A seductive blend of balls-out blasting and MMO co-operative action, Defiance plays like World Of Warcraft meets Borderlands. But while the conceit is enticing and it’s fascinating to see how the game is so intimately tied to the Syfy series of the same name, when the guns start blazing this post-apocalyptic battle for survival feels like it isn’t quite finished.
As with any MMO, criticising the game at such an early stage is unfair as server problems will hopefully be resolved over time, and Trion Worlds has taken great care to communicate with early adopters and assure them that all shortcomings will be addressed in the coming months. But, for now, playing Defiance is a chore as the game is riddled with bugs such as action buttons that refuse to work in the heat of battle, a recurring inability to log in to online sessions, and explosive firefights that regularly chug to a standstill when there are dozens of characters emptying their clips on-screen.
As an MMO that offers players a persistent world to explore, there are genuinely thrilling moments when you stumble on a dramatic group battle and choose to team-up with other human players, and this camaraderie is complemented by a series of brutal PvP options to sate your bloodlust. But as the action is staged in blurry, brown, boring landscapes that offer few visual thrills in the opening stages of the game, playing Defiance doesn’t feel like stepping into a brave new world, and could be any of the Identikit offline blasters that have cluttered the shelves in recent years.
Naturally, everything could change in the coming months, and future patches and new challenges inspired by the TV series could make Defiance one of the most rewarding and engaging shooters around. But as the developers battle to address post-release bugs, and the servers refuse to play nice, it’s hard to recommend this ambitious MMO as it currently frustrates more than it rewards.