Defiance. It’s a novel idea really. Take one post apocalyptic TV show and make a game that interacts with the same world. Add thousands of players completing missions day after day so that you generate enough results to work out actual repercussions of these actions and you have what they wanted to achieve.
The problem is though, it’s boring.
The characters you get to play have as bout as much depth to them as the paper someone wrote ‘bad ass dude with guns’ on for the bio, the missions themselves are repetitive and don’t seem to scale well and to top it all off the game play features some of the clunkiest controls I have ever seen.
Mission objectives seem to vary between rescue this dude by standing next to them and pressing x to shoot everyone in the head till they die. When you try and summon your car (yes that’s right, you have to summon your car) sometimes it just doesn’t bother turning up and often struggles to go over slightly uneven terrain. Then there is the voice acting, but I’d really rather not have to think about that ever again.
There were a few plus points though. The way they re-populated the world with bad guys is quite cool. Rather than having them fade into existence like most games there are a number of access points across the world. Things like van doors or bunkers will open up and people will jump out of them with guns and start trying to kill you. The way non story line missions are actually given out to you as well are also quite good. You have an AI of sorts implanted in your brain and it points things out to you that you can do in the world which fits far better than having some random person standing around all day waiting for people to accept their quests. Sadly though as with the main story missions these too lack any sort of imagination, usually being either racing or killing missions with little to no narrative behind them.
So, I didn’t like the game but that doesn’t make it a total write off. If the TV show can pull the right numbers, even though this attempt failed as an entertaining launch for the concept we might see better versions of the same idea in the future. It has always been one of the major failings of MMO’s – world development. So when you have a TV show actively driving the story forwards, and much of that content is being generated by players it could in theory become one of the greatest gaming developments since the internet. Imagine that no longer must you complete the same mission over and over again, or watch the nth player kill the same boss just because no one could be bothered to actually alter the world a little.
I suppose every good idea has to start somewhere though, I just really hope it doesn’t kill off the concept if the show does fail.