Defiance Preview for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Defiance Preview for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Where TV And Games Collide

I’ve never been a fan of the term “transmedia.” It makes me feel like I’m sitting in a stuffy corporate board room with a bunch of the guys from Mad Men , trying to manipulate the masses into buying into a certain mindset that makes them more apt to purchase a specific product.

Defiance Screenshot

Nonetheless, Defiance’s use of the transmedia marketing strategy is fascinating to me. Defiance is basically a brand new sci-fi universe that’s being crafted as both a Syfy television series and a massively multiplayer third-person shooter. Now, I can’t say a whole lot about the television series at this time, but the guys at Trion Worlds showed me around the video game in a closed-doors hands-on session at E3 last month.

As I mentioned before, this is a third-person shooter MMO. What? Well, it feels like a third-person shooter when you’re exploring the world, but then you start bumping into all sorts of other people who are also running around and shooting things.

And what a world it is. Defiance is set in a fictional version of the San Fransisco area that’s been partially terraformed by aliens. You see, there were these space ships that had terraforming tech onboard, and we humans, who like to shoot things (a habit we’ve picked up from playing too many shooter games like Defiance) blew them out of the sky. These terraforming machines crashed on Earth and started doing their thing. By the point at which the game takes place, there’s all sorts of weird alien plant and animal life everywhere. Some of the animals you encounter are based on species you might know from real life, only they’re mutated and extremely aggressive. Ignore PETA; just shoot the things.

Defiance Screenshot

Now, one thing that Trion Worlds has already successfully implemented into its other MMO, RIFT, is the idea of dynamic world events that require massive groups of players to team up and fight back hordes of enemies. Whereas in RIFT you had massive rips in time-space, Defiance has big chunks of spaceships falling from the sky like meteors, kicking off new terraforming machines and bringing down a whole slew of mutated life.

I got to witness one of these events, which ultimately brought a gigantic tentacled plant thing into the middle of an open field. It had some sort of spore pods beneath each tentacle (an area I referred to as its armpits) that I had to shoot in order to harm this thing.

Defiance Screenshot

The skeptical booth rep told me there was no way I would bring down this monstrosity on my own, so he ran off to encourage some other players to me to help me out. Well, he may have underestimated my skill level a bit, as I managed to bring down the thing, dying only once and having very little help from the other players.

Still, the experience was a blast, and I was assured that this was not the only type of dynamic event to expect in the finished game. The reps were hesitant to give me any hints as to what those might be, unfortunately. But since the concept is something Trion’s already successfully implemented in RIFT, I have very little doubt they’ll be able to pull it off in Defiance.

Now, due to its MMO nature, there are various ways to tackle the game, depending on your personal preference. There’s an extensive story mode, which I was told would include “cinematic storytelling.” There are also tons of side missions, which were explained to me as being “less directed than the main story.” I encountered one such mission during my hands-on session, where I stepped onto a series of docks and blasted away a bunch of thugs who weren’t so happy about my presence there. I was also told that players who just want to run around and aimlessly shoot things will be able to do that as well.

All of this will be taking place on a single server. Well, three servers to be precise—one for each platform: Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

Defiance Screenshot

Though the reps tried to trick me by handing me an Xbox 360 controller, I knew the version I was playing was on a PC. That being said, the graphics were absolutely gorgeous, with a crisp, insanely detailed tapestry of half-alien flora and fauna bringing a colorful, otherworldy tone to the Bay area.

You can traverse this world on foot, but there are vehicles to help you get around faster. I was able to spawn an ATV the same way I’d summon a mount in, say, World of Warcraft. Also, I was able to find these things scattered around the landscape as well, so getting from point A to point B quickly was fairly easy.

Defiance is a project with a lot of promise. Though I wasn’t able to get any information on the ties between the game and the Syfy series, what I played of the game felt very solid and had a great vibe that kept me playing far longer than I had intended. Look for this one to land on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC in April of 2013.

Game Features:

  • An Adventure For The Masses – Intense third-person shooter gameplay focused on story-driven missions designed to be played solo or with thousands of other live players in the world around you.
  • A Massive, Persistent World – Fully realized, persistent open world set in a futuristic San Francisco Bay Area, supporting tens of thousands of simultaneous live players.
  • Customize Your Character – Custom character creation, where you can play as a human or alien, modify your appearance, upgrade weapons, select different specializations, and become a unique citizen of the Defiance universe.
  • Player Progression Evolved – Console-native shooter with a multitude of weapons, armors, and special abilities that evolve with experience.
  • Unending Gameplay – With missions, emergencies, and endless exploration opportunities across a giant game world, Defiance is the genre-changing title that is sure to keep players engaged for years.

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