Microsoft Defiance

Published on May 16th, 2013 | by Xalaga


Defiance: The Game

Defiance: The Game Xalaga

Summary: Defiance: The Game is a good mixture of adventure, gunning things down, and playing well with others.


Defiance: The game is an ambitious project that it only has gotten better since the day it released. To be honest, when I first saw Defiance at PAX Prime 2012 I was intrigued. I wanted to ask more questions than Trion could answer, but the demo left me concerned as it was a Team Death match round in the map “Waterworks,” if my memory serves me right. How is this going to tie into a TV show? I wondered for a while and it left me intrigued enough to keep an eye on it when the show came out. Defiance the game was released two weeks before the tv show, giving it’s player a prequel to what was going to happen in the show. I wanted to see the show before I expend my hard earned day job cash into it. So how did it stack up? I will now tell you my experience with it. 

DefianceFirst of all, Defiance is for those of us that like to play with others. If you enjoy getting a party of people and doing things together, this is the game for you. If you enjoy playing the game often and having the content change, then this is the game for you. If you like to play solo and be able to pick up where you left off while maintaining the same level as everyone else? Maybe you might want to pass on it. Defiance is an ever changing, ever evolving world that has kept me captive for longer than I expected. My first time in the game was a bit overwhelming. They do have a tutorial, but at the time, I don’t know if I was rushing through it or was not paying attention enough, I didn’t get some of the key elements I needed. In part this was due to the fact that the controls are extremely intuitive and thus I didn’t pay enough attention. If you have played Borderlands or games like it, you’ll find that you can pick up the game and find yourself shooting, reloading, jumping, looting, etc. The “Start” button takes you to the characters menu, weapons, modifications, stats, and much more. The Back button is the map. D-pad right opens an on screen menu so you can add people to your party, clan invites, join the que for matchmaking, co-op maps, and even visit the Defiance store. D-pad left opens a menu for emotions you can do with your character to say “Hi” to other players and even dance. Seriously, no MMO is complete without the /Dance command! But since this is a console version, the D-pad handles that side. The menus are easy to navigate, as you can use the bumper buttons to go back and forth. Sadly, at first you find yourself lost with where is what and why. One easy rookie mistake is how to add points to your Ego powers and how to equip them. Defiance’s Ego power is like a perks menu. You gain Ego [aka XP] as you play the Defiance. You can then add points to different Ego powers. The Ego powers are divided into four categories: Overcharge, Blur, Cloak and Dekoy. Each give you special abilities that will fit your game playing style. Only one Ego power can be equipped, but since Defiance has more than one load out, you can mix and match while fine tuning what you want to use with specific guns. But how do you get to the Ego powers? This is where the problem came in. It was easy to figure out that by using your right stick to move between the guns and pressing “A” you can change them. Pressing the D-Pad to the right sends the gun to the right of the screen so you can compare with the other guns. Now, it was not intuitive that you can go to the right, on the main menu, next to the guns and select Ego Powers.  I also unlocked Ego powers and did not equip them. It wasn’t until I realized that the boxes were empty, for me to read the bottom of the screen and see that I had to press “A” to equipped. Once equip  it puts an “E” on it and it shows in the main menu. Explaining it now makes me feel dumb, if I have read the bottom line this would have clued me into the equip part, but getting the mindset away from console games where they spoon feed all the information to a more MMO approach, has been a bit of a challenge. 


The good news is that it can be done! In no time I had changed my guns, compared them to the best I had, equipped all of my Ego Powers, changed my outfit and head gear, and two weeks later realized that Matchmaking outfits can be changed and are different.  Yes, I am constantly learning new things in Defiance, but I feel it is going at the same pace as any MMO. It usually takes some getting used to, but mostly your friends will guide you through the commands and keys you need to use in order to equip items, looting, etc. 

Defiance has a ton of things you can do in it.  Dailies, Weeklies, Episodes, side quest, main quest, time trials, deathmatch, co-op maps (up to 4 players), Shadow Wars (capture territories like game) and much more. One thing to note is the episodes missions. These are usually linked to what just happened for that week in the show, and they are only available for that week. It goes without saying that the show and the game are set in the same space and time. The Episodes in the game coincide with the show with quest you must do. For the Pilot, one of the biggest scenes was celebrating “Armistice  day,” which is the day that marks the end of the “Pale Wars” that almost destroyed the planet. In the game, you were able to join celebrations around the entire map and dance with the locals. In the game you always fight Hellbugs, and they were introduced in episode 3 of the show. While the viewers were finding out about this creature, the gamers have a wealth of knowledge about them. In episode 4 of the show, we find about Adreno (a drug) while in the game we encounter instances where we have to face bad guys under the influence. Many a time the tv show will mention characters that you have only seen in the game and vice versa. They have a symbiotic relationship and cross-over in small things, like mentioning characters and such to having full events. I would like to go more into depth, but I fear that I will bring even more spoilers than what, perhaps, I have already said.  Don’t worry, they are not that big of a spoilers. 


Graphics are less than what you’d expect, since we know what the xbox 360 is capable of. With that said, I really don’t like to review games based on the graphics, as I don’t play them based on how realistic or how much lens flare they contain.  Yes, those are pretty and games like Heavy Rain benefit from it, but that is not the reason why I buy games. My main reason is fun. A game that can grab me to the point that it makes me think of it while I’m at work and makes me wish that I was home playing instead of anything else. Defiance has been this type of game for me, where it has been so much fun to play that I am constantly checking to see what the new dailies are and how to achieve them in the short amount of play time I currently have. Yet I have managed to squeeze 49 hours by the time of this review, and I’m sure I’ll clock in even more over the days ahead. 

One of the most stellar things I have seen is Trion’s response. They have kept an open line of communication with the gamers, making sure that they are heard and they feel heard as well.  After each episode of the show, Trion takes to to broadcast live a half hour-ish show called “Across the Badlands.” If you join them on the live chat, you can win copies of the game or get questions answered. You get a recap of the show, how this is going to affect the game, and contests that are usually run an hour after “Across the Badlands” have aired. They also have their own blog, where they post a comprehensive list of what the patches they will release are going to be, talk about the Season Pass, and future DLC’s. The twitter feed has been very useful to know when the patches are going to drop and what they fix.


 They also have a very active forum and a reddit community at r/Defiance. If you don’t want to partake in any of those, you can live chat with a Trion GM. They are very polite and quickly able to help you fix most of the problems you might encounter in game or out of it. I know this, because I used it.  The support net they have put on top of this game reminds me of Riot and how they handle the enormous fan base that League of Legends has. 

Defiance took pages from various games, broke the mold, reshaped it and partnered up with Sci-fy to do something no one has dared to do before. With the renewal of the show for a second season, I can only imagine that Trion will keep delivering new ways to play the game and learn more about what is going on with the show. If you are looking for a fun game to play with your friends, for an MMO you can play from your couch, or you simply like the show, Defiance is the game that will give a Shtako load of things to do.

Read about Defiance: The Show review or go learn more about the show and the game from You can listen to The Geek Link Episode 61: A Man Down for more on Defiance.  With the renewal of Defiance for a second season, I hope you start getting caught up with the episodes.  Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about the show…


Thanks to McNarnia for supplying the pictures (PC version).



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About the Author

Founder & CEO of I like to be a hero in a world of 1's and 0's. A computer programmer by day and a gaming journalist by night, I spend most of my time dedicated to everything videogame. From teaching a college level class in videogame history to being part of "Portland's Ignite" speaking about girls in gaming, there is little time where I don't do some sort of videogame related activity. Now I spend my down time dedicated to The Geek Link where I'm a writer, a Web Master, and I am one of the creators and co-hosts of The Geek Link Podcast.

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