8 Overall Score
Strong story and narrative with interesting skill development system and great graphics
You hang too long when you jump
This week we took some time out to try the first person sci-fi shooter Defiance from Trion Worlds (Trove, ArcheAge, Rift), a futuristic action-based shooter MMORPG set in a post-apocalyptic/post alien invasion Earth where we as renowned “Ark Hunters” are responsible for seeking out the technologically advanced Ark Tech as mercenary style scientists. The game coincides with the events occurring in the SyFy Channel TV show of the same name, with crossover characters making their appearance in the game as well as many of the themes and storylines that are unfolding with each season.
Having never played the game nor watch the show it was interesting to see how up to speed the game developers would get us on the games lore, often a difficult task for any non-franchise games that has an extensive background and fan base already. Fortunately with the character backgrounds revealed during character creation and the extensive cut scene leading you into the tutorial there is a nice gentle flow of information revealed so as not to overwhelm players but to make them feel adequately supplied and prepared for stepping into this relatively new world.
First impressions were that the graphics look pretty modern and up-to-date, always good to see for a free to play game and in fairness has become more and more expected (unfortunately not everybody delivers), similarly with music, special effects and sound. The controls are pretty standard with nothing overly complex, though the physics on the character jumping felt like they hung in the air a little too long, small things though.
Our adventure begins straight after the cut scene (no spoilers) and we are guided through a relatively simple tutorial type starter area being guided by our EGO (Environmental Guardian Online), which is pretty much a virtual projection of a character that gives you tips, advice and is the ideal source of exposition to push forward the narrative and acts as your primary quest giver.
Is in the area everything was pretty much one hit key level, aiming wasn’t particularly difficult with our pistol or our sniper rifle (no scope bob when zoomed in) and we were quickly moving through the area looting weapon cachets to stock up our load out arsenal including a couple of grenades.
Our equipment recovered will guided by EGO on our primary EGO skill, letting go is test run a few options such as Cloaking (turn invisible), Overcharge (extra damage), Decoy (makes a virtual version of ourselves to distract enemies) and Blur (lets us move quickly and take people down with a melee attack). From here we got to choose which of the four skills we wanted by putting points into the skill tree, in many ways choosing our roles/class, but all the abilities and various skills are connected together in a grid so players can make their way towards other primary EGO skills and pick up extra ability skill nodes on the way. Quite instance system and a nice break away from the typical class-based skill trees, opening a lot more variety and potential for hybrid/unique templates.
Geared up and trained we were directed into a compound of mutated humans, tasked with gunning them down mercilessly like the freakish abominations they are! The respawn rate in the area was pretty rapid with enemies popping up quite quickly after killing them, though the area is a public starter zone so from time to time you do see other players in there. The enemy forces ever-growing we were tasked with overcharging a generator to try and blow the entire base, supported by an unlikely ally that we had picked up along the way that have helped is out when we first “arrived” in the zone. Upon completion we were greeted with a little cut scene, departing words from our companion and then sent off to the new area.
All in all the game looked and played great from our small playtest/first look, the pace of the game and the introduction of the story felt good and the systems whilst having a slightly different take in comparison to other shooter’s MMORPGs, was still familiar enough to be picked up easily. Is the game worth a try? We’d say yes, it definitely felt like a promising start and would be worth checking out further.
If you want to know more about Defiance, click on the "Info" button below.