This was before I knew it was being developed by Trion Worlds. Once this little piece of information was given to me I decided that instead of watching some guys play Blops 2, I would instead spend the next hour or so diving head first into the world of Defiance.
Now that it's released and I have spent just over thirty total hours playing, I feel I'm ready to give you my somewhat-detailed first-impression piece.
The easiest, and oddly most accurate, way to describe Defiance is to have you imagine Borderlands, Red Faction, Test Drive Unlimited, and Rift combined. On one end you have a crisp third-person shooter, much like Red Faction. By simply pressing 'Up' on the d-pad you can summon your vehicle, which you can drive freely across a massive area similar to Test Drive Unlimited. Nearly every enemy you kill drops loot, both common and exceptionally rare, allowing you the opportunity to collect hundreds of different items and weapons, Borderlands style.
Then there's the Rift component. You see, Defiance isn't just a third-person loot-and-shoot game. It's also an MMO. You can team up with hundreds of players and take down side quests, main missions, random encounters, and the meat of the game, Arkfalls. These Arkfalls are where the main similarity between Rift and Defiance lies in that they are random instances that require dozens of players to take down - much like Rifts.
So what have I done at the 30-hour mark you ask? Well, not a whole lot to be honest. Okay, let me rephrase that. I've done a lot of random shit, without progressing the main story at all. Which is what makes Defiance so beautiful. I can pop online, drive around the world sniping enemies in the face for hours, all the while leveling up not only my character but my gun and driving skill as well.
If that gets dull, I can jump into an Arkfall, finish a few random quests (Hotshots require insane skill to acquire a Gold medal), play a few rounds of PvP, finish a coop mission, or more fun than all of that, try to ramp my vehicle off a cliff as far as possible.
The farthest I've managed to get is 126 meters. #justsayin
Which to me is what separates a good MMO from a great one.
Scores are out of 100 and are meant to be taken very seriously.