v6.2.3 - moving along, a point increase at a time

Getting my toes wet with Defiance

Well, after a few years of being on the fence, and now that Defiance has gone free-to-play, I decided to give this game a try.  I had actually bought the xbox disc (at a steep discount) back at Christmas, but I had not activated my xbox live subscription (school and all), so I never really got to play Defiance on my xbox. Once it went free-to-play (or at least f2p was announced for PS3 and Windows), I couldn't log into Defiance on the xbox.  I finally gave up on the xbox avenue and decided to install it on a Windows PC and to try it out!

For those who don't know, Defiance is a game that is cross promoted with a Science Fiction television show of the same name, on the SyFy network. The main premise of the game, and of the TV show, is that you live in a post-apocalyptic earth.  At some point a whole lot of refugee ships with a whole bunch of alien refugees from a system (the Votan System) that went supernova. The got themselves on ships, put the autopilot on for earth, and put themselves in stasis.  In the meantime humans evolved on earth and now it's a question of who owns this piece of stellar property.  Well, it seems like we all learned to live together harmoniously - mostly.  The earth started being terraformed for the Votans, so it's no the same earth we know and love.  It's now like frontier land.

So, in the game you can be a Human, an Irathient, or a Castithan (if you pay for the privilege via DLC  - remember it's a f2p game, but extra perks cost).  Since I didn't know how much time I'd be spending in the game, I opted to go for all of the free options.  My choice of character was an Irathient (why go with some as "vanilla" as human?). Ruthus seems like a traditional Irathient name, at least according to one of the wikis. Add some bulk, a little of Jack Bauer's looks and attitude, and you're ready to go play! I think I ended up going with Ark Hunter as my choice of profession (I honestly don't remember - this was a few weeks ago).

The EGO virtual buddy is a nice element, I think.  It reminds me a lot of Cortana in the Halo series. It provides for on-screen help and hints as you play the game.  Most of the enemies that I've come across are mutants and some sort of hell-bug. It's a bit jarring to have mutants as the main enemy of the game (at least at this point in the game) because I don't recall this being explored in the TV series.  Maybe I blinked and missed some minor explanation.  It ruins my emersion into the game a bit, but whatever.  I'll still play to get the backstory of this game ;-)

At first I tried the traditional mouse and keyboard approach to play this game but that didn't work out that well for me.  The game was too jagged and jumpy for my taste. I don't know if I was experiencing lag on the net, or if my computer's graphics card was too slow to process. In any case, it didn't make the game play experience that great.  I decided to try my wire xbox controller just for the heck of it, and was pleasantly surprised that it worked! For the past few game sessions I've been using the xbox controller because it feels less jagged, and more smooth, in terms of what I see on the screen.

The game camera is a first-person over-the-shoulder view:

This is actually not  a bad camera angle when I'm playing an offline game on my xbox, but in an MMO it just doesn't seem to work that well for me.  I've had bad luck with aiming (and wasting ammo) both in this game and in Star Trek Online (which is why I am never in that view on STO).  To some extent I wish I could pull back the camera some more and have the option to view things as I do in STO, and control the camera angle better. Oh well.

Thus far I am about half-way through the first mission which is on Mount Tam.  Once Mount Tam is done, there are another 5 "seasons" (to use STO terminology), so I am just taking this game one episode at a time - no one is rushing me.

So far. I like the game - choppy animations and problematic cameras aside. So long as I have ammo for my grenade launcher I think I'll be fine ;-)
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