I sit down to write this review with a heavy heart, my friends, because I’ll admit I had rather high hopes for this game. Defiance is a third-person shooter/MMO that was intended to create a great deal of hype for the just-released SyFy series of the same name. However, as tends to happen with gimmicky side-by-side releases, the game itself is bland, uninspired, and repetitive. I could rattle off a host of other unpleasant adjectives, but the bottom line here is that I found myself coming up with excuses not to play this stinker.
The game starts out promisingly enough, with a cut scene whose voice actors sounded like they knew what they were doing, and writing that felt real and engaging. This may have been due to the novelty of playing a brand new game, which is always exhilarating to some degree, but the good times tapered off in a hurry. In truth, it’s a shame – I really enjoyed the initial immersion into the story, a fact that perhaps bodes well for the TV show, but like a quick and brutal deficit for your favorite sports team, my sense of well-being disappeared almost as soon as I’d started playing.
The first problems I encountered popped up during the creation of my character, contained in the fact that there were barely any customization options available. You’re given a scant number of different classes to choose from, none of which are imaginative or interesting in the least. The graphical presentation was lush, and everything seemed to be going off without a hitch, but when I realized how limited my character options were, an inky feeling in my stomach signaled that things had begun to turn sour.
Defiance may have functioned as an interesting way (read: gimmick) to promote a series on SyFy that may have a shot at stabilizing the network’s bipolar ratings, but as a game, it’s barely playable. Perhaps those people (and I’m sure there will be many) who become dedicated aficionados of the show will in turn find this game to be a treat, as often happens with TV series based on games, and vice versa (although, now that I mention it, has that experiment ever been really successful? Anyone remember Survivor: The Game? Look it up, that thing was a disaster), but for people who are willing to shell out $60 of their hard-earned paychecks to download this problematic title, the price is far too high, and the payoff meager. Check out the show, by all means – it looks like a refreshing, shoot-‘em-up romp through the distant future – but at the end of the day, I defy you to play this thing and enjoy it for more than fifteen minutes.