Defiance does take a page out of Guild Wars 2's playbook in how you share the game world with other players. In some cases, when you enter a mission area where players have already started its corresponding quest, the game will still give you credit for helping so you don't have to wait for it to reset. On top of that, you'll also earn a chunk of XP from enemies you've damaged in combat even if someone else lands the killing blow, so you don't have to worry too much about anyone stealing your kill. It's a nice touch that ensures you never have to break your flow to wait for the game to catch up.
Along with its more lackluster elements, Defiance isn't free of technical issues either. Weapon models will sometimes take a while to load in, once in a while enemies will slide across the map instead of invoking their attack or movement animations, and a few times after a receiving a radio transmission from an NPC, my character's hand would hilariously remain fixed next to their earpiece. The worst bug you might encounter is when the map or inventory screens take several minutes to load. Game-breaking bugs are thankfully rare, but like the problems with formulaic missions and lack of variety in your character's design, these glitches just reinforce the feeling that the game in its current state is unpolished.
The most fun you'll have in Defiance will be during the Arkfall events. At random intervals in certain parts of the game world, pieces of the Votan's starships still floating in orbit will crash down to Earth in the form of a giant glowing crystal. Players who check out the crystals can participate in either trying to blast apart them apart or defend them from enemies within a set time period, and these sequences are the best way to nab tons of experience, resources, and sometimes high quality loot. The larger Arkfall events, which involve an all out war between dozens of players trying to gun down a monstrous bug creature and its minions, can devolve into a seriously chaotic clusterfuck with all the bullets, grenades and laser beams flying around. Still, there's something kind of cool about the chaos of a semi-organized group of players all working towards the same goal.
Bottom Line: Defiance is a middle-of-the road third-person shooter that never seems to fully capitalize on its alien-filled, post apocalyptic setting.
Recommendation: If you're really looking to play a sci-fi shooter, there are worse choices out there, but you'll probably want to hold off to see if you like Defiance the TV series before jumping into Defiance the game.
This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
Developer: Trion Worlds
Publisher: Trion Worlds
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360