Defiance: What is it, and what can it do for you? It looks like Borderlands but it’s not Borderlands, it looks like Planetside but it’s not Planetside. More importantly, there is a TV show involved as well.
Trion Worlds, developer of Defiance, originally pitched a project that was intertwined with a television series and of course a video game. Nearly five years later game is out and the series has premiered on the SyFy channel. The game also takes MMO elements from Trion Worlds’ other game Rift. Trion Worlds has called Defiance the “first interconnected video game and television series.”
Set in the ruins of San Francisco, the game places you in the boots of an Ark Hunter. To give a little background, the Votan arrived in 2013 and are comprised of several alien races who evolved in the Votanis star system. As history shows humans can barely get along with each other and that is stretching it. Ten years after arriving on Earth, the “Pale Wars” between the aliens and the humans began. Sometime after this, the Arks that held a large percentage of the aliens mysteriously exploded in 2030. This led to the “Arkfall” event that would forever change life on Earth. The terraforming technology in the Arks activated and began changing the planet thus making our once familiar home into an entirely new, alien planet. This event created new hybrid species from the uncontrolled terraformer tech. Even humans were affected by this as you’ll soon find out.
You begin the game on the New Freedom as an Ark Hunter for Karl Von Bach and after one thing leads to another you are on your own to uncover the mystery of not only what happened to your boss, but what happened to the planet before and after the Arkfall event. Within you is an EGO. An EGO is a sort of AI that helps you throughout the game with locations, quests, and other tasks. Along the way you meet Cass Ducar who is a fellow Ark Hunter and the two of you do jobs for the Earth Republic early on.
The gameplay is a lot like Borderlands with many guns available in the game and co-op strongly suggested. There are many types of missions you can do in the game ranging from main missions, side missions, episode missions, time trials, hotshots, and many more. The latter are missions with the two main characters from the television series Joshua and Irisa.
Your foes in the game early on are mutants and hellbugs, but mainly mutants. Sure, this sounds cheesy and like something out of Fallout but the mutants are really humans who were affected by the terraforming device during Arkfall. Now they are nothing more than bloodthirsty savages who take what they want by force and care little about who gets hurt in the process. They are difficult and at times can induce anger. They range from the mutant rifleman to the mutant grenadier, the latter of which is pretty damn tough in combat.
The shooting mechanics are alright for a TPS but they aren’t really the best. But considering the game world is large and expansive it was one or the other. You can outfit your guns with different mods depending on how many side missions you complete and once installed they make a real difference. With the EGO implanted within you, you have four abilities to choose from. They go from dashing toward your enemy to overcharging your gun and delivering increased damage. Surrounding each of the big four powers are minor perks that are expected in an MMO. Believe me, when you are going one on one with a mutant minigunner there is no better feeling than overcharging your assault rifle and taking the big guy down with time to comb your hair.
The big selling point of Defiance is its integration with the television series. While there are tie-ins with Joshua and Irisa appearing in the game there really isn’t much else so far. But there are plans to tie in the game and show better. After each new episode airs there will be new in game events relating to said episode. The downside is that once the next episode airs all events relating to the previous episode will be gone. This has made many people very unhappy. But with most things, time will tell how this works and if players will be as angry as they are right now.
Defiance is currently out on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the PC.