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Defiance: The Fate of the World (and the Show) is in Your Hands
Company: Trion Worlds

Back at E3 2010, the project was simply referred to as a joint project between Syfy and Trion Worlds. When E3 2011 was upcoming, it was one of my most anticipated titles, but still the details were few and far between. At E3 2012, a bit more was revealed and I couldn't wait to experience this dark future world and see just how the game and television show would be interdependent.

Well, I played in the beta and betas are betas, so of course there were some rough edges, but what I played was fun and showed great promise. I still don't know how the game will change the television series' story (or vice-versa), but that should be revealed soon; the game launched on April 2nd, but the two-hour pilot of the television show has recently aired.

Player Vs. Environment

Unlike most MMORPGs out there, the gameplay (at least in the beta) is all PVE (Player versus Environment). Instead of choosing from two (or more) factions, you choose from two different races, two different sexes and four different classes - all on the same side. According to one of the trailers, it seems that there will be opportunities for Player versus Player gameplay, but I didn't get to try that out in the beta.

There are four different classes: Machinist, Survivalist, Outlaw and Soldier, but everyone has the same profession, which is built into the storyline: you are an Ark Hunter working for Von Bach Industries and, as such, you've been artificially enhanced with the addition of EGO - a nanotech-based system complete with onboard HUD-style companion - and your goal is to seek out and secure alien technology at Arkfalls, where it literally falls from the sky - but not without some nasty aliens who want to hold onto it.

Players who are familiar with Trion Worlds' fantasy MMORPG, Rift will find the Arkfalls similar to Rift's namesake, as these events are engagements that can occur anywhere and are designed for multiple players to take on at the same time. In this respect, Defiance feels a bit like a science-fiction version of Rift. Since everyone is on the same side and these Arkfalls are a primary objective of the game, expect to see a mad dash of players to any new Arkfall when they occur, be it on foot or on quad cycles or Dodge Challengers or Chargers. When you're not running off to an Arkfall, however, there are also speed trial challenges and races using these vehicles and achieving Gold ratings on the challenges open up access to more advance vehicles.

Weapons Modifications

Weapons that can be modified are popular with tweakers, like myself. I can spend a lot of time upgrading and modifying weapons (or, in fantasy games, enchanting them) in various ways to get them to do the most damage or to behave in the way I want them to, even in games with relatively simple modification options.

Defiance: Unique Weapons and Modifications Trailer

Defiance, however, has a very impressive assortment of weapons with a staggering amount of variety, from the original features of the weapons to the various changes that can be made to them with the use of modification slots. Different weapons that you come across are color-coded and ranked based on their value, which is greatly driven by the number of modification slots they posses; purple weapons, for example, are relatively valuable with multiple slots that allow you to upgrade and tune your weapon to alter things such as the rate of fire, the recoil or the firing pattern. For a glimpse of the weapon variety, check out the video above.

Starting Classes

I found Machinist to be my favorite class, primarily based on appearance, but he seemed to be more of a "thinking man's" class, rather than a strong fighter type. However, it seems that the classes primarily affect your appearance and starting weapon.

I also settled in pretty nicely to the sniper rifles and found a few places that I could stay safe and a bit above-it-all, while dishing out some judicious vengeance and occasional assistance to other players from on high. There's nothing quite as rewarding as a clean headshot from a long distance, and that's true in Defiance as it is in most games that feature sniper rifles.

However, other than personal preference, the starting class doesn't seem to have a lot of influence over the game, so just choose what looks the best and roll with it.

Interconnected Storylines

The most novel aspect of Defiance is the fact that the game and the television series aren't just made based on the same intellectual property - they're supposed to be intertwined and co-dependent. Events in the television series shape events in the game and events in the game are supposed to affect the storyline of the series. I'm not sure how this will be achieved, exactly, but it's novel, and quite innovative, if they can pull it off. The pilot episode has aired, as of this writing, but Syfy is rebroadcasting the pilot episode a whole bunch of times, so check your local listings if you missed it, and jump into the game to play the Episode 2 missions before the show airs.

I found Defiance to be fun - with or without the gimmick - and doubly interesting because of it. If a science fiction MMO shooter with its own television series isn't enough to get you on board with just a preview, check back with us for a full review.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins
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