The more we see of Defiance, the more we start to like it. What started out as a confident yet flawed television series has developed into a worthwhile sci-fi set piece with an intriguing backdrop and cast of characters.
Much like the previous episode, “The Serpent’s Egg” immediately earns itself some brownie points by addressing events from earlier within the series. A couple of shows back, viewers were given a further insight into Irathient culture as Nolan and Irisa locked horns with Rynn during the latter’s attempt to swarm Defiance in a deadly Hellbug back.
Though absent from episode four, Rynn reappears this week as Nolan and Amanda’s prisoner. The pair set out on a journey to offload Rynn, although the Irathient outlaw isn’t the only precious cargo to board the land coach; Nolan has also been tasked by the mayor with transferring a payload of Scrip to the authorities in order to fund travel infrastructure both to and from Defiance. Not everything goes to plan however, as the convoy runs into a raider ambush.
Meanwhile, with Nolan out of town, Irisa and Tommy (Dewshane Williams) assume his Lawkeeping duties. As we’ve seen before, however, Irisa doesn’t really know how to play good cop as one of her visions leads her to pursue a shifty Castithan merchant.
While the events unfolding on board the land coach may be more action-centric, this subplot is by far the highlight of the episode. What could have been a class-A exhibit of ham-fisted character development turns into a sort of “origin” story for Irisa as we learn more about her past, and more importantly, how she met Nolan.
Episode five makes for compelling viewing with a number of its key moments triggering foreshadowing what’s to come. The only thing Defiance needs now is to maintain its current level of consistency and, hopefully, we’ll see the pay off as we drift into mid-season.
There are very few examples to go by, but if there is one thing all console MMOs share in common its that visual fidelity isn’t at the top of their priorities. Though its environments are large in scale and heavily populated with players and NPCs, there’s something about Defiance that looks mundane and dated.
Landscapes are coloured in the same exotic yet repetitive hue and character models desperately lack variety. These artistic oversights will no doubt frustrate some players though one has to remember that, as an MMO, Defiance needed to roll back certain elements to ensure everything runs perfectly.
With that said, Trion Worlds looks set to shake things up with the arrival of its first major content drop. Though yet to receive an official launch date, the ten-dollar premium expansion will deliver new content in form of missions, pursuits, and game modes.
Not only that, it will also feature Castithans as a playable race whilst introducing new Charge and Blade weapon types. The latter two additions will also be available to regular players along with a suite of improvements and other add-ons such as TV-centric missions.
To round this week off we have even more good news. Just days ago SyFy confirmed that it has renewed Defiance for a second series which is already in production. Hopefully this latest development will allow both the game and television show to expand in the years to come.