Defiance screenshot
Defiance screenshot

Like the vast majority of games that give you the opportunity to customise your character, Defiance’s beard options are rubbish. The only halfway decent/ridiculous looking one is a mutton chop combo that makes your character look like he should be drinking gin and getting into fights in a 19th century pub. Everything else is typically dull, and you can’t give your character a giant Alan Moore beard (Alpha Protocol is still the only game with decent beard options), which surely is what everyone would like to do isn’t it?

Anyway Defiance isn’t a beard simulator unfortunately. It’s a massively multiplayer third person shooter set in the universe of a new TV series coming out next week on the Syfy channel that looks a bit like Farscape crossed with Deadwood, without all the excellent swearing. It deals with a new Earth a few years from now that’s been accidentally reshaped by idiot Alien visitors that dropped their terraforming technology. This, obviously, caused all sorts of mutations in the local wildlife, leaving Earth looking and feeling alien. Insert gratuitous ‘a bit like (home town)’ joke here.

Your character is an ark hunter, someone who pilfers knackered alien ships of their technology for cash and you’re on a top secret mission under the orders of one Karl Von Bach. Given that he’s got von in his name and he’s a bit of a conceited goon, it’s a good bet he’ll be a baddy. Anyway, you can choose between a human and an Irathient, one of the alien races in the series, as well as your character’s origin, and then you’re away to shoot, loot and blow up anyone that looks at you funny. Defiance is obviously hugely ambitious (it’s been in development since 2008) but it’s hard to see anything special about it after an initial few hours.

Defiance screenshot

A lazy comparison would be to a third person Borderlands, as you make your own way around the environment, which admittedly looks pretty swell, all strange fauna and crumbled buildings, even though it’s YET ANOTHER post-apocalyptic jaunt through bandit land. You’re given objectives by the same military commander with a buzzcut that’s turned up in every game with guns and soldiers, and he’ll tell you to go and take out certain enemy factions or blow up caches or pilfer medical supplies. It’s all pretty ordinary, but not a total washout, as running around shotgunning enemies is enjoyable enough, even if they are incredibly stupid. After an hour or two you can summon a vehicle at any time, so there’s no tedious lugging about the environment. It’s not easy either, and if you play like a dunderhead you’ll get overrun quickly.

It’s early days yet, and it’ll doubtless be subject to a vigorous patching, as it definitely still has some issues to tussle through such as lost connections and occasionally dicky controls, but there may be something here, given repeated play. Everything depends on whether or not the TV show and its universe catches on too (perhaps they should have waited ‘til that was out and spruced it up a bit? Who knows). Will it be a Star Wars or a Space Precinct? A Battlestar Galactica or a Battlefield Earth? It’s all a bit up in the air for the Defiance game at the minute.

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User Comments

pinkzucchini's Avatar


This is a pretty good article about the Defiance t.v. show. The game is supposed to influence what happens in the show, in case anyone was interested.

even the show wasn't really that well received.
Posted 19:47 on 06 May 2013
Lakoma's Avatar


Does anyone know a way to get the instructions made clearer? It's really difficult to read the mission info on my tv, and I'm not sure if it's the game or the television I'm using. I play on the Xbox 360 if that matters.
Posted 02:03 on 05 May 2013
MrGloomy's Avatar


Is anyone playing the game on the PS3? If so, join my campaign of carnage usually using the awesome grenade launchers. I'm really enjoying this game, I must dmit. I love my sci-fi and the game really does feel like a 3rd person Borderlands. It has it's issues (several dozen really), but I can't help enjoying the ride. My EGO is at 507 so far but I see that I will be putting a lot more time into it. I do think the in game purchases are well over priced though and the menu system needs some thorough detailing as there a lot of options and functions that are very well hidden. I haven't joined any clans or anything, as I'd rather join with people on my friends list but I'm hopeful for the future of the game.
Posted 08:42 on 15 April 2013
Njeezy's Avatar


I'm thoroughly enjoying how the story (so far) doesn't take itself too seriously, or at least it doesn't appear to, some of the missions have been a very good challenge too, the optional co-op is brilliant, especially when you are struggling with a mission and another player turns up and you both develop an unspoken alliance for a little while.

failed a arkfall today, we couldn't kill the third big gun by hitting it's heat sink, i think this particular event might take some trial and error.
Posted 09:40 on 14 April 2013
MrRevelation's Avatar


Personally I feel the word 'Potential' sums up Defiance perfectly. On a technical level I feel the game mostly disappoints and is nothing but average at best and at times worse. However although the content seems repetitive, the overall experience feels unpolished and the core game mechanic is simple; I'm actually really enjoying the experience. Combat is simple, yet fun. PVP is unoriginal and lacking in variety, yet enjoyable. And the leveling/gun system is refreshing.

I feel that with time, patches, development and player feedback, Trion can make this title into something truly wonderful that stands up against the MMO giants.

My fingers are well and truly crossed!
Posted 00:31 on 14 April 2013
Endless's Avatar


The PC version you can play with a pad, there's even an option in the settings to switch all the UI to show 360 controller icons. It was definitely built for console first imo.

I haven't come across any of the lack of players people mention, they're all over the place and easily 30+ players at every arkfall event I attend. I am very much an FPS-lite kinda person though and so far I actually quite like the acting and the story; Though i'm not that far into the story, just met the Lawmaker. I could see how people used to the engagement of other mainstream FPS and MMOs might feel it's lacking. But it has this deeply compelling sense of urgency to cleanse the planet, rescue everyone and fully develop all your perks and weapons. Plus there's always that 'borderlands' factor of the search for a better weapon.

I'm kinda with FM on this, I have GW2 if I want depth and engagement, but Defiance is much more accessible and easy to just pick up, play from between 5 minutes to however I want. Usually the latter. Whereas with GW2 I need to have a rested mind and a lot more time on my hands to participate.

Defiance is mad, manic and fun. I hope it develops a little bit more from what I have at the moment, some of the perks lead me to believe it does.
Posted 23:28 on 13 April 2013
Njeezy's Avatar


My version is 360 too, it seems like it was made with controller play in mind, and it's extremely easy to just sit back and lose 2 hours of your life galavanting around doing the odd mission, arkfall or dynamic event.
Posted 20:29 on 13 April 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar


I should maybe re-emphasise that I'm playing this on the 360. On PC I have Guild Wars 2, but when it comes to MMOs I've got this thing for grinding in comfort, laid back, feet up, cat across my legs - so whilst Guild Wars 2 is undoubtedly a much more polished, refined, better looking and deeper game, Defiance wins every time just because of how I can play it.

If I had Defiance on PC I'd probably hate it with a passion as I'm useless with keyboard and mouse.
Posted 14:08 on 13 April 2013
BC_Animus's Avatar


This game IMO borrowed a lot of elements from games like Tabula Rasa and Fallen Earth, but meh not nearly as good as any of the games it draws its inspirations from. Like I said previously the game is not bad per say, but definitely not a great game.

The world and its characters are flat and uninspired. The missions repetitive and mindless. The weapons system has potential, with a large number of weapons with mods that you can customise them with - however most of the weapons handles very similarly, plus the game doesn't really do a very good job explaining a lot of the weapons and the mods. Have to say too most fights require very little actual skill, and I find that a lot of the encounters tend to be so frantic that most deteriorate quickly into random spamming.

Douchebags in vehicles don't help either - I keep bumping into these asses who would drive around in their trucks, stealing all your kills for the small encounters, or, in the bigger encounters pushing the mobs all over the place making it impossible to aim, even if you want to.

I'm already finding a lack of players in some of the public encounters too (ie. arkfalls). Two nights in a roll I fnd myself trying to solo a few of these things, which is one of the main problems I have had in other MMO's PQs in the past.

Still, I have a thing for alien women, and I think Cass has a soft spot for me, so... I'll keep playing for now and see how things go. Btw Mia Kirshna's gonna be on the TV show. Had a crush on that gal since The Crow: City of Angels. Hope they screen that show in NZ.
Posted 13:23 on 13 April 2013
Catterick's Avatar


Bit the bullet and used my 25% off GMG code to get this the other day. First impressions are somewhat underwhelming. AI is dumb as hell, missions are run of the mill go-here-kill-this, and the vehicle handling is like a throwback to the 90s.

I'll stick it out for a while as I think the game probably opens up and becomes more interesting in the mid-late game, but from the little I've played so far it's a lot like Firefall but not as fun :(
Posted 10:16 on 13 April 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ Endless

Originally Posted by Endless
FM: How much of the skill grid do you have unlocked at that lvl of EGO?

Weapon skills? Hardly any, most of them are 1-5, one of them is at 6 I think.
I got my Roller skill to 20.
Goals/Pursuits? I'd estimate about 5% of them done.

The rest of it is driving around in little circles and doing the little dynamic events whenever they crop up in front of me and Ark Falls whenever one pops up nearby.

And lots of co-op instances :) I've still got the main story mission to complete too.
Posted 02:29 on 13 April 2013
MrRevelation's Avatar

MrRevelation@ FantasyMeister

Just a big thanks for the Defiance section you created on the forums. I was highly skeptical of Defiance, I usually don't enjoy any type of MMO, but I'm actually loving Defiance. In fact I'm enjoying the experience so much that I have forgiven Defiance for it's many flaws and instead just been consumed by it's addicting positive features.
Posted 00:33 on 13 April 2013
Endless's Avatar


Saw a player with the title 'Steam Powered' earlier, I was under the impression that Steam servers would be separate from regular PC servers, but that would lead me to believe not!

I have to say i'm really enjoying Defiance and can't wait for the TV show to start. I'm barely over 130 EGO and already considering what combination of perks I might go for. I'm not sure if there realistically is a limit to your EGO unlocks, given you have no levels to cap out on. So i'm hoping that eventually i'll be able to unlock and power up everything, then I can just tailor my build however I like. but I expect thats a long loneg road.

FM: How much of the skill grid do you have unlocked at that lvl of EGO?
Posted 23:43 on 12 April 2013


Adding my voice to those enjoying Defiance. Servers are far more stable now and Ark Events are great fun. Only 7 hours clocked up so far, though.
Posted 21:48 on 12 April 2013
Njeezy's Avatar


wow FM my ego rating is only 250ish, i gave the shadow war a go today it's actually quite fun.
Posted 20:48 on 12 April 2013

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 02/04/2013
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Genre: MMO Shooter
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 18,034 37
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