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Defiance First Impressions

I managed to get into a few of the closed betas for Defiance but honestly, it was something that never really caught my eye. I knew that it was going to be big and I knew that a lot of money had gone into the production of both the game and the TV series it links to, but it really didn’t appeal to me. I then got a bit of ‘over the shoulder action’ with a friend and was instantly interested in picking up a copy. One day after purchasing, and thirteen hours of gameplay later, here are my first impression.

I should probably give you a brief explanation of the concept of Defiance before I delve into the gameplay. It’s a game that is affected by a TV show and vice versa. There are weekly ‘Episode missions’ in the game that tie into, you guessed it, that week’s episode. On the flip side, there are events within the game that will affect how the TV show pans out. For instance, if an episode ended with a standoff between two armies,players could hypothetically continue that battle to see who would have won the fight. This would then affect the next episode. Simple - sort of.


The first thing that caught my eye was the distinct lack of MMORPG-ness this title included. A traditional game from this genre would have a set number of classes and races that you can choose from and include hotkey-based combat.Defiance, on the other hand, doesn’t include classes - instead, it has ‘origins’. The origin of a player affects nothing but the starting weapon and outfit. After that, a player can pick and choose their own abilities, weapons and outfits.

After leaving character customisation, you are brought into the world of Defiance; post-apocalyptic version of Earth, set primarily in San Francisco. As for why the Earth went apocalyptic is currently unknown. I can only hope that the TV series will shed some light on this. Here, you get your first taste of the combat system. Whilst there are other MMORPGs that don’t use hotkey-based combat, it’s still a fairly new concept to me and took a bit of getting used to. I kept going to press ‘2’ to cast a spell and, obviously, failing. The only hotkey that is used (other than ‘G’ for grenade etc.) is your special ability.


You select this early on in the game from four potential abilities thanks to the Environmental Guardian Online (EGO) system that is injected into every Ark Hunter. From what I can tell, you cannot change your core ability once it’s been chosen. You can, however, upgrade your core ability and unlock small abilities using EGO units. You are given one of these units every time you ‘level up’. I say ‘level up’ because you don’t really level up other than receiving an extra EGO unit. Your main ‘level’ is displayed through EGO rating which is increased through various different ways including leveling up your weapons/vehicles, ‘leveling up’ (getting your XP bar full), completing challenges and destroying Arkfalls.

Arkfalls are chunks of alien ships that crash down from space, containing valuable technology. They are dynamic world events that require players to come together and assist each other in destroying. Arkfalls also attract enemies to stop your destruction of them, so it’s not exactly an easy task. To defeat these Arkfalls, you’re going to need both weaponry and vehicles of the apocalyptic nature. Luckily, Defiance has both! There are a range of different vehicles including quad bikes, dune buggies and Dodge Chargers to help you drive around the ~10KM squared map. It looks like there are other areas of the map currently greyed out which could potentially be unlocked in the future as the TV series progresses.


Weaponry comes in your expected variety from pistols to sniper rifles and from assault rifles to grenade launchers. There are a few unique weapons from alien descent which infect your enemies or heal your allies - you know, the usual. Most weapons can be upgraded by applying mods that are either bought or found - a very nice touch if I do say so myself. You also have a Borderlands 2-esque style of powers on some weapons such as guns that set enemies on fire or increase melee damage.

Come to think of it, a lot of Defiance reminds me of Borderlands. It’s sort of like an enhanced MMO version and I love it. I can only hope that the TV series lives up to the expectations that the game has set so far and that the crossover features work as expected.

Kaostic | 15th April, 2013
Ewok's picture
I am loving this game. A fair few of us GameGrinners have a copy so I would recommend people pick it up and join us for a game sometime.

Username: Ewok
Kaostic's picture
Username: Kaostic
Emseypenguin's picture
I thought the same Kaostic, that it was similar to Borderlands, with a swatch of Fallout 3 in there for good measure.

I have to say, this is the first shooter I have ever enjoyed, and is a really good game.

If you fancy joining up my username is (you guessed it) : Emseypenguin
Kaostic's picture
Yeah, I'm loving it so far
Can't wait for the show to launch tomorrow
HarrieSilver's picture
Kris just kindly bought this for me my username is: HarrieSilver (i think)
Benneb's picture
Giving it a go.

Username: Benneb
Ewok's picture
At this rate we'll be starting a clan soon

Seriously though, I can see myself playing this for some time. I'll be on tonight, but gonna solo some story missions. Might catch ya'll at an Ark Fall though :P.
Kaostic's picture
I made one earlier..

Few things that annoy me about it but only small things.
Dead Alive's picture
I think I might end up getting this. May get it at the end of the week if thoughts are still overall positive on it.
Emseypenguin's picture
You should DA for suresies
Hairy's picture
Cpt. Tight-arse(me) is considering it, need something to do in the evenings rather than keep falling asleep
Ning's picture
Im also playing, although sucky interweb here has now delayed due to update...

But without giving too much away, it hasnt crossed over yet from the tv episode i watched.. ??

Have i missed something..

P.S. Think my name is Ning on game, either that or Ningmaster..

Cya in game, ill be the girl with overly proportioned chest
(i.e. every game i play)
Kaostic's picture
No, no more episode missions yet.

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