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Ok I've put in a fairly solid day's play in the beta today time for some thoughts about this game.
Firstly, this game is a basically shooter version of Rift. Defiance has Arkfalls instead of Rifts but it's the same boring thing over and over. I did perhaps 25-30 rifts today in the game and they only come in 3 sorts.
1) Shoot crystals while killing bugs.
2) Shoot bugs near a crystal.
3) Run away from giant bugs in a ring of crystals.
That got boring very quickly. If this is going to be the main focus of the game it's not going to do well.
Main story quests are voice acted and are ok fun wise. Side quests seem to only have one sort and that is click on quest, get some standardist voiceover about how the soldier needs you to do this but he can't for some weak reason. Then run/drive to an area and click on 3-4 items scattered around the area while shooting stuff. That's it for side quests as far as I could see.
There are also some mini game quests which seem to be a time trial driving mission and a survive until you die mission. I only did each type once because they didn't interest me that much but it's good to see this sort of thing in a game.
I didn't try PvP (is there PvP? I've read there is but the UI is so bad I'm still having trouble trying to find how to exit).
Poor. This game has significantly less customisation than SWTOR and similar games.
Very limited customisation. No body customisation. No clothing colour customisation, althougth the game does have different outfit you can find/buy somewhere I believe because other players were more glammed up than me. There are 2 races (human, red humans), around 8 hair styles and a similar number of colours. You can also change your face a bit by changing the nose/mouth/jaw. However seeing you rarely see your own character's face in game this is a waste of time. You can also change some tatoos (again to face for my character).
I missed the option to change hairstyle etc the first time I created a character because they aren't obvious. A lot of people were apparently missing this from what I've read elsewhere.
Very smooth gameplay on my computer. No crashing issues as all so seems to be a stable game.
I had one server disconnection and I found one bugged quest that I had to repeat twice before I got completion credit. Also one quest that when you click on the object it teleports you high up in the air and drops you, but there is no falling damage so this isn't a major issue.
The vehicles are ok but seem a little difficult offroad (but fast on road and you seem to get better at driving over time).
As a shooter it seems to run fairly smoothly but I did find latency as issue against some enemies when it came to dodging them.
The enemies were fairly easy to kill with the exception of the Militant Grenadier who killed me every time I encountered him with his endless stream of grenades that you have to either constantly dodge or die to and it's impossible to reload while dodging so that makes this guy is basically unkillable solo, while every other enemies in the game I can solo kill with ease (well except the major rift enemies and some of those can be taken down solo as well).
The perks you get don't see that interesting. They all seem to be of the +5%/+10%/+15% less damage if you are doing something or the +3%/+6%/+9% damage if you doing something else. From what I can tell you get 4 possible active abilities but only get the choice of one at the same (and the UI only allows you to use one anyway). I chose decoy which sends a low-life decoy running through the enemies to distract them for a second or two before it dies, but probably would have preferred the cloak. I'm not sure if you can unlock others later.
This has been commented on by others and I agree it is very poor for a PC game. Although I've spent the past 10 mins remmaping my keys to something more familiar and it's working a bit better now (exit menu was F6... why not ESC like every other game?).
Some of it is stupid like not being able to double-click to equip perks and having to go through endless selectors to mod an item (first you have to find the salvage box, then you have to select an item, then you have to select mod item, then you have to choose a mod, then you have to click on mod item and then the game asks you if you want to proceed yes/no and then you finally have a modded item.
There are no damage indicators so you have no idea if you are hitting or damaging some things. You can see the health on weak enemies going down but on the crystals during rifts are you damaging them? How can you tell without any damage numbers.
The is no general chat. I believe the people with white names running around could be other players but you can't tell because there is no one talking. This is a big no no for MMOs for me. You must have some way to chat to other players otherwise why the hell are you playing with other players. We are social creatures we want to communicate not run around and mime to each other.
The achievements (pursuit) menu is poor as well. I have 1/67 achievements in on category but when I expand that category I have no idea which one I have unless I go through all of them. Until I remapped the key bindings this was another menu I didn't even know existed either.
The loadout only allows you to equip 2 weapons at one times, rather than 1 weapon of each type. But you can change weapons in combat fairly easily.
Ammo is no a major issue for general gameplay but when doing the Rifts, especially the major one you run out of ammo very quickly. It isn't helped when several weapon types all use the same ammo and you chew through 10% of your ammo in a couple of seconds with a good gun and there doesn't seem to be any way to exand the amount you carry like you could in borderlands 2.
Anyway, thats it for now, time for dinner. I'll play some more tomorrow and see if I can find anything worthwhile.
The Enlightened take things Lightly