A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Defiance is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) third-person shooter in which thousands of players explore the same world simultaneously while attacking human and alien enemies with a broad assortment of guns. Based on a TV show of the same name, the depiction of violent acts isn't as bloody as many other shooters, but it still involves blood effects, grunts, and screams. Infrequent references to sex and drugs appear occasionally in voice and text dialogue. Parents will also want to note this game employs an optional micro-transaction system for spending real-world money on items that may help players grow their character more quickly.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
A companion to the Syfy sci-fi action/drama series of the same name, DEFIANCE is set in a near-future world in which aliens have arrived on Earth, engaged in global wars with humanity, and radically transformed the planet's geography and ecology. The threat of mutual extinction has led to uneasy alliances, forcing humans and aliens to live together in small frontier communities. The game is removed from the show's St. Louis setting, taking place instead within the Bay Area. Players traverse a vast semi-alien landscape as "ark hunters;" people who scavenge powerful tech that occasionally rains to the Earth as alien ship wrecks burn up in the atmosphere. This is an MMO, so thousands of players can be found roaming alone or in groups while working on an enormous array of plot-driven and optional quests.
Is it any good?
You can't fault Syfy and developer Trion Worlds for lack of ambition. Launching a major game -- an MMO, no less -- alongside a complex and expensive sci-fi TV show couldn't have been an easy task. Credit is due the teams of writers and designers who poured years into creating and fleshing out this expansive world and its rich and detailed back story. Alas, this constantly evolving game just doesn't seem to be clicking quite yet -- and not just because of its broad assortment of launch bugs (which are, unfortunately, to be expected in an MMO).
The show is driven by compelling characters engaged in social, religious, political, and family problems that simply aren't present in the game, making it feel hollow by comparison. Plus, the shooting action is pure vanilla. It can be fun in short bursts, but problems including overly long reloading time, the lack of a proper covering system, and enemies that simply swarm the player's position make it something less than satisfying. Fervent fans of the show may find something of interest here, but average gamers can take a pass.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you feel differently about games in which you can attack characters controlled by other humans compared to those in which all enemies are controlled by the computer?
Families can also compare conflicts between the game and TV show's various terrestrial and extraterrestrial races to those between human races in the real world. Do you find any similarities?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Subjects: Science: geology
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Trion Worlds
- Release date: April 2, 2013
- Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.