Trion Worlds brings an MMO that has been highly influenced from a TV series on the SyFy channel. Characters are crossed referenced from both mediums, television and game, to bring an epic journey wandering though the Earth Republic. The best thing about this MMO is being able to play in an expansive world with thousands of people, helping those in search of the Ark Tech.
In the year 2046, 33 years after the aliens land on earth and after years of war, the worlds have come to an uneasy agreement to live in peace. Playing as an Ark Hunter, a well-armed and stealthy soldier, both human and alien working together to help in the search for Ark Tech – which is used to help search the ancient alien relic that has been looming in the presence of the Earth Republic. When getting off New Freedom, an alien ship that many have lived on for decades since the Votan scoured the earth for the prized relic, hunters begin venturing the San Francisco Bay area after it crashes to Earth. So begins the journey searching alongside thousands of Ark Hunters, working around the San Francisco Bay Area, we search, hoping to get to it before anyone else does.
How does the game and show interact? Characters cross paths between one medium and the next. For an example, we can see Nolan running from someone in the show who has threatened him to leave the area or it is him or Irisa who will be on the ground lying in their own cold blood. In an upcoming patch that coexists with the most recent show, we could see Nolan running into a shot asking for help. A quest could be brought up near the Crater where you are to help Irisa while he hides. In the following episode, you would see Nolan and Irisa safe and sound.
The aliens, like the Raiders and the Ninety-Niners, are all groups of people on the hunt for the same ancient relics that the Ark Hunters are on the move for. Each group has their own tactics and ways to try and bring an Ark Hunter down, including ambushes and road blockage. Kill each one of them off or avoid them if you can; just be sure to get to where you need to be as fast as you can.
There are several different styles of missions to choose from while playing with thousands of other players at your side. The main missions are episodic missions in which the show influences the game and vice versa. These missions earn the hunter Ego, weapons and hopefully a new piece of tech.
Characters have a selectable “Ego” as you level your hunter. The choices are Blur, Cloak, Decoy and Overcharge. Blur allows you to slip out unnoticed, Cloak allows you to stealth your way past a target unseen, whereas Decoy sends a look-alike out so you can sneak attack while an enemy focuses on it, and Overcharge allows your weapon to pack some extra punch. As you level one of these main Egos, many Sub Egos begin to appear for you to choose from; equip them and make your hunter the fastest or the most invincible when defeating the world’s horde. Ark Hunters also have an Origin, such as a Machinist, Veteran, Outlaw and Survivalist. Each Origin does not limit the guns or gear that an Ark Hunter may have as they level their Ego and depending on your gameplay style, each Origin will cater to the needs of the player.
Side missions allow the gamer to step into someone else’s shoes rather than Von Bach’s aide. These side missions allow for goals, achievements, and heavy amounts of scrip. Challenges are races against time that are available for those wanting to take a breather in the missions, earning medals and a spot on the leaderboard.
There are also co-op maps; different modes and a variety of maps to play on. These modes involve team Death Match to Shadow Wars which grants contract invites to an ongoing battle royale. When you enter a Shadow War, you gain the reputation as a “Shadow Operative” that works in the midst of Echelon, which is a private military corporation. Winning Echelon credits can also be used on gear, armor and weapons whilst gaining ranks with the Echelon mercenary leaderboards. With the diversity of the gameplay, it is easy to drop everything and go into some mindless adventures with your Ark Hunter and others alike facing against the Ninety-Niners, the scrappers, the Raiders, hellbugs and the mutants.
The loot system here is a lot like “Borderlands”, scrip; guns and shields drop for you to pick up. This is a great feature as it makes fighting a little easier, when you can just walk by and automatically pick up what is yours. When you are taking down an Arkfall, ammunition and scrip drop at a vast rate as well.
The graphics look phenomenal and they only seem to look better with each patch. The San Francisco Bay is exotic looking, colorful, and sets the tone for each area you are in. Some places look more deserted and dusty like the Crater which should be an old saloon. There are areas along the bay that are brightly colored that looks like they have been painted before your very eyes. The mix of vibrant colors and large plants show that the world has been at war for several years and the overgrowth has gone far. The blockage the enemies have caused show territorial domination, stopping those who pass.
At first, the game was a little glitchy – jumping on a vehicle and then getting caught in a guard rail, or a gun that is available for pick-up gets was stuck in a rock. The patches that have gone through in the previous weeks have fixed the minor problems that the game had and also help introduce situations like characters who may need help like the Nolan example above, creating new missions for gamers to complete.
Conversations between characters are ongoing, letting the player know what is going on in the surrounding world. Looped music plays and changes area to area or for a series of quests, which provides the needed shift in the score between battle and exploring. The sounds of gunfire become slightly muted when your Ego kicks in and lets you know you are in an area that needs help such as a handful of Ninety-Niners that need to be brought down, or an Arkfall on the premises, or even hellbugs taking over the immediate area while pheromones fill the air causing them to come in with waves.
Overall, the sounds go perfect with the game, setting the tone and areas you venture into – the sounds immerse you as you mindlessly wander into quests with thousands of other players.
Defiance is visually astonishing and has some better gameplay as an MMO in my book than any other MMO out on the market today. It is awesome that you can jump online, play with countless others and assist one another defeating the waves of mercenaries coming out at you in a bid to reach the Ark Tech.
It’s great that a third player MMO has been brought to multiple platforms including the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. It’s fun to let loose and let the mind wander as this is a game you really do not have to actively concentrate on, whatever your gameplay style is; whether it is strategically moving from one place to another, sniping down targets from afar or running and gunning with the other players who join you in your quests. With the drop of DLC’s in the future, this game will only continue to get better with each patch and the added content. Defiance is my choice for game of the year and a great addition to my game case.