Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My love hate relationship with Defiance

When Defiance was announced I thought it would be the second coming of Battlestar Galactica. Until I watched the first episode.

I found it to be cliched, boring, and full of dumb things that seemed to be put in there just to cater to nerds. I also found it utterly confusing and heading in 100 different directions at once.

What happened to the Earth? Who were these aliens? Why did the Earth look like an aquarium? What the hell was that stuff floating in space? Who the fuck were the Volge and why were they attacking this town in the last 20 minutes of the show for no reason.

I wrote the show off for about 9 weeks.

Recently I decided to put the video game Defiance through its paces in hopes that playing that game would let me learn more about the show. I didn't want to give up as something inside me told me that maybe I should sit down and force myself to watch episode 2.

In game meanwhile (I had played the beta and written it off as well) I decided to learn the ropes and ignore the hideous interface. Despite one of the worst chat systems in an online game ever I managed to forge ahead and learn how things were done. Eventually I grew to love logging in and blowing things up. Even if the game was worthless at one point due to the same old same old I was determined to value out of it.

Defiance the game has terrible chat functions, an interface worse than Borderlands 2 and quite a few bugs here and there (like getting stuck on terrain) but for some reason I kept playing. Then I got my girlfriend involved and we found even more irritating issues with grouping and phasing (something Blizzard really perfected in what...2008?) but we kept playing together. Despite all the setbacks we were logging hours and having fun. 

I went back to the TV show. I watched the episode where

"A Castithan willingly undergoes torture to compensate for his cowardice in the defense of the town, but Irisa stops the ritual. A traitor who destroyed the town's field generator flees to a series of underground caverns in the ruins of Old St. Louis and attempts to force a nuclear reactor to explode, destroying the town above."

After I saw underground St. Louis I was hooked. The show had me. It was also quite violent and no one was safe from dying.

So then I watched number 3...and then 4 and then a marathon of 5,6,7,8 and so on using Comcast On Demand. 

I read all I could on Wikipedia and became somewhat of a Defiance expert. My question still exists however: If you are going to make a TV show with so much going on why on God's Green Earth do you force people to go to a Wiki to learn your show's history and background. No flashbacks, no flash forwards, no explanations no nothing. We did get a few brief commercials and some flash backs in later episodes but honestly they still have not explained WHAT THE HELL E-REP (Earth Republic) is. Or why it is considered the evil empire (I had my generic sci-fi suspicions but still). 

As I watched more of the show I noticed some characters popping up in my game with quests related to TV show episodes. I found this quite cool even though the game was set in San Francisco. 

So as I go forward my opinions on the TV show are now very high. I am addicted to the characters even though I could do without the lame teen couple with their emo issues. I love Nolan and I have to understand that the show is more of a border town western type theme than a epic sci fi tale. Once you accept that each week will be a border town story then you can start to appreciate it more as I went in with the wrong feeling toward it.

Now as for the game who knows. I can see Trion doing a lot with it but will they? There are some points where I think the game would have been better as a true MMO. Along the lines of Fallen Earth. Set it in St. Louis, let us meet the townsfolk, give us dangerous DLC areas to explore and make it a semi action MMO shooter. However as a straight up shooter I am not sure how long the game can last. With Destiny and Planetside 2 and some others out there Trion has their work cut out for them. They need to make the world feel more alive and they need to fix the hideous interface and tools they have given the community. 

At any rate what I am saying is before you watch the show go to WikiPedia and do the research. It makes things 100% clearer. And I do not mean the Defiance Wiki either. You will want to go here and read about it:


By the way the soundtrack is good as well. You can look it up on Google Play. The theme music, while 23 seconds long, is haunting and sticks with you.

1 comment:

  1. The more they withhold, the more they have available to throw out as they see fit. I agree that there's a lot of exposition that would have been NICE to have had at the beginning, but they can also ensure that they're not entering into some kind of continuity conundrum where they said one thing early on, and then decided they needed to change it later.

    Plus I think they held back to leverage this transmedia thing. While the game doesn't provide much of a story itself, loading up the show with all of the "must see" stuff would be redundant to explain it in the game as well.