To be fair, the new television show Defiance seems like exactly my cup of tea. Dystopian America? Check. Aliens? Check. Created by the guy responsible for Farscape? Hells yeah. Upon watching the Pilot, I kind of feel like someone jumped into my brain and made a show pieced together from everything I grew up on.

I had the pleasure of taking part in the Beta for the game version of Defiance. I walked away from it not overwhelmed, but sufficiently impressed. On PC, it seems to simply be another offering in the somewhat over-saturated MMO market, offering aliens and assault rifles in place of ogres and swords. Where it seems to shine, on the other hand, is in the fact that is not PC exclusive. Console MMO gaming is, admittedly, a bit of an anemic genre, with (on PS3 at least) only a handful of offerings, such as DC Universe Online and FreeRealms, both F2P, and sadly it shows.

I am no stranger to the MMO. Like many of you, I had my phase of WoW addiction, and am no stranger to Guild Wars or even Everquest (For those of you just joining us in the genre, Everquest was the digital equivalent of cocaine back in the day. Then World of WarCrack came out, and it sadly was never the same.) So far, Defiance seems to be able to stand on it's own two legs as an MMO offering, and it gives some insight as to how a Borderlands MMO would feel. Like many others, there were some hiccups in the early days, but that is nothing new to the genre, and network errors seem to have worked themselves out.

I find myself a fan of both aspects of this unique concept. The show is one giant ball of my nerdy obsessions, and the game is a solid offering, though maybe not the very best out there. However, I find myself wondering how these two aspects will end up blending. Will it be Chocolate and Peanut Butter, with two great tastes that taste good together? Or are we looking at salsa and ice cream, with two great things that might just make you sick if you blend them?

It seems a smart idea to set the two aspects in different parts of the same world, given the fact that the live-action television show has to be recorded months in advance, and can't exactly turn on a dime if something goes unexpected in the game. This separation, though, is exactly what worries me. Defiance was touted as an all-encompassing experience. It's a game you can watch! It's a show you can play! Given the story we have so far, though, there is a bit of room to worry about how well these aspects will blend. Defiance, which has set up roots in what was once St. Louis, Missouri, stands as an independent city-state, free of government any higher than the town's mayor. It seems a bit like this may be the norm for much of the country, if not the world. The show seems to be mostly confined to the (quite literal) bubble cast around this city.

Early advertising made large promises, telling us that how we played the game will affect what we see on the show. From the get-go, this seems like the concept of the show is a choose-your-own adventure book, with the MMO acting as the options on the bottom of the page, to see where your options lead you. While it is still a bit too early to tell, I'm starting to get the idea that the 'interactivity' between them may be guest characters from the show popping up in the game, or a passing line of dialogue in the show that a handful of players will collective go "Hey! I got that reference!"

I will keep an open mind, but I am sufficiently worried that the biggest, coolest aspect of the show/game hybrid may very well go the way of the Virtual Boy, with a lot of money going to a half-baked concept. Regardless, both aspects seem to be sufficiently awesome if consumed separately. I feel like, even if the cross-media interactivity bombs, each individual aspect is string enough to stand on its own. Still, it would be fantastic to hear Julie Benz make a moving speech about the heroes of the latest battle of San Francisco, AssBlaster69 and DirtyDirtySanchez...

Just Saying....

Travis   Admin wrote on 04/19/2013 at 09:57pm

I just want to hear Julie Benz say "ass blaster" personally. That would be sufficiently hilarious.

How is she on the show? I know her from Buffy/Angel and Dexter, and both of those characters were, to some extent, meant to be hated. I kinda felt like she could do a badass hero or just an all around good character quite well, but we never got to see that.

Also, which platform did you play this on? You discussed the PC/Console differences but didn't mention which one you played it on.

Nick_Donahoo   Post Author wrote on 04/19/2013 at 11:15pm

I played the beta on both PC and PS3. PS3 was a pretty smooth experience, and PC always seemed to have a hard time staying connected.

She plays a politician, which kinda goes with the whole hated thing. Though her character is kind of a badass, If nothing else, she's sassy enough to suggest that the main character, in need of some quick cash, look for employment at the local brothel...

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