I've been dabbling in Trion's Defiance for months now, in the alpha and beta tests, and over that time I've seen it make a lot of progress in terms of playability, polish, and engagement. There's a lot riding on this multi-platform title from Trion Worlds and SyFy. A joint venture and hybrid between TV show and MMO-shooter, it's safe to say that if they don't sell a lot of boxes and see a lot of viewers when the show launches both companies will feel left out to dry. Later on this week I'll begin our review in progress articles (a series of 3-5 pieces leading up to a final review), but today being the game's official launch across Xbox 360, PS3, and PC I just wanted to briefly talk about my first couple of hours with the final product. If you want a good idea of what the game's all about, you can watch our exclusive developer livestream here. For transparency, I'm reviewing the game on PC, with a digital deluxe code provided to me by Trion Worlds.
THE WORLD IS FILLED...
Both with people and cars and ATVs. It's like the apocalypse never happened there's so much traffic. The screen below shows what your first screen past the tutorial will probably look like. When Trion ninja powered-on the servers in the NA regions last night, the locusts swarmed. There sure were lots of clones milling about, all wondering what to do next. This actually makes for an interesting first few moments in the game proper. You see, mobs in Defiance all scale based on how many people are around them. Suddenly the first mutants you'll face will take dozens of shots to drop, which wouldn't be so bad if people weren't just standing around looking through their UI. Luckily, this is an issue that will resolve itself as people spread about. Just remember, don't be that guy who stands there and makes mutants impervious monsters: freaking shoot something.
I've done the initial missions so many times now through the beta and alpha that I could not wait to get them finished. One thing I noticed this time however is that the final Voiceover and cinematics are far more polished and interesting than they were the last time I watched/listened to them weeks ago. This isn't surprising as that sort of thing is usually topped off near launch. In fact, overall the visuals in Defiance seem to have all received a much needed layer of polish. The lighting, effects, motion-blur, textures... they all seem to be in a better place. Defiance still isn't as pretty as say Planetside 2 or Dust, but it looks good on high settings.