Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Defiance Game Poster Image
MMO companion to Syfy TV show focuses on bloody shooting.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

While elements of Defiance focus on teamwork and group play, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive Messages

Like the TV show with which it's associated, some of the issues within this game's sci-fi world -- such as tensions between races -- are allegorical representations of more familiar human problems. That said, the game's primary purpose is to entertain players with spectacular, gun-heavy action and violence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player's character is mute and basically just follows the cues of characters around him/her. Those characters are general good and honest -- like "lawkeepers" -- but some are seedy underworld types looking to make money in less than legal ways, particularly by chasing after powerful ark technology.

Ease of Play

This is a pretty straightforward third-person shooter with standard controls for movement and attacks. However, the complex menu system used for altering character equipment, appearance, upgrades, and mods may take some time to learn. Also take note that enemies can easily overwhelm the player's avatar if he or she chooses to adventure alone rather than with other players.


Players engage in frequent third-person-style gunfights with humans, aliens, and other creatures using a vast arsenal of powerful pistols, rifles, shotguns, rocket launchers, and alien weapons that shoot everything from lightning bolts to creepy crawly bugs that swarm enemies. Blood effects accompany most hits, and characters scream out in pain. You can also run over people with vehicles.


Occasional references to sexuality in dialogue, including the words "rape" and "tramp." 


Infrequent use of strong words -- including "f--k" and "s--t" -- in both voice and text dialogue.


Players can engage in micro-transactions that allow them to purchase in-game advantages, such as the ability to gain money more quickly.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Illicit substances don't appear on screen, but characters sporadically reference drugs and the act of getting "high."  

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 11-year-old Written bypro review man February 20, 2014

10 and up

perfect for kids 10 and up
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bydarrel barns February 20, 2014

blood dosent splatter

the people who play this game are playing in third person,so there is hardly any time to just watch the blood.Also the blood does not look real.I also dont und... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMr Blobby1 June 6, 2015

Excellent as a long-term game

when you play defiance, much of the bad things can be ignored (such as blood, violence and swearing). this means you can get use to the gameplay easily. the mul... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byresponsibilityMan432 July 31, 2013

bad game, bad certifitcate

this is one of those games that doesn't earn its M rating. it is no worse than halo or anything like that. that said, it is not actually a good game.

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?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love playing games with others

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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