Defiance TV Tie-ins #5

sicknessDefiance is a multiplatform (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) MMO third person shooter, based in the universe of the SyFy television series of the same name, which is in its first season as of the time of this writing. Invisible Gamer has reviewed the core game and now continues its look at the MMO’s content as it, as designed, evolves to connect with the TV show. (See our coverage of the firstsecondthird, and fourth rounds of such content.) This time, we look at content released during the “dead weeks” following the television episode Brothers in Arms.

Due to the Memorial Day holiday, SyFy delayed the episode Good Bye Blue Sky from May 27 until June 3. This left players in a bit of a quandary. There had been no new content whatsoever released to coincide with the show’s May 20 episode, Brothers in Arms, and, given that most new content is released around the same time that a new episode airs, it seemed likely that no new content would arrive until June 3. Fortunately, this was not the case, but new content, while varied, was rather light.

New Traditional Content

This update, following the 1.020 patch for the game, was the smallest thus far, but interesting to see. Much like the changes made to add in elemental Hellbugs to tie into the episode The Devil in the Dark, this update was in the form of content that appeared naturally in the game world, rather than through Episode Missions that were “closed off” behind the act of actually choosing to start the mission. In this case, several areas of the game (Top Notch Toolworks, Ara Shondu’s Consulate, etc.) were updated to include areas in which sick humans were being treated for an unidentified disease that seemed to be tied into the Irathients in the community (the same species as Irisa in the show and the only non-human species that players can choose to be at this point).

To go along with these new triage areas, a new set of Episode Pursuits was added, Plague, which consisted of a single Pursuit (so far): Hunting the Cure. To complete this Pursuit, players were to hunt down three new data recorders that were added into the game at the triage areas (one each at Shondu’s Consulate, Iron Demon Ranch, and Top Notch Toolworks). These provided interesting background to the unexpected situation in the game, but the recorders were all in plain sight and could all be gathered (if one knew where to look) in the span of about five minutes of gameplay (including loading times between fast travel jumps).

New Oddball Content

During this gap between episodes, we also saw the return of a special Time Trial (racing to get a gold trophy) that would unlock the ability to purchase new colors of the Dodge Challenger vehicle in the game.

Those looking for new contests in hopes of winning something in the real world or acknowledgement from Trion Worlds were also provided with two new ways to compete with other players directly. First, Challenges began being issued by the creative team in their Across the Badlands streaming “Behind the Scenes” program. Essentially, the team gave a time limit of one hour after the program aired online for fans to kill the most of a particular enemy type. Second, a similar set of challenges became part of a new contest, the Dodge Defiance Arkfall Sweepstakes, in which one could win real-world prizes like a trip, a game console, or other items.

Also, while not being new “content,” per se, Defiance did experience its first “bonus loot weekend” during the first weekend of June, which was a nice reward for players during that time.

The Verdict

While the new illness emerging in the game’s storyline and the extremely quick and simple Pursuit that it provided are an interesting addition to the game’s setting, it was also such a fast, easy Pursuit that it amounts to very little in terms of new content. It was not outright broken like some earlier Pursuits, but its minimal size would probably have marked this one for a grade of D or F. However, the fact that this was an “off week” for the television show, yet we still saw new content, and the addition of the Across the Badlands challenge, Dodge’s sweepstakes, and bonus loot weekend serve to help balance this out, even if they did not represent new actual content in the game. For an off week, this minimal addition and its contest-style companions leave this Defiance update with a grade of…