I finally got around to trying Defiance, rented it on the PS3, as I didn't think it was worth buying on the PC (suspect I was right on that one). Played about 90 minutes before I couldn't stomach any more. After a lengthy patching process I created my characters, the creator is fairly limited in options but I have seen far worse. After which you are thrown into a lengthy cut scene where the two main characters from the TV show make an appearance. Your character is an “Ark Hunter” which I gather is some sort of treasure hunter out to find old technology. If this sounds a little like Vault Hunter from Borderlands, then it should. There are quite a few similarities between the two games, such as lootable weapons and regenerating shields..
Once I finally get to play the game, I find that the world is drab to say the least. Multiple shades of brown and grey, and this colour palette applies to pretty much everything in the game. This leads to one of my biggest complaints about the game. The enemies are often indistinguishable from the backgrounds, to the point where I would start getting shot at and have to look at the minimap for red dots to figure out where the enemy is. This does not lead to fun.
Other things that don't lead to fun it the actual shooting. It feels weak and inconsequential, I was firing a big light machine gun and it wasn't satisfying at all. Something like Borderlands gets around this by having silly weapons and bonuses, however all the weapons in Defiance seem to be boring versions of the same pistol, machine gun etc. Even the driving isn't that great, though driving the quad bike thing was more fun than the shooting. All this leads to quite an unengaging world, not helped by some pretty terrible dialogue and unoriginal characters. I have only watched the first episode of the TV show but that seemed pretty hackneyed as well.
As far as players, considering it is a Sunday morning I only saw a handful of people. It is possible there are more people playing at higher levels. I feel that I may be being a little harsh but I couldn't help but think that Borderlands 2 (which I have been playing recently) with a couple of friends is way more fun than Defiance. It isn’t bad per se, more dull, which I think in a crowded market is worse. If you are in the market for a mmo shooter, I would hold out for Firefall, which is at the very least colourful.