It may not seem like it, but Defiance - the new MMO/action game from Trion Worlds (most famous for Rift and End of Nations) was one of 2013's most intriguing titles. The game made a lot of lofty promises - Defiance would finally bring a worthwhile MMO to consoles, and perhaps more importantly, it would create a complete immersive world in conjunction with the new Sci-Fi Channel series of the same name. They failed.
With Defiance, Trion Worlds fails to deliver on almost every promise they made during development. Yes, it takes place in the same world as the TV show, but don't expect much crossover from week to week. Even worse, Defiance is neither a good MMO, nor a solid action title. It may have its moments, but Defiance can only be viewed as something that could have been.
The general premise of Defiance starts with the soon to premiere show of the same name. In a nutshell, aliens are looking for a new home after their star system was destroyed, so they target the thought to be uninhabited Earth as there new pad. You can probably guess how those on Earth took this. War breaks out, aliens get punched in the face. You know the drill.
Where things get interesting is how the events of the show inspire the events of the game and vice-versa. Imagine a world where you see something happen on Defiance the TV show, and you immediately jump in to take part in the combat. That's the idea behind Defiance, but it's nowhere near the realization of the final product. You play as a random soldier who partakes in the fight, with characters and locations from the show popping up from time to time. Perhaps most disheartening is what even though the show hasn't technically debuted, the developers have seemed to give up on incorporating crossover events from the TV show into the gaming experience. In an interview with IGN, Trion Worlds said "content is relatively set now, because a lot of things have to be determined up front for creating game content or shooting a TV show. Tie-ins with the TV show when both go live aren't that many, but going forward, there'll be much more of the dynamic content and they will have a bigger effect on each other."
This would all be okay then if the game that was halfway decent in terms of gameplay right? Too bad then that Defiance fails to deliver on this aspect as well. Billed as a console MMO - Defiance merely goes through the motions and impersonates an MMO. Yes, you're playing with a lot of people online, in the same world at the same time, but there's no real teamwork to speak of. You see, you're allowed to take a partner with you into a number of battles, but only one of you needs to finish the objective to complete the mission, meaning that helping each other is not a necessity.
There's also no real class system in Defiance, as almost all characters are created and progress the same way. There's a static set of upgrades that are available, but there's no difference between playing them with one character or playing them with another. What this leads to is a sub par shooter with lackluster mechanics and no real reason to jump back in after you've spent some time with it.
Though it's made some improvements since the game's launch, Defiance is having major server issues, so a lot of gamers who decided to take the plunge into the game won't be able to. It took a while to write this review because I was constantly dropped out of games if I could even get in them in the first place.
I wanted to love Defiance. I wanted to tell you that it's the missing link between console gaming, PC gaming and TV. I guess I also wanted to convince myself. Defiance fails to deliver on almost every one of the promises that Trion Worlds made throughout its development. It's a lackluster MMO, a subpar action game and an even worse commercial tie-in.