MMORPG Defiance Video Game Hands-on Review


I recently bought the video game Defiance, created by Trion Worlds and Syfy, and gave it a hands-on test. In this article I share my thoughts about the game and tell whether you should buy it or pass it up. Purchased my copy of Defiance during the Steam summer sale for about $13 USD.

System Requirements
Taken from Trion's official website.

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
  • At least 2 GB System RAM
  • Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz CPU or better
  • 512MB video card (NVIDIA GeForce 8600 class or better)
  • ATI Radeon HD 2900
  • Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics
  • DirectX 9.0c
  • DirectX 8.1 compatible sound card
  • Broadband internet connection or better
  • At least 15 GB free hard drive space (Download size is about 10GB plus the Update patch size)

Defiance Gameplay

I will say that once you pick the game up and start playing it is very fun once you enter the game. I love how low level new players don't feel like low level new players, they feel like everyone else in the game. I was able to jump into an Ark fall and I actually felt like I was helping the other players and making a difference.

After the first three days I made it in the top four Ark hunters after we finished the Ark fall and my name showed up in the ranking charts, so with a bit of skill and the right equipment you can jump right in and start kicking butt and taking names.

Driving and adventuring is a blast, and I loved exploring the world to see what it had to offer. The boundaries were very small, so if I wanted to use turbo and drive up and over the mountain instead of going around it I more or less could actually pull it off. I haven't come across many glitches in Defiance, the only one I can really think of is the melee attacks feel a bit clunky, and I came across another glitch where if I climbed a specific ladder at a specific location it would launch me hundreds of feet in the air and force me to respawn (a rare glitch), but other than that the game plays beautifully. I would compare its shooting and movement mechanics to be very similar to APB Reloaded in terms of how you run around, aim and shoot.

Most missions revolve around you having to defend an area against an onslaught of monsters, or kill something within a certain time frame. These missions can get repetitive, which is normally the case of most shooter games, but it does have a small bit of variety with the special story missions and the Multi-player Co-op missions. The story missions are the best because they really mix it up and add new gameplay features, such as driving a large truck to escort NPCs to a certain location while bandits stand on the side of the road to ambush you with rocket launchers. Or assaulting an old military base that has been overrun by alien terrorist to regain control and end their terror.

In my opinion the game shines the most when you do the story and actually playthrough it to unlock and play all of the game's content, otherwise you will be missing out on a large amount of key gameplay features.

Spontaneous Party and Co-op system

Defiance doesn't really have a team system, you just meet up and help each other, and everyone who works together in that area will get EXP for it. The game also has randomly generated quests that spontaneously take place; think of them like mini Ark falls. For example, I'm driving down the road and all of a sudden I see a camp with some soldiers walking around protecting some sick people. My EGO version of Cortana will come on and tell to me to assist the soldiers. All of a sudden some zombie things will come out and start attacking, if other players see this going on they can join in and help at any time without having to join a team or teleport into an instance area, it all happens right there on the world map. All the players that participate (Ark falls included) will get EXP and loot for helping out. I never have to spend hours looking for a partner because anyone in the area can instantly just jump in and become your teammate. If they help you, they get EXP for it and vise versa.

EGO Level up system and customization

The Level up system is not like other MMORPGs, instead it has an interactive EGO level system that awards you with points for exploring, helping team members, killing monsters, and even just driving vehicles. This means that leveling up isn't just about grinding and killing monsters, but more like a combination of events that add up to award you with levels. I have received several level ups just for driving around the world map and pulling off crazy jumps from the top of mountains. I somehow got to EGO level 80 just by doing a few missions and then adventuring the world to see what was over the closest mountain, and it was fun doing it!

The game isn't for everyone though. Competitive players will get bored fast and lose interest, but I'll get into that in a second. If you want to have fun you will need to just enjoy the game for what it is by hanging out with friends, chasing Ark falls, upgrading your gear, and exploring the Bay area to see what you can find. If you like Borderlands and third person shooter games, then you will most likely love this game because it has everything that the original Borderlands had plus more.

I really love the gun customization features and adding new stats to your weapons and how the parts actually show up on the guns. The gun system reminds me a lot of Borderlands Gun Matrix because it still has the gun manufacturers with randomized stats, plus you get to add extra parts to the gun to make it more unique and more powerful. The different gun types like Assault rifles, LMGs, SMGs, Shotguns, pistols, and sniper rifles all have proficiency stats on them so the more you use them the better you will be with that weapon and they will award you with special stats- such as reloading your gun faster or dealing a small bit of extra damage.

Completing Ark falls has its perks because it gives you money, experience, and Access codes; you use the latter one to open lock boxes to get special gear. For example, you need about 60 something access codes and about $3,000 to open up a rare high level lock box, so doing a lot of Ark falls will help you get there faster. When you open the lock box you will randomly get special high level gear and items.

The game doesn't operate like standard MMORP games because you don't get health potions or armor, instead you just get a Halo style Overshield and health bar, and you just buy new better Overshields (like Borderlands) to stay alive longer. Once your shield breaks you will die just as fast as a low level player. Buying bigger and better guns makes you stronger, and you use your EGO skill points to help you deal more damage, go invisible, or move faster. I actually built my character after Lilith from Borderlands by focusing my weapons on SMGs with elemental damage and melee attacks, and I just played my character exactly the same and I actually did pretty well; I thought that was pretty cool because I always wanted to play a male version of the Siren...


The game has a lot to offer, but I can also see how players can get bored with it. As I named above if you are a competitive type of gamer you can complete the game in just a few weeks and reach the max EGO level fairly fast. Shadow Wars and the Deathmatch battles feel like they are missing something and quickly get boring, I don't really know what it is but they aren't very fun. You enter the game disorientated, you run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to take over the nearest base in a game mode similar to Star Wars Battlefront, or Battlefield, and then before you know it you are dead. I tried playing the Deathmatch modes and Shadow missions several times but I just couldn't get into it.

In my opinion the game needs open world PVP to allow players to have the choice of becoming bandits and fighting each other to craft their own stories and have open world guild wars. Before playing Defiance I also played L.A.W. Living after War and Argo online, both had Open world PVP and it made the games fun, but they lacked everywhere else. I think that Defiance can take that same concept to create something amazing.

I know a lot of people aren't for PVP, so hopefully they will just give us one open world PVP server to let us play as Bandits to rob and kill other players. There are a lot of players that have stopped playing after a few months because they say there is nothing else to see or do, and without the competitive edge of open world PVP to keep them leveling up and getting stronger they just drop out and quit for good.

My Overall thoughts

I bought Defiance from the Steam summer sale for about $13 USD, and I must say that it was worth every penny. The game is fun, the music is great, the graphics are beautiful, and I could chase Ark Falls for months before getting bored with playing the game because I just really love the concept and world that the developers put together. In my opinion I actually like Defiance a lot more in comparison to Borderlands because it gives you more gun and customization options to build your characters the way you want (as named above, make a male Siren with a custom made SMG), and it also has a few more vehicles that you can buy and drive around which is a bonus.

I was also very surprised that the game isn't pay to win, most of the Cash shop items were character customization items, but there wasn't much in there that could give one player a huge advantage over another player. A lot of the Clothing gear in the Cash shop can actually be earned for free in the game by completing the story missions and pursuits.

So overall, yes I highly recommend that you at least give the game a try when it gets marked down at a cheaper price. Yes, the game has its flaws and they will need to do a lot of work before it is perfect, but the overall game is fun enough to keep the average player entertained for months on end and when you actually get in the game and start playing with friends you will have a blast chasing Ark falls and exploring the San Francisco Bay area.

Published by Ashton Usher

Ashton Usher is a long time musician with more than 15 years of musical experience. Ashton offers insight and opinions for video game guides, product reviews, and of course music tips and lessons. Ashton has...  View profile