Defiance Game Poster Image




MMO companion to Syfy TV show focuses on bloody shooting.

What parents need to know

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

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."  

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.

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.


Families can talk 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

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Subjects:Science: geology
Skills:Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Available online?Available online
Developer:Trion Worlds
Release date:April 2, 2013
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
Topics:Space and aliens
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 14 year old Written byOldiesJam65 April 10, 2013

Read Simple review

This game is obviously violent but okay for any kid who has been exposed to videogames before, I don't quite understand it but it seems to be a quality game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written bykeith7198 September 19, 2013

"Defiance" wears thin quick

"Defiance" is a companion game that goes along with the SciFy channel's recent television series. It's a free MMO that has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it loses itself in repetitive gameplay, a flat story, and some annoying content. It's a shame. It does several things right but you grow tired of them rather fast. CONTENT SUMMARY: I haven't watched much of the "Defiance" television show but it's safe to say that this game strays from it considerably. The most notable objection in terms of content is the profanity. It's very heavy with several characters constantly filling lines with choice words that you won't find on the TV series. It's certainly nothing I would want my child to listen to. The only other concern is the violence. There is a lot of gunplay that is divided between aliens and human bandits. But while there are a lot of instances of shooting and vehicular killing, it's certainly not horrible or disturbing. In fact it's easily tolerable. Also beware that this is an MMO so you or your children can easily run across other players. "Defiance" is a classic example of a game that could have easily been suitable for most audiences. But the developer's insistance on forcing profanity into the dialogue just squashes that.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing