Sunday, March 31, 2013

Defiance Beta Impressions (PS3)

When I first read about Defiance, I got the impression it was a competitive game with MMO elements.  I decided to try the beta, since it was up for PS+ members, and I'm glad I did.  It reminds me of an MMO third person version of Borderlands.  Is that a good thing?  Yes, yes it is.

The character creation was really sparse, and I'm not sure how much of that is because it's a beta and not the full version.  You could choose one of two races, but it didn't say if that actually affected anything (like stats, etc.).  If it is supposed to, let's hope they tell you.  There also weren't very many options to personalize your character, so I'm hoping that armor you find changes their appearance.

The game played pretty well.  With the pistol, I had aim assist and it actually helped (I turn it off in most games, and I'll try it without in Defiance later), but sometimes the aiming was finicky.  It didn't always seem to move at a consistent speed, so maybe it's really sensitive to the analog sticks.  Also the aiming was really tight.  The reticle is a certain size, but only the dot in the middle is where you hit with your shots.  I usually feel in most shooters, you don't have to be that exact, but it feels like you do in Defiance.  It didn't get me killed or anything, but I wasn't as good at shooting things as I am in other third person shooters.

Like other MMOs, you run around and get quests to grab things or kill things.  It was still fun to do here.  One thing I didn't like was enemy spawns.  Since I don't know where enemies are, they would frequently spawn really close and get a few pot shots while I figured out where they were.  A few times it was because it was a normal spawn for the enemies, but most times the quest would spawn the enemies.  I'm not a fan of enemies just piling out of a clown car and the like, so the waves of enemies for some missions were annoying.  I don't know if it was just me, but I sometimes had a hard time picking out the enemies while running around.  Things didn't really stick out from the background enough.

There are some bugs, though, that I'm hoping get ironed out of the final release.  The biggest one I had was related to a quest "boss" that appeared.  Or didn't, as at first there was nothing there after the cutscene.  I was able to run into the area where he was supposed to come out and it was clearly an area you weren't supposed to be able to go.  A bit later he did spawn and I was able to finish the quest.  However, about 20 minutes later someone made him spawn again and it showed me the cutscene and teleported me close to his location, which was halfway across the zone.  So, yeah, I had to run all the way back to where I needed to be.  It was fun being reminded of my old game testing days, though.

I didn't think I would like the game, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It wasn't perfect, but I had fun and I might be able to convince my PS fanboy buddies to buy it so we can all play.  If I can't get a review copy, I'm sure I'll pick it up down the line.  Hopefully the game and show are popular enough that the servers will be around awhile, otherwise it would be pointless to play.  Again, that's the worst part of MMOs.  I'd love it if they all had some offline/ single player component, but they don't really care to do that.

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