Friday, April 12, 2013

Defiance Gameplay Review

I'm playing Defiance, a massively multiplayer online third-person shooter by Trion Worlds.

The game takes place in San Francisco after an alien invasion, and ties in with the Syfy television series of the same name. There is a story-driven campaign with main missions, but you can also earn items and experience by completing side missions, challenges, and dynamic missions (like raiding fallen spacecrafts or rescuing allies under Mutant attack). Most missions take place in the main game world, so you can unknowingly assist allies by dispatching nearby enemy units. Defiance also features cooperative missions and competitive multiplayer (team deathmatch or a capture-the-flag mode) in instanced, isolated locations that are easy to jump in to once a server is filled (you can complete missions or explore while you wait). Like most MMO games, Defiance features decent character customization with several classes that determine your initial weapon loadout, and you get better with weapons you use over time. The interface is minimal, driven by hotkeys for items, a quick menu for matchmaking, a map with clear waypoints (as long as they aren’t clustered) and fast travel, and a circular menu designed for a gamepad. Controls are very typical for a shooter without cover (WASD to move, with separate buttons to aim, sprint, jump, crouch, and dive roll). Your loadout includes primary and secondary weapons, a grenade, a shield, and a vehicle that can spawn anywhere when needed. Weapons run the gamut from rocket launchers to machine guns to sniper rifles to shotguns, and you can break down unneeded items into resources or sell them to a vendor. New items can be looted from missions or purchased using real-world money. Your character is also given an ability (increased movement speed, cloaking, decoys, or more damage) and perks to enhance your characteristics. The combat is fast paced, and the AI enemies magically spawn and are very dumb, never putting up a challenge unless they severely outnumber you or have vastly superior weapons. You can self-revive (or have a nearby teammate do it), so death is rarely an issue. There isn’t much in Defiance that hasn’t been done before in countless other MMO games as the game lacks a truly unique standout feature, resulting in a solid but forgettable experience overall.