I was a fan of the Defiance television show during its short run. It had everything needed to make a fun sci-fi show, including aliens, conflict, and tension of all kinds. So, it was sad to see that show was canceled as it got good, and Trion Worlds did a good job bridging the show and the game together to provide a fourth season in-game.
Set several years after the original Defiance, the sequel picks up in the same open-world, co-op shooter of a ravaged Earth. You play an Ark Hunter, set in a world where millions of Voltans are dead and Earth is no longer recognizable. Set in San Francisco, you are free to explore the open world and partake in battles as well as complete story missions.
Deciding to start from scratch, I wanted to create a new character for the sequel but compared to other MMO character creators, the one here is bareboned in many ways. Choosing from one of three races, you can select many cosmetic items to personalize your avatar. There isn’t any noticeable difference between the races and none offer any powers or buffs, it is only cosmetic. Character creators are fun and offer an amusing way to start any game, so of course, I want to look my best when starting, especially when I’m likely stuck with that character for the duration of my playthrough. I’d love to see this expanded upon in some capacity in the future.
Jumping straight into the story, the campaign is coherent and moves along at a brisk pace, I’d recommend completing missions co-operatively with others. You won’t have issues finding players either, and the game does a good job of feeding you mechanics to succeed through a tutorial section. What really impressed me was how well the game keeps you moving along, you’re active and always finding something to do.
Once the tutorial is out of the way, you are free to do as you please. There’s a ton of content to complete and there’s a slew of enemies to down, and quests to complete. There’s loot to collect, too. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount to do and often found myself getting lost while exploring because simply because I kept finding more to do as I went along. The most you complete, the more loot you’ll get and there is a ton of loot to gather, and you’ll need it to get stronger.
See, as you level up you’ll also be rewarded with gear to strengthen your character. By increasing your gear score, you get stronger and that number is tied into your primary and secondary weapons as well as your shield and grenades. There are also mods and upgrades that add to the total, so be on the lookout to improve your Ark Hunter.
The move to current-gen consoles and PC helped broaden the userbase and while I agree the game looks better than the original, it still looks like a budget title. Compare it to Warframe, which is beautiful and continually impresses with its graphics, Defiance 2050 leaves much to be desired with its graphics, it feels outdated and there is a ton of pop in moving through areas. Alongside this, is the frustrating crashes that often remove me from the game and framerate drops at inopportune times, there’s enough of it to clench your teeth at, and it isn’t fun dealing with it, especially when you’re completing a mission or partaking in an ArkFall.
Defiance 2050 is fun and easy to spend hours getting lost in, and while it is a step above the original game, it requires polish before it can shine. I admire going free-to-play for the sequel which is a good decision for bringing new players in, and that’s why you’ll see this game likely thrive for some time. F2P is a crowded space these days, and having developers like Digital Extremes providing titillating content through Warframe, for free no less, is the real challenge Trion Worlds needs to tackle first. As it stands, this is a fun game that needs some polishing, but with the studio supporting the game going forward, there is a good chance Defiance 2050 will succeed. Aside from some inconvenient crashing, this is a good way to kill time and it the best part is it cost you nothing at all.
[A copy of the game’s Founder Pack was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]