system (the one true brilliant aspect; more on it later). One thing to note, though, is just how detailed Nolan is compared to all the other NPCs. It’s unnerving, and almost breaks with the art style of the game in how realistic they tried to make it.