Defiance impressions (PC)

I defy you, ants!

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Defiance has officially launched today and we’ve been playing all morning. I’ll let that sink in for you a bit, an MMO launched, on time (although Steam took a while to catch up and the launcher still says it isn’t actually open, but you can press ‘play’ and get in anyway) and it hasn’t crashed or caused massive lag problems. EA, Bioware and Blizzard should take note. Defiance is from Trio who brought us the excellent Rift, and will tie into a Syfy Channel show due to start fairly soon.

After the break we’ve posted what we’ve liked and disliked about the game so far, and we’ll be playing it throughout the day.

Like:

– The music. The music is repetitive and mind-numbing but it’s also weirdly awesome, as you plough through an abandoned building with an LMG, mowing down mutants left and right. It’s so fitting to the game its unreal, but it’s also garbage. So bad it’s good.

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-The shooting is far beyond anything I’ve seen in an MMO so far. There’s a real sense of feedback on your shots and each gun feels dramatically different. It doesn’t play like Rift or WoW or even Tabula Rasa, it plays more like a passable third-person shooter. That might sound almost like an insult, but for an MMO it’sd a huge leap forwards.

– The group systems. You want to play with your friend? just press a button and you can teleport to them instantly. Want to do a group quest? Just do it if there’s anyone else about and you’ll get full credit and so will they. You get your own personalised loot, there are large random open quests (very similar to Rift) and clans etc are already functional within the game.

-The link with the TV series. The TV series hasn’t even begun and I’m already recognising characters from the trailers. I’m assuming it won’t be a classic series but it is giving the universe a lot more depth and persistence. You get the idea things are happening without you, like in Lord of the Rings Online. If there really are crossovers between the show and the game moving forwards it could be really interesting.

-Weapon modding. The menus are awful at the moment but the fact that mods add a visual aspect to your weapons is pretty cool. All I’ve managed to add so far is a barrel to my LMG, but it’s got blood stains on it (somehow) and makes my gun stand out from the crowd.

-Gear options. The gear runs in an almost identical way to Borderlands, so anything other than your guns, grenades and shield are entirely cosmetic, allowing you to differentiate yourself from the masses should you wish, with no penalty to your stats.

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– Vehicles. You get given a vehicle within the first half an hour of the game, and that’s it, it’s yours to keep. You can gain others and they take up no inventory space (oddly) and the cooldown on it is so short, you’ll find yourself driving everywhere. Three hours into the game and I already have five vehicles, all with different stats thanks to some pre-order bonuses. The vehicles are also adept at running down mutants, which is nice.

-The enemies. You’re not building up from fighting rats in this, they throw you straight in at the deep end mowing down legions of mutants. You can get headshots and they will use some rudimentary AI to try and flank you at times. They’re much smarter than the average MMO enemy.

Dislike:

– The graphics. The whole thing looks like Fallout 3 without the style. The graphics are fairly weak, especially after we were treated to fantastic vistas with Rift. Here’s hoping they upgrade the engine with some fancy effects as they go.

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– The menus. The menus are complicated, picky, and require you to double click some things and single click others, and ‘escape’ doesn’t always take you to the screen where you can exit the game. Many of the options are labelled in unhelpful ways, to the point where actually modding a weapon took me a good twenty minutes to work out before I got it right. Things are often greyed out when you can actually use them too. There’s also a huge amount of numbers with no real explanation of what they mean, coupled with an unhelpful ‘help’ page.

-Friend options. As good as the grouping options are, you can’t add friends unless they are online at the same time as you. This is a significant problem and will hopefully be sorted out fairly quickly.

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-Boring quests. While the shooting is fun for now, within three hours I’ve already completed what is essentially the same quest ‘Go here, kill the enemies, push the buttons in three areas’ numerous times, Here’s hoping there’s a little more variety down the line.

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