Saturday, January 25, 2014

When Good Games Go Bad

Yeah, I know, the title is a bit on the dramatic side...forgive me, it sounds awesome and I had to use it.

Debbie & I have been playing a ton of Defiance on the 360 lately.  It came out in April 2013 and the price point dropped embarrassingly fast.  It is an MMO which is pretty intriguing and awesome on the console, as my MMO experience before this was only WoW.

Us ladies of Achievos have fairly similar taste in games, but somehow we rarely end up playing the same stuff.  If we do play the same game, I'm usually playing it about a year after Debbie has already completed and re-sold it.  So it has been super fun to have this game that we can run around in together and kill all the evil, diseased masses.  The game is an MMO, so we do see lots of other people in game as well.  But seeing them running around is pretty much as much interaction as you're going to get.

And this is where the good game goes bad.

Defiance has an unbelievable amount of potential.  It is fun.  It is a functional console MMO.  It has a large world map, easy travel, a number of weapons that would rival Borderlands, and multiple skill trees to build out your perfect character.

That said, it is the least multi-player MMO that I have ever heard of.  The grouping option is sloppy at best,
Hey, I see you over there. Wish we could interact.
as we are constantly booted from our group for no apparent reason.  And the group questing is also confusing.  If one character has already completed the mission, they often can't see everything going on, and their partner will freeze and disappear during cutscenes or to fight bosses that are no longer available to you.  There are clans, but we have unsuccessfully joined a couple and there doesn't seem to be much benefit to being in them.  Although that might just be because we haven't found a great, active one yet.

The world map is large, but the quests are extremely repetitive.  I hope you like ranchers, because you're going to be saving the same few groups of them day in and day out.  Yes, it is a reputation daily quest, but there are story lines and side missions that have you doing the same thing over and over too.  And the game is notoriously bad for having you travel 100 meters to pick up a quest, then 200 meters to get the next piece of information, 150 meters to kill 3 guys...etcetc..  It gets old quick.  At least there is fast travel, and the vehicles (while easily stopped on any small barrier) are super fun and quick to drive.

Finally, the weapons.  There are approximately 80 gazillion to choose from.  There are all of your favorite types. Prefer pistols? Snipers? Shotties?  We've got it all.  And on top of that, there are 4 or 5 different variations.  Sawed-off shotguns, pump action, combat...  And you are constantly getting loot.  New and amazing things to shoot.  And mods to make them even better!  But heaven help you if you can manage all of this with the awkward menus, impossible to compare weapon lists, and constant juggling of those mods.  It's fun, but good luck.  I find myself keeping my old trusty weapons and mostly scrapping or selling everything else.

Now you may be wondering why we're playing if it's just got so many hiccups.  Why?  Why are we pouring hours and hours into leveling up our guns and characters and searching Paradise for the random information stash?  Because it is really fun.  Even though the game has its issues, it is still a blast.  And remember when I said the price point was embarrassingly low soon out of the gate? That is a glaring hint to you, readers.  If you haven't picked up this game, go get it.  The more of us who play, the more fun it will be.

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