What can I say about Defiance 2050? It’s a free-to-play title that’s essentially a “remastered” version of the original MMO, Defiance. The original title was okay and the only real redeeming factor was the tie-in TV show on Sci-Fi in which the show’s events were reflected in the game.
After three seasons FOX canceled the show and the game seemingly vanished into the distance, that was until Trion Worlds announced it was re-launching the game to support current-gen hardware, but is it really worth it? Honestly, I’m not sure.
Defiance 2050 is essentially the original game with a few unnoticeable changes here and there. The visuals still look pretty dated, and the skill tree seems to have been switched up somewhat which actually limits progression in some ways. Overall, the changes really aren’t enough to warrant players who may have drifted from the first title, back to this new version.
The game does have promise however as there’s no shortage of things to do, however, you quickly get into a seemingly endless gameplay loop of accepting a mission, killing some soldier fodder, battle a boss, return to the mission hub, rinse and repeat. There are some other events in the world, like race trials, however, because the game is in this persistent living, breathing world, there were times where races were ruined by players not involved in the trial or by world events.
Defiance 2050 offers an interchangeable class system, which is great, but it doesn’t actually feed you a lot of information about this particular feature. In fact, I only realized I could switch classes on the fly by accidentally leveling up the wrong skill tree. Even then, classes aren’t obviously unique either other than the ARK Skill on offer to each of the classes.
I remember putting a couple of hours into the first game and enjoyed what it had to offer. This huge open world where battles between AI would randomly take place made for an entertaining break between missions, and joining a handful of random players to take down bigger enemies was a lot of fun too, but in Defiance 2050 I didn’t find any of that, in fact, I found the game eyewateringly boring.
What made the first game interesting, at least for me, was the Sci-Fi TV show tie-in which had an overall impact on the game depending on what happened in the show. The only indication that this game had a tie-in was the introduction cinematic which has you briefly meet Grant Bowler and Stephanie Leonidas character before shit hits the fan and you crash land on the games planet.
Gameplay isn’t that interesting either, it’s your typical third-person shooter which seems to lack any form of cover mechanic often resulting in you being out in the open hoping to land shots on the enemy. What’s more, the game’s bullet spread seems ridiculous, especially at a distance, meaning you’ll often find yourself charging in the middle of battle hoping to land a shot before meeting your inevitable death. The only real way to avoid being turned into swiss cheese is by rolling around which feels awkward, especially on PC.
As for driving, players are given the chance to spawn an ATV after the first couple of missions. This will be your vehicle to get around quickly, but honestly, you might as well just run from one location to another because it’d take just about the same amount of time due to the wonky driving mechanics. Steering is a pain, you can drift but it seems completely random and difficult to control, and finally, because the terrain is so uneven, you’ll often find yourself spinning out, or completely flipping over.
Full discloser, our review key came with a bunch of extras allowing us to experience higher instances of the game, much quicker, as well as a bunch of in-game currency. That allowed me to essentially buy my way to the top, and if a player wanted to, they could do the same. In fact, this is probably the best way to get some enjoyment out of the game because otherwise you’re required to grind up to much higher levels to build a decent character.
When Trion Worlds announced that they were bringing Defiance back, I was pretty excited, like I said, I enjoyed the original game a lot however this “re-release” just seems like a last-ditch effort to make some cash out of the IP, which is a shame. There are now far too many free-to-play sci-fi MMO shooters which do a much better job than Defiance.
Overall Defiance 2050 has no real impact. It feels like there’s no real meaning as to why players are killing enemies, the story is drip-fed but it’s so uninteresting it’s easy to just skip cinematics and be on your way. Progression feels empty, the skill tree is limited, and unless you spend cash on the game, you’ll often be stuck with a couple of classes which may not even suit your play style.
I’ll echo my previous statement: there’s definitely potential for Defiance 2050 as it has a lot going for it in terms of missions, raids, dailies, races, and more. Sadly the whole thing just feels poorly executed. There’s nothing really pulling me into the game or keeping me hooked and wanting to put more time in.