Defiance Review: Episode 2 "Down In the Ground Where the Dead Men Go" & Video Game
Erep Sitrep 2
By: John T.
Welcome again to the Erep Sitrep (my little corner of Cosmic Book News) to discuss everything about Defiance. The first sitrep was rather lengthy so this week I promise to keep it on the shorter side now that all of the initial setup is out of the way. Unfortunately, this will be less about differences and comparisons about the game and show than it will be just my opinion on how both have been going so far since, well, there really wasn't anything linking the two this week.
In the game, the only thing after the prologue missions was a set of three pursuits for Episodes 1 and 2. These had nothing to do with anything in the show and could have been any other weekly goals. Yes, there was a celebration in the show, but it wasn't for Armistice Day; it was for the city of Defiance and not the end of the Pale Wars. The game itself saw a major patch last week and several smaller ones which has since done a lot to improve it. All the credit goes to Trion as they are really trying to make everything work despite any complications set forth by SyFy. Some sources have said Defiance was released almost four months ahead of when Trion would've liked, and I think that hurt the name since the two maintain such a close relationship. Still, I feel that when the game is four months old we will see what it could have, and I plan to stick with it.
An interesting side note is that on Trion's Twitch.tv page, it isn’t listed as an MMO but an “Open World Third Person Shooter.” Even the Steam Product Release calls it that. They didn't do much to dispel the idea that this wasn't an MMO, and I think that also worked against them. If it was indeed always meant to be more of a single player experience, that would explain many of the (if not most of) the problems the game initially had, and I hope for the game’s sake that everything works out.
As for the second episode of the show, where to begin with that? If I had seen the show before playing the game I can say after only two episodes I may never have gotten involved with it. At first it seemed alright, but the second episode washed that away for me and it wasn't the actors or the locations or even the cars; for me this episode was spoiled by its writing. Dramatic moments seemed wasted and poorly set up. The actors’ lines seemed too rehearsed and the actions too predictable, yet personalities were inconsistent. Nolan’s Daughter, for instance, goes from hating towns, not wanting to settle in, ready to leave Defiance to the hands of invaders, to a town girl standing with The Deputy, risking her life to save a man from being tortured. In a single episode she has totally switched, and let's not forget the clear romantic potential developing between her and The Deputy (frankly I don't even find his name worth looking up).
I really wish the show had some better writers, but sadly it seems all the talent (and money) went to the graphics and casting department. Everyone fits their roles well in my opinion, but they can only do so much. The best thing to come out of Monday's episode was the first clue of how to get carried over from the game to the show. It’s a step in the right direction as we head deeper into the world of Defiance and I can barely wait for the second season to see just how everything will develop; although I feel I will be making this statement a lot in the coming months: "Hopefully season 2 will be better," will be my motto when it comes to Defiance. Who knows, maybe it will end up surprising us all, but as for me and my clan, we remain mostly unimpressed.