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View Full Version : Defiance Review: Premature Egolation



Mad Macallan
04-04-2013, 02:12 AM
This is my attempt at reviewing the game, since surprisingly the forums aren't littered with reviews. Too early to review a game, you say? Obviously, that's why I titled it premature. However, I've successfully beaten the main / episode missions, available dungeons, all varieties of side missions, etc. So I think I'm qualified to at least provide a "first impressions" version. Now that I've justified my balls off to accommodate the inevitable backlash, let's move on.

Concept / Setting

I'm not a sci-fi nerd. Let me make that very clear. When I think of shows or games based on sci-fi I immediately think bad acting, hilarious dialog, an absurd amount of blinking lights, and creatures based on a night of binge drinking and hallucinations.

That being said, the concept is a massive cliche. It's a post apocalyptic world. There's an alien race encroaching on the survival of the humans. Mutants. Zombies. I actually slipped into a coma four times writing that sentence. Josh Nolan is every snarky, white middle-aged, rugged, reckless hero from every sci-fi series ever.

The only way I can make that statement more blunt is if Borderlands had its own TV show and I could embed the entire season in this text window. But it doesn't. And I can't. So read that description again and fuel your rage instead. I can take it.

Gameplay / Controls

Despite my previous tangent pointing out how embarrassingly cliche I found the concept to be, the gameplay is just a whole mess of entertainment. Everything feels smooth and works the way it should work. Headshots are rewarding, gear is exciting, vehicles are a blast, and playing with friends makes all of that ten times more exhilarating.

The only complaint I have is that whoever designed the default key bindings either has an incredible sense of humor or never actually tried steering and holding shift at the same time for speed boosts. Q to swap weapons, E to perform an action, V to call your vehicle, 1 to activate your ability, and so on. Seeing as how I can actually hold an entire golf ball in one hand, this was just a cluttered mess in a centralized location. I have 124 keys on my keyboard, and they're not all located in the upper left corner.

Fortunately that can be changed, however, so no points lost there. I just found it terrible.

Sound

Assuming there are two different departments between sound effects and music, guess which one I'd fire and transfer those salaries to the other. Every time I went into battle I felt like I was listening to the soundtrack of a wacky shootout scene from Beverly Hills Cop.

The sound effects, on the other hand, are excellent. Hands down, my favorite sound in the game is the critical hit. It's got a nice fleshy thud that makes you feel like you made an impact. Hands down, my least favorite music in the game is all of it.

Combat

I've never enjoyed myself so much in an MMO. This is easily the saving grace. I can see beyond the fact that Trion clearly couldn't find a black voice actor for Coop, or I was done with the story mission in a day, or that if I wasn't it wouldn't matter because the servers have been down off and on for the last few days. I can even accept that the social aspect of the game is so bad I didn't even notice the guy calling me a ****** until he logged off, unscathed by my arsenal of witty retorts. Really, though, the combat is brilliant. It's refreshing and rewarding. It's one of the few times I'd actually be excited about helping someone bullet-face their way through a dungeon that yielded no rewards simply because I love shooting mutants in their mutated sacks.

Graphics

If you're still reading, congratulations. I haven't completely wasted my time. But you should know now that this is another category that suffers both from the good and the totally not even remotely good from my perspective, so don't expect this to slowly evolve into why I want this game to get me pregnant. You can stop reading now if you like, not that it matters. We don't even know each other. Especially if we were using in-game chat to communicate.

The graphics are acceptable. Some areas more than others. Outfits can be appealing and the cut scenes look nice. Models, textures, polygons, aliasing, or whatever the hell nerds say when they're talking about graphics are all fine. I didn't think the game was unattractive, but it also didn't melt my face with beauty. And I don't think that's the engine.

It's the lack of variety.

For the first 15 - 20 hours of the game, everything looks god damn identical. Lava? Snow? Forest? Etc? Sorry, no. If you don't like sprawling green landscapes littered with rocks and hills, you're going to be disappointed. All mines look identical as well, so don't expect that new dungeon mission to look like anything other than a set stolen from a b-movie sci-fi starring Crates McTechnology and Hallway McMetal. Given the art direction and the engine are solid, there's a lot of room for potential improvement here, but so far I couldn't keep track of what location / mine I was in because I stopped caring twenty minutes in.

PVP

I have no idea. I haven't indulged in this yet. But I hear you shoot people like in other games. I have nothing to say beyond that.

Social

Typically I like to go on long, verbose rants about crippling elements of any MMO, but I'm so dissatisfied and unimpressed with the implementation I won't bother. We all know it sucks. We all know Trion knows it sucks. We all know it'll get better in time. But just so I'm being constructive, here's a protip: steal a functional, familiar chat concept from any one of the hundred MMOs that do it well, and don't make the usability (UX/UI) professional in me have a f'ing aneurysm every time I try to use it.

Potential / Lifespan

The game is fun. Period. Redundant period. It'll grow, shine, and blossom into something awesome. While a few of the things I criticized will likely not change (the music, for one), a lot of it will for the better and alleviate my concerns. With additional content, patches, etc I can see it blowing up. The core gameplay and combat makes the game desirable - especially for people like me, that love the idea of skill being more important than rotations and cookie cutter builds. I'm a big FPS player as well, so it's convenient. Trion, in addition, is a stellar company with a good reputation. Rift was brilliant, although admittedly it didn't quite hook me the way other MMOs have in the past. But maybe because I'm getting older, more cynical, and my minimal requirement specs are going through the roof. Like my blood pressure every time I try to read chat.

Much love Trion, the players of Defiance, and everyone that will inevitably TL;DR this or tell me I'm a tool for not falling madly in love with this game like they did to justify spending $150+ on a video game.

See you in the game. Hopefully for a long, long time.

Mad Macallan

Monkerlotus
04-04-2013, 02:28 AM
Yeah I don't disagree with you in any major points, Graphics are where they should be to make it open to an mmo sized crowd.


I don't think the music itself is bad, but i find the short loop that it is made from should be... 3 minutes longer at least.. I muted music before reaching the end of the mt. Tam mutants story arc.

Social leaves a lot to be desired... However; I'm also very silent in general chat anyway, apart from "thanks" and "you're welcome" most of my communication is done via ventrillo and skype :) So I'm indifferent to the chat systems, VOIP needs improving, and a PTT function, but otherwise I'm ok with just local chats, cuts down on time /ignoring and increases time playing.

Dradallor
04-04-2013, 02:29 AM
Pretty nice/long review you did mate. And for 99% I agree, I like the game, and like the fact it has mad potential to become great. For now I just enjoy shooting randoms in the face and driving badass over the green hills ;)

Jack Johnson
04-04-2013, 02:36 AM
For the first 15 - 20 hours of the game, everything looks god damn identical. Lava? Snow? Forest? Etc? Sorry, no. If you don't like sprawling green landscapes littered with rocks and hills, you're going to be disappointed. All mines look identical as well, so don't expect that new dungeon mission to look like anything other than a set stolen from a b-movie sci-fi starring Crates McTechnology and Hallway McMetal. Given the art direction and the engine are solid, there's a lot of room for potential improvement here, but so far I couldn't keep track of what location / mine I was in because I stopped caring twenty minutes in.

Yeah... I feel you, which is sad. The world was terraformed by alien technology... terraformed = add some giant mushrooms to some areas and call it a day. It is better south of the golden gate bridge though (honestly I feel the game is just better south of the golden gate bridge, the story ramps up, enemies are bad ***** instead of random street punks with uzis, environments look better and more varied with some alien swamps, alien compounds, weird space geometry, and also major non-hellbug arkfalls which goes a which way towards reducing monotony, etc.)


I don't think the music itself is bad, but i find the short loop that it is made from should be... 3 minutes longer at least.. I muted music before reaching the end of the mt. Tam mutants story arc.

I like the music personally. I said to myself "I didn't know that dubstep could sound good".

Monkerlotus
04-04-2013, 09:52 PM
I like the music personally. I said to myself "I didn't know that dubstep could sound good".

Thing is, I already have a good dub step collection! But yeah i was impressed at first, but the looping of it just made my head hurt, sometimes the music should STOP PLAYING instead of playing forever... :p