Video Game Review: DEFIANCE Beta

Was the Xbox 360 DEFIANCE Beta everything they said it would be and more…? Read on for the answer.

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No. The answer is no. Not even close. In fact, it was probably the absolute worst beta I have ever played, and I’m a beta junkie. No probably about it… it was, the worst. Allow me to tell you why.

The DEFIANCE beta for Xbox 360 went live on Friday, Mar. 22nd (8 AM PDT) and finished on Wednesday Mar. 27th (8 AM PDT). This was third round, Advance Mission 3, and the first that Xbox users got a crack at it. And while it certainly went live at that time, I couldn’t actually log on until a few hours later. The funny thing is, I progressed further than many players did, who reported getting nothing more than a blank black screen after the automatic menu patch tool.

When I ‘was’ able to start the game, the first task is to create a character. There was very little in customization, a few different faces, classes, races, and left me wondering how I could truly distinct myself from the countless other beta players, and if it was going to be this shallow in the retail game.

A few cut scenes with my customized character inserted (voice syncing off) and I was off into a broken and lengthy tutorial. I had to trick a certain part where it teaches you to melee in order to progress, and even that took forever. The problem throughout the tutorial, and the entire beta, was that half the time, enemies didn’t even fire at me. They would stand there stationary, facing a wall, with not much differentiating them from the scenery. The other half, they would stay on the screen long after I had emptied their health bar, and commenced to empty mine. The hit detection was absolutely horrendous.

Then the missions started. It was cool to see hundreds of people racing across a landscape to an objective, but the missions themselves were boring. Hopefully the early quests in the retail version will keep players involved, to not give up and be overcome with the grinding that goes along with most MMORPGs. This is where RIFT, Trion Worlds previous game did extremely well.

When they introduced the vehicle mission, I was confused about the scheme in general, seeing many players around me getting into and out of SUVs and quads that I couldn’t interact with. They also had no mass, I could simply walk right through the cars or be run over with no consequence. In truth, the whole beta was nothing but confusion.

The hit detection problems continued and actual lag was forming in clusters, shifting space and time with your character, you know what I mean. When the enemies did die and they dropped loot, I couldn’t even get a marker allowing me to pick it up. Bands of guys and girls, would move back and forth over the dropped gun or grenade mod, this was comical to watch after I’ve given up all hope. The lag got so corrupt, in some areas, simply switching weapons with the Y button would be a chore unto itself. Frequently I would run out of ammunition and die before swapping to my secondary. Jamming the Y button and cursing ensued in more than one instance.

After roughly four hours of this, upon all the discouragement, I spent the rest of that initial weekend playing the newly released GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT. And that my friends was the last I played of the DEFIANCE beta, for when I tried to log back in the rest of the week, I fell victim to the same log in issues everyone else had and couldn’t get past the menu screen.

I began following DEFIANCE on Twitter, only for them to assure us that they’re working on the issues and what not. They said this almost every day. I also read somewhere on their Twitter posts, that this was an earlier build, and the retail version wouldn’t have these problems. What I want to know is why even do a beta, with an earlier build, if you know that it wouldn’t work? The answer is probably because they promised us one with the preorder. Also most likely the reasoning behind why the Xbox beta was the last to release, try until the last minute to make it playable. Well, Trion Worlds, it wasn’t playable, it didn’t work. It only hurt your reputation in my eyes. Though a friend of mine stated that the PlayStation beta worked like a clock.

Even after all of this, I’m keeping my preorder and will be off to pick it up in a few hours. But I may just be setting myself up for disappointment, knowing that this current generation of consoles won’t likely be able to handle hundreds of people per server, without sacrificing environments and other elements that make the ambiance and atmosphere of a game tolerable. They may have the hit detection issues fixed for the retail build, or… they may not. Regardless, I’ll be back with a full review, once the game is completed that is.

Wow, even as I’m writing this, the recycling of the same Twitter message is plaguing the midnight release crowd:

“Xbox and PS3 Connection Issues: We are aware of the issues for Xbox 360 and PS3 servers. We are looking into this issue. #Defiance”

 

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Christopher Gibson

Chris can be found only at night, playing vast hours of XBox 360, reading uniquely disturbing novels, and scouring Netflix for late sixties horror flicks. He has 69,000 Gamerscore and counting. Supposedly at the age of three, he beat Super Mario Bros. on NES, though possesses no recollection of this. Writing novels since the age of fourteen, he hopes to one day publish them. On Friday nights, he is seen at the local indie film theater, then the pubs next door shortly after, for thorough critique among friends. Follow him on Twitter @Literaryman420

 

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