The transmedia vision for Defiance is certainly impressive, but how is the actual game? The game is an ambitious undertaking, even without the ties to a potentially ongoing TV series. Developed by Trion Worlds, Defiance the game is a MMO shooter, meant to feature thousands of players in a persistent world--across all three platforms. Amazingly, I saw the game running not only on a PC, but on an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 as well. Players won't be able to play against each other, however, as the platform holders won't open up their gated community to other networks. It's an incredible technical achievement--but that's about it.
As a shooter, Defiance is certainly competent and fun enough, but nothing truly spectacular. It's easy navigate the environment thanks to the ability to summon a buggy at the press of a button. However, encounters against AI enemies are rather standard affairs. There isn't much depth outside of running, gunning, and throwing the occasional grenade. One instance we were thrown into had us collectively fighting a giant insect boss that could summon minions. With a huge amount of HP, it became a bit of a chore, emptying clip after clip into the boss' glowing, obvious weak point.
While it's unlikely to take players away from Call of Duty, "fun enough" might be all fans really need, should Defiance take off as a show. The quality of the game won't necessarily determine the fate of this online world. Instead, it's the business model that will ultimately attract players. Will this be a boxed product? Will it have a subscription fee? Will it be free-to-play? Unfortunately, I couldn't get an answer from Trion. Given whatever plan they choose needs to meet the requirements for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, is free-to-play even an option? "If you look at what Trion did with
Syfy's vision of a future San Francisco