Defiance 2050 is a remastered and retooled take on 2013’s Defiance, which was an MMORPG sci-fi shooter released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
I never played the original Defiance (nor have I watched the television show) but had the privilege to check out the Defiance 2050’s closed beta. The beta for 2050 only offered the assault class to try out, so I can’t speak for how diverse the gameplay can get with other character classes.
Sticking with the only available class, players can choose between Irathient, a red demon-like race, Castithans, pale goth looking humanoids and of course, plain old humans. In terms of character customization, the game offers players with your run-of-the-mill selection of sliders and modifiers that change subtle facial features but for the most part, characters don’t look too different from one another one, still for a game that is still in its BETA, the amount of character customization is more than adequate and on par with more contemporary titles such as Destiny and Warframe.
As Defiance 2050 is based on an older title from 2013, the remastered game runs beautifully, maintaining a solid 60fps on my external GTX 1080 powered setup at 4k on high settings. The visuals themselves, on the other hand, do feel a bit dated, which for 2013 is more than acceptable, hopefully, environmental textures are given a bit more depth prior to release, as they currently appear a bit too flat and unnatural in appearance. Another small area in which Defianceshows its age but somehow still feels endearing is the animations, specifically the way characters talk. Facial animations feel stilted, almost as if everyone within the Defiance universe is constantly eating a piece of peanut butter coated taffy.
My only real concern, however, comes in the form of an AI character named EGO, or what the game calls your Environmental Guardian Online, a special AI character that aids the player progress through the game world. At best, EGO feels like an adequate way of introducing the player to some of Defiance 2050’s mechanics, but her more than passing resemblance to characters like Cortana ultimately makes her inclusion feel lazy rather than useful.
From my short time with the BETA, I can safely say that Defiance 2050 is a more than adequate over the shoulder third-person shooter, elevated to its own niche thanks to cheesy but comforting dialogue, a sizeable game world and smooth and responsive gameplay that all come together in a cohesive package.
If I had to recommend Defiance 2050, I would recommend it to players that haven’t played too many shooters or are in the market for a casual and fun action game that they can play with their friends. Defiance 2050 is best in small bursts, offering a fun mix of moment to moment gunplay based action, loot and a large enough open world that still holds by modern standards.
A concern I have going forward with a game like Defiance is the last appealing a title like this offers its player base who are in it for the long haul. I had fun for the few hours I sank into the BETA, but aside from shooting hordes of enemies and driving around in another Halo inspired vehicle, occasionally stopping to save downed NPCs from smaller encounters, my sense of discovery felt diminished and the game quickly started to feel repetitive, thankfully the fun gameplay saved the day and considering the game is still in BETA, Defiance 2050 has potential to spice things up and diversify itself further in the full release and/or future updates.
Levelling up felt a little slow, but thanks to some interesting unlockable abilities and access to a decent selection of guns, I found myself wanting to come back and continue exploring the wastelands. By far the most used ability in my arsenal would have to be the speed-up or what the game refers to as Blur, something I found myself using often, not so much for avoiding enemy gunfire, but just for quick traversal in more confined areas in which my vehicle could not be used efficiently.
Defiance 2050 is a competent game and it’s nice seeing it come back for modern consoles and PC, the title definitely has potential to grow and really become a fun and engaging online experience, best played with friends, something that is even easier in the current gaming landscape thanks to services like the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.