The Xbox beta of Defiance didn’t get off to the best of starts, initially Xbox owners were given the shortest amount of time with the beta but by working with Microsoft, Trion Worlds have managed to extend the beta to five days! But before the beta kicks off GAME hosted a set of exclusive lock-in events giving fans an early taste of what’s to come.
GAME have done well so far, grabbing some great titles and allowing gamers from all over the UK to travel to their Mecca and enjoy some exclusives, quite some time before release at that and more importantly in a great community atmosphere.
The london lock-in, to my surprise, was hosted at a rather trendy pub in Kentish Town, The Assembly House. For those who know the haunt well, it has a great atmosphere, and prime space, one which was perfect for a night of gaming (and possibly some drinking).
Everyone attending had a console station to themselves for 30 minutes before having to swap out and allow the eager audience to jump in and have a crack. This cycle system worked really well as not only did it give you a chance to get hands-on, it also allowed you to watch what other players were doing, showing completely different aspects of Defiance which I know I myself might not have found out or thought about, unless I had the chance to watch my peers as they enjoyed some hands-on time. With it being an MMO, it was great to see everyone teaming up to tackle missions and a chance to see everyone’s character creation skills!
Defiance worked great in the community setting, playing something like a Sci-fi Mercenaries game with some Halo sensibilities and a little Borderlands thrown in for good measure. You take control of an Ark Hunter, enlisted by VonBach Industries to scour Earth for any alien technology you can salvage. After a few interesting cut-scenes explaining just what happened to planet Earth, you’re thrown into a fairly standard character creation screen, with the main choice being between Human or Votan, then it’s off to scavenge all you can, or join the fight!
Combat is tight and everything you would expect from a 3rd person shooter, with a lot of cues being taken from Borderlands. With an almost infinitely customisable character, offering 4 main “EGO Skills” including a cloaking device and an overcharge for your weapons, which spider out into a huge list of upgrades for your Ark Hunter.
Weapons are much the same, with a huge variety available and upgrades on top, you’ll be here for a while fine tuning your warrior to their peak form and perfect artillery. Missions, again taking notes from Borderlands titles, are handled by searching the map for the notorious bright orange “!” leaving you free to handle side quests, farm XP or simply go through the story.
I have to admit that I’ve never really been one for MMO games, World of Warcraft never struck a chord with me at all, but after an evening playing defiance with a host of different people I found myself ready to pre-order it there and then. At first glance it seems like a standard third person shooter but given some time and a few friends (maybe some aforementioned beers also) and you’ve got a great experience on your hands which can be a totally personal and deep experience if you want it to be.
As a thank-you of sorts for attending, everyone was treated to some drinks and a goody bag including an art book and a Defiance emblazoned USB key. This in an odd way summed up the night for me, it was GAME working hard to help keep the gaming community alive, and shy away from out dated stereotypes like the gamer locked in a dark room afraid of the outside world. It was also them giving back to a community that has stood by them.
I couldn’t recommend more that you dive onto twitter and check out any GAME lock-in events near you and give it a go, dip your toe, you wont regret it!
If you’re interested in getting your hands-on with Defiance before its April release then head over to www.defiance.com/en/ and enlist for the beta, we’ll also have a preview of the whole thing coming in the next few days and also some beta keys to giveaway later today, so keep your eyes peeled for that!