Defiance: SyFy’s show and game parallel

Posted: May 8, 2013 by Stealing Shade in Reviews
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What a great idea to parallel a show with a game. Being the first, it’s bound to be more flawed than fun, but that’s what firsts have to go through: the growing pains to pave the way for the rest, and why shouldn’t SyFy, known for extremely poor movies, but great regular programming, be the one to do it? Partnered with Trion Worlds (who has backing from Time Warner Investment and Comcast Ventures), whose Rift was both critically and economically successful, seemed like a great way to make this venture as successful as it possibly could.

Defiance: the Game

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A MMO shooter, Defiance is played near what was once San Fransisco.

Bio Gamer Girl says about the game:

… isn’t the best looking, doesn’t have the highest quality sound design and isn’t completely glitch free. Still, Defiance is a nice looking game considering the massive size of the world even if some structures and character models are a bit distracting. The game’s sound effects and some of its voice acting seem a bit off as well, but breathtaking scenery and a well crafted soundtrack help keep you focused on the mission at hand. Countless missions and leveling both your character and the character’s abilities, perks and weapon proficiencies is what makes or break Defiance for gamers. We really enjoyed the futuristic setting and connecting with other players in a high quality shooter that no other game offers currently. Only time will tell how good Defiance can really be, but we know we will still be playing it long after it has reached its true potential.

Dread Central suggests the game was released prematurely, leaving gamers victim to dealing with annoying AI and glitches that might have been fixed given a longer beta period, though multiple patches have continued to make the game better. I imagine there was a tight deadline to get the game online before the SyFy season began.

Defiance: the Show

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Initially, we were excited about this show. Science fiction brought to an Earth, that isn’t quite Earth. Awesome! Than, a more in-depth preview showed that Defiance was the name of the town, so the show would be centered specifically around this one place, not a traveling adventure. A bit of a drop in excitement after seeing this, but not enough to completely write the show off before checking it out.

The two-hour opening was great, enlightening us that one of the producers of Farscape was also a producer of Defiance (Rockne S. O’Bannon). Our excitement rose. Initially, we caught some of this Farscapedness; in the look of Irisa, in the thick sarcasm in the face of death-like circumstances most pointedly in Nolan. Excitement was back that we’d found a show we’d really fall in love with.

Into the third episode, this Farscapedness was buried in the battle of juggling too many character sub-plots. Character development is obviously important this early on, but the tension built-in the two-hour season opener, with the attack of the Volge, conspired through some in-house politicking we’re still unsure of, quickly falls off in the day-to-day-ing. When father and son (Rafe & Quentin) discover cave paintings showing possible explanations for the artifact Luke died over, there was physical discomfort. Numerous alien races come to Earth, one of which terraforms the planet into a new world, and we have cave paintings to drive the story?

Defiance: CG & production value

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Volge

After a discussion about Once Upon A Time‘s decision to green screen virtually every scene in the enchanted forest (we can’t believe it’s economical to contract these things out versus building sets and creating costumes, but it must be true if that’s what they’re doing?), the same point came up with Defiance. Remember the Scarrans from Farscape? They looked great, yet the decision to go digital with the Volge seems to explain a complete lack of faith in practical effects. As cool as these new villains look, we’re still fans of the real-deal Scarrans over the computer generated thugs.

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Staleek, Scarran Emperor from FarScape

Current Opinion

There’s still much time for explanations and redemption. The acting is great, and there’s definitely a fan base behind the main characters. There’s still faith that this will be the show we like enough to follow live (season 5 of Supernatural was the last time that happened). Our fingers are crossed that this isn’t another Walking Dead bait and switch.

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