Defiance 2050 is Familiar but Fun

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Released for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC in 2013, Defiance was a pretty underrated online third-person shooter.

A tie-in with the SyFy TV show of the same name, it’s surprisingly still being supported despite the show being cancelled in 2015. And now, it has effectively been reworked into Defiance 2050; not a sequel, rather an enhanced edition that will receive further content and support.

Be a hero, for free

Unlike Defiance which was released at a price before becoming free-to-play at a later date, Defiance 2050 is free-to-play straight from launch. And as free-to-play games go, it’s one of the rare ones that really doesn’t require you to spend any money to enjoy it. Most things you can spend money on are cosmetic in nature or simply make your time playing the game a little more leisurely, like increased inventory space. Think of it this way, you can jump in and play it for free to see if you enjoy it. If you do, you can chuck the developer some money and make your experience a little more enjoyable. If not, simply stop playing and you’ve not wasted a penny (or cent).

There’s a lot to like about Defiance 2050 too. It’s Borderlands-esque with a sometimes zany sense of humour, plenty of quests to complete and randomised loot. It’ll also appeal to the Destiny crowd with its Arkfall events, challenges and random chances to be the hero. Although you’re not the only hero out there; Defiance 2050 is an MMO after all. Everywhere you go there are people going about their business just like you. Sometimes you’ll need to work together to succeed, but whether or not you communicate or even team up with them is up to you.

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It’s a matter of class

Anyone that has previously played Defiance will probably be wondering what’s new about Defiance 2050, and the answer is probably just enough to keep you interested. I’ll openly admit that I haven’t played a great deal of the original game, but Defiance 2050 instantly felt familiar. The map appears to be largely the same, only it has been spruced up a little to accommodate for more powerful hardware. The draw distance has been improved too. It’s the gameplay that has been more meaningfully altered though. It has been rebalanced to make for a more enjoyable experience, and there are now character classes.

As you level up, you’re now awarded points that can be spent in your class’ skill tree. Skills come in the usual passive and active varieties and, alongside the ability to find and develop new equipment, allow you to make your character your own. I’ve spent my time as an assault class human, putting points into my skill with assault rifles to improve my accuracy with them and also making use of a handy ability which allows me to instantly heal my health and refill my shields when I find myself in a tight spot. How you develop your character is up to you though, and if you buy the Starter Class Pack DLC you can even change your character’s class at any time.

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Fun, but unspectacular

There are some things I’d like to see improved in Defiance 2050 though. Vehicle handling leaves a lot to be desired, and the environments aren’t always very welcome to travelling any other way than by foot. The game’s menus are also a bit of a pain to navigate with a controller at times; you can loop around your inventory from the bottom, for instance, but not from the top. The game could really do with more tutorials or assistance for newcomers, too. I always got the sense that I was wasting resources when upgrading and modifying my weapons when I first started as I really had no idea what I was doing.

Perhaps Defiance 2050‘s biggest issue, however, is just how unspectacular it is. It’s fun to play, has some deep systems and is technically quite solid, but it just doesn’t really wow you in any way. It’s a rehash of tried-and-tested gameplay systems with little of its own flair other than being set in the Defiance universe. If you were a fan of the show you’re more likely to lap it up, but others are likely to feel uninspired and unimpressed.

It’s all in the future

Like any MMO, Defiance 2050‘s success hinges on its future content and gameplay tweaks, and there are likely to be many. At the moment, anyone that has played its predecessor and takes the plunge will perhaps feel like they’re treading old ground. Those entering its world for the first time, however, will find a game that’s suitably entertaining if not a little dated in its appearance. In any case it’s free to play though, so why not give it a try if you haven’t already done so? It’s available on PS4, Xbox One and PC right now, and if you get your friends in on the act too it’ll be even more fun to play.