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Note that i haven't progressed too far and things are likely subject to change as one plays along or the game getting patched. Hence i say "first impression", i don't claim my points to be definite. These are also rather lose thoughts typed down in a hurry, so without too much coherency.
For a 2013 title, the game is bad -and not in a good way. In a nutshell, "Starship Troopers would like to meet Borderlands".
In my opinion Trion repeats some of the basic mistakes they already did with Rift 2 years ago. And like Rift, Trion invents nothing on their own, but borrows every idea from other games -and is not very good at that in every respective aspect of Defiance (they did that copying way better in Rift i think)
Ok, another "dynamic" world -full of a few constantly repeating events and objectives. I wonder what happens with people who come late to the game once the crowd moved on or the playerbase goes down. Again, alot of the content, immersion and experience relies on having tons of other players around you. You won't be able to solo arkfalls or objectives in those bases (destroy 5 pheromone pods etc) and people will cry nerf on the forums.
Besides from riding around and shooting everything like a maniac you don't do much. In combat, the AI leaves little room for some tactical approach or thoughtful gameplay. My EGO ability was rather used as an "oh shit" button instead of defining my character or giving me feeling of character progression.
The open-world missions are pretty much all of the same kind and have little variation. They are rather just an excuse for even more mindless shooting. The world, despite being pretty huge and good looking here and there, is quite shallow in design.
As far as i saw it, it lacks meaningful locations (in lack of a better term)...like places you like to visit over and over again in your favorite game, areas where you like to hang around in for days or don't get tired to kill stuff in.
I don't get the urge to "kill'em baddies, get 'em big'uns" like i had in Borderlands, nor does the world invite me to explore like i did in i.e. Fallout.
I expected a little more interaction with the environment like opening boxes, entering buildings, stealing vehicles, setting up turrets or building blockades or such. Where are jetpacs? Storywise, everyone talks about terraforming, so why can't i even blow up a phone booth? I don't see any excuse for a 2013 title to not have all this. Climbing ladders and activating terminals is as far as it gets.
Everything about the game screams 2005 to me. The character does feel a bit clunky and not really as "live and direct" as one expects from a supposed to be AAA shooter. Many NPC-models and animations are just terribad and like many other approaches look like someone was just lazy...no fall damage?? Makes sense for vehicle jumps, but therefore disabling it altogether...come on.
For my taste, it is too much of a blunt shooter in disguise and too little of a shooterrpg or whatever some people praised it to be. It's a singleplayergame in which you run into other people, but without being given reason to even talk to them or remember a name. Probably this comes with being a console-game, as the console players wouldn't want to type much i guess...
I can see this game being played by a small dedicated crowd and fans of the tv-show (which looks like one of these typical B-grade SciFi shows to me to be honest), but it won't be the huge hit some expect. It'll be a good title for me to grab on a steam -35% discount when i've got nothing to do on a weekend.
I expect it to get nothing less than an 8 on this site, i'd give it a 6.