Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Stuart Richardson Reviews Defiance

Players take on the role of an Ark Hunter, a scavenger for hire scouring the San Francisco wasteland in Defiance
Another Votan bites the dust in Defiance.
As a third-person "massively multiplayer online" (MMO) shooter from developer Trion Worlds, Defiance transcends both genre and narrative boundaries; the plot runs concurrently with a TV series of the same name broadcast on the Syfy channel. It's a broadly interesting story concerning the struggle for survival on a near-future Earth ravaged by an inconclusive war between humans and an alien alliance called Votanssearch of useful relics from the decaying Votan fleet breaking up in low orbit. When large chunks of these ships fall to Earth at random intervals – events called Ark Falls – Ark Hunters rush to the scene to fight over the smouldering remains.
Initially, these moments seem to break up the more conventional grinding quests on offer, but anyone familiar with the repetitive nature of many MMOs will soon notice their character's story involves little more than moving between distant locations where something needs to be shot or blown up. That these MacGuffin objects sometimes fall from the sky is a gimmick with a short shelf life. Defiance isn't awful, but considering its bold narrative intentions it's disheartening to find an unexceptional game beneath the lofty ambition.

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