Defiance: Good Concept, Bad Execution

When I laid my eyes and lent my ear to all the hype surrounding Defiance, I was impressed. It was an ambitious concept that brought together a lot of elements together and concentrated on the marriage of these elements. A massively multiplayer, huge world; combination of RPG and FPS, just like Borderlands; A parallel TV series that will run along the game; and I was totally impressed.

However, at the back of my mind, there was a lingering thought, a possibility that, given that the game was coming from Trion Worlds, a master in MMO field given its last product ‘Rift’, had a slight chance of occurring. What if the marriage of these elements was too much and it failed? The entire game would collapse and we would have nothing out of a brilliant concept. Unfortunately, despite my finger crossing and all sorts of voodoo, the worse happened.

Divorce, Before It Even Started

As a concept, a lot has gone into Defiance. The touted marriage of MMO, RPG and FPS elements and a support from the TV series on SyFy network is no regular feat in the conceptual stage. However, as for the implementation, much is left to be desired. The marriage fails and ends in a divorce, just because each of these elements have been positioned together but not melded into each other. They feel disconnected and this leads to a sub-par execution.

Just don’t get stuck in the signboard!

While the massively multiplayer part is alright, there are too many bugs to prevent you from enjoying it. Vehicle rides are messed up by random obstacles popping up in the middle of the game; your fellow ark hunters are suddenly stuck in middle air, unable to do anything; maps suddenly crash and reload in co-op mode; and several other such bugs. The marriage of RPG and FPS is too much like Borderlands. While that is not something to complain about, the game sorely lacks the wit of the stunner from Gearbox software and is nowhere close to it. All in all, it feels as if Defiance could have done something better with this instead of making it too much like BL.

For a game that is supposed to be played in conjunction with the TV series, it sorely lacks on the writing part. The dialog among characters of the game is too plebian and severely lacks panache. While it is a sin to compare Defiance with Borderlands 2, the likeness between the two makes you miss the witty communication and movement of the story in BL. While the cross-media experience is definitely there, it is not that well tailored and lacks homogeneity.

That’s one arkfall I am not forgetting for a LONG time!

It seems that every aspect of Defiance, every fun moment and every good fight has a ‘but’ attached to it. For instance, the random events of arkfalls, where debris from an outer space war fall onto our planet and call players and natural forces, like mutant bugs, towards it, resulting in a fulfilling showdown, is quite fun, BUT there are too many buggy experiences in these. I definitely had fun in these arkfall events, more fun that I have had in my entire run in the game till now, but multiple times the experience was overshadowed by persistent bugs and issues.

Here’s the Fun Part

While Defiance is not what it could have been, like every other game, I loved some parts of it. I just had to train myself to see beyond the glaring problems in the game. Once I was able to do that, the massively multiplayer fun began to kick in. The co-op missions were fun, the arkfall events definitely made me have a really good time and the guns, oh yes, they deserve a special mention. The weapon system of Defiance is formidable and you are blessed with innumerable guns and firing modes. Plasma guns, guided rocket launchers, grenade launchers, you name it, you got it.

Some Guns, Some Levels

Being a massively multiplayer, your game overlaps with other players around the world, adding an angle of unpredictability into the mix. I have experienced some instances where I deviated from my regular story path, went into a random, badass fight going in the vicinity and cherished it throughout the game. Such instances are not few but many, and these keep the fun aspect from detaching.


As For the Rating

Defiance is more of a miss than a hit for me and I will always remember it as wasted potential. The only thing that can resurrect it is the fixing of bugs and ironing out the issues in the months to come. If that happens, Defiance will go down as an addictive multiplayer game with an amazing concept in the history of gaming, even a precursor to something great in the future. As of now, I will give Defiance a 6.5 and will brood on how beautifully this could have been implemented. Oh Trion Worlds, if only!
We would love to hear your thoughts on Defiance and how your experience in the game has been so far. Give us a shout in the comments section below! It is time for me to scramble, and, until the next time, happy gaming!


A Massively Multiplayer Online FPS + RPG