Defiance, so far, is not a particularly great game. I don't think it's bad, but if I wasn't the kind of guy who impluse buys anything that is remotely classified as sci-fi I would not have bothered picking it up...for full price.
For those of you who do not know, Defiance is a new third person shooter MMO. What makes this 'unique' is that it is an MMO that can be played on consoles. Like DC Universe Online but also on the 360 and there is no Batman. Defiance exists in some weird world where it is technically based on a television show (that has yet to debut) but also is its own thing and characters from the show will be in the game and vice versa. I dunno. The show, from what little research I did, seems to take place in a border town and is a sci-fi western or something. The game takes place (so far, anyway) in Sausalito. Well it takes place in the Bay Area but it opens in Sausalito.
Because I am a fool I bought the 360 version. I figured if this was a console MMO why not play it on a console with a controller I am familiar playing third person shooters with. Outside of no one chatting (text or voice) it's totally playable. Left trigger aims, left bumper is power, right trigger shoots, right bumper is grenade. Simple.
Defiance is an MMO first and a third person shooter second. It is very loot-oriented as it should be. Like, say, Borderlands the game takes place in a sort of burned out wasteland (except this time it is Earth so I guess Fallout could be more appropriate) where you, as an Ark Hunter, run around doing missions, getting guns, and driving your car. You get your car/mount very early on which is great because the starting area alone is pretty damn large. You spend the first few levels fighting the skag equivalent (exploding bugs that also jump at you!) and mutant humans before having free reign to run around and do little challenges including racing because that's what MMOs need. Race mini games. Oh also you re constantly being talked to by a computer lady in white. Only she is voiced by Laura Bailey so it is like having Rise tell you to shoot things or where quests are.
There are also challenges like those that raised your Badass rank in Borderlands. Typical things like "melee x number of enemies" and the like. Just more ways to raise EGO.
I hesitate to say there are classes in Defiance. Rather there are four archetypes. Veteran, Outlaw, Engineer, and Survivor. Every 'class' has access to the exact same tree, here known as the EGO Grid. I picked the outlaw because the outfit looked the best. The only thing this did was start me off with a shotgun. So I've just stuck to shotguns. I chose the cloak EGO power so I can stealth around and shoot dudes with my shotgun that shoots three bolts of lazers at things. What I like about the EGO system is that they are geared to how you want to do things. Me I like shooting dudes in the face so picking cloak gave me access to such perks as "Critical hits (headshots) will refill some of your ammo" and "shooting dudes in the back will do more damage". It's kinda like FF12's license system where you have access to the whole board but you are locked out of shit until you get enough EGO points to unlock more parts of the grid.
The EGO thing is their level equivalent. Rather than leveling up, you get one EGO point and that will increase your power level which will let you equip higher tiers of guns.
I can make a Guild Wars 2 comparison because one of the main draws of Defiance are its Arkfall quests. Remember in Guild Wars 2 how sometimes as you were walking around there would be an event for all the players to help out with? Arkfalls are that. They are multi-tiered quests that pop up on the map. They start off fairly normally enough, shooting things with more health because it is designed for a bunch of people to do it, and they always end with a big boss fight. You don't have to accept these quests, when they happen an icon will pop up on screen pointing you to it.
It is rather cool to see a bunch of people just shooting at shit together, but this is the 360 and sometimes with all that shit going down the framerate gets...it gets dicey.
After the Arkfall ends you are rewarded based on how much you helped. In addition to Arkfalls there are just random quests that will pop when driving towards sidequests or main quests. As you are driving, Laura Bailey will say "hey there are some mutants in the area" or "hey you should help those medical people" and a little area quest will start. Totally optional.
My main gripe with the tracked quests is that you can only have accept one quest at a time. And they can be pretty spaced out in terms of where to go to get a quest so it would've been nice to, you know, be able to have more than one quest active at a time.
Another issue I have is that none of the guns (at least not yet- I am still in the starting zone) feel good to shoot. I roll with a shotgun and a pistol for the most part but neither gun feels like they do anything to enemies, probably because it is an MMO. For a gun that is supposed to wreck dudes up close, it sure does take way too many shots to kill anything other than a bug. That could easily change as I find better weapons.
On that note the shooting itself is kinda eh. It's sub Mass Effect 3 shooting and Mass Effect 3 wasn't a fantastic shooter. There isn't a cover system in Defiance, more of a "crouch behind a car but oh wait enemy bullets can still hit you oh well" system.
But all that said, I am kinda interested in digging into the game deeper. It is nothing if not ambitious. Plus it is the only other game besides Person 4 that I can pretend Laura Bailey is really in my head. Which I appreciate.