New Earth, New Rules…
It has been 33 years since the Votan races arrived at Earth. Their pilgrimage met as a sign of an invasion. The war was fierce and casualties on both sides were devastating. The alien races traveled in giant space ships known as Arks, they have all been destroyed. After a terraforming accident Earth itself has become a wasteland, causing both humans and the eight Votan races to learn a simple lesson work together or die.
You play an Ark Hunter, a treasure hunter of sorts who risk life and limb at the opportunity to trade alien artifacts for scrip, much like Nolan and Irisa on the show – in fact earlier in the game you figure out how they arrive in Defiance. That alone is the beauty of this game, and what makes the entire experience something unique enough to hopefully create a new level of immersion between television and gaming. The game takes place in San Francisco, and the show in St. Louis (Defiance). Often times characters from the show will cross over into the gaming allowing you to learn more about the universe. I simply can’t get enough.
Your Ark Hunter is fitted with EGO, a robotic organism that allows for super human abilities. It is what separates you from the rest of the crowd and allows you to level up as you gain experience. There are four primary abilities which leads to a lot of the same character types being created, and something Trion will work toward fixing as the game continues to grow. Cloak, Overcharge, Blur, and Decoy are the primary abilities each serves to a particular type of shooter archetype and play style. Cloak allows your character to become invisible for a set amount of time, while Overcharge increases your damage output for weapons. Blur allows you to travel very fast closing the distance with enemies for brutal melee strikes, and Decoy allows you to create a duplicate of yourself to draw enemy fire.
Modes of Play
The majority of the game experience with the Story line features a quest/mission based play style in the Sandbox that is the bay area otherwise referred to as Paradise. These types of missions include MMO staples of go to point a, plant item b, slay enemy type x. If not for the story line being excellent the game alone could be a bit tedious. Trion allows you to break up the monotony of the traditional MMO standard by competing in challenged. Races, Hot shot, and Rampage challenges litter the zones and can be very difficult to complete. There are also several instances in the game for players to work on their co-op skills together, tackling a boss and a chance a greater loot. As well as PVP scenarios including general battle ground type maps and the amazingly fun Shadow war mission that pits open world PVP with an insane amount of players, for a console, together in a Capture and Hold scenario.
If you are familiar with Trion’s other works the concept of the Ark Fall public zone event is not something new. As it has been done with the elemental rifts in Trion’s other MMO Rift. However, this allows for the entire zone to band together and compete with one another for scrip, shields, equipment mods, and powerful weapons. Being an ark hunter is all about going after the Ark’s as they come crashing down to the surface of the Earth. The only problem is that generally they are heavily fortified by a type of monster.
I love supporting ambitious projects, especially when they deliver. If you are a fan of the show you need to play the game. While it can feel a bit forced at times, the game’s story pays off – and the fan candy show tie ins make everything work it. There are ton of different weapon types, game modes, and instances to keep you busy for many many hours. I wish the game had come with Castithans as a playable race at launch I am much looking forward to continuing the story line with the DLC set to release soon.