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Video Game / Defiance

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Defiance is a Massively Multiplayer Online Third-Person Shooter developed by Trion Worlds, released in April 2, 2013 for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and serving as a tie-in for the TV series. Although the series was cancelled in 2015 after three seasons, the game goes on.

The game's plot runs parallel to the series' story with the Player Character being one of many Ark Hunters hired by the United Earth Republic as part of an expedition sponsored by Von Bach Industries to the ruins of San Francisco to search for Ark technology and to establish a foothold in the region. The Player Character is implanted with an A.I named E.G.O and teams up with an Irathien scavenger named Cass Ducar, renowned technology C.E.O Karl Von Bach and Lawbringer Jon Cooper, as they travel across San Francisco trying to stop an xenophobic alien faction - thought to have dissolved after the Pale Wars - trying to activate an Ark to wage war against humanity and those willing to co-exist with them.


In July 2018, the game was relaunched as Defiance 2050 with better graphics, rebalanced gameplay, items, weapons and events, and was also released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the reasons for the relaunch being that the original game's engine was too old for bigger updates and to continue the TV show's storyline following its cancellation on Octuber 2015. However, the original game is still online and playable, now referred as Defiance 2013.


Defiance provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: The Earth Republic is portrayed as The Federation, if albeit flawed and over their heads, rather than the anti-alien, authoritarian and expansionist empire from the TV show.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: All events will have an ammo station appear with them, meaning that players don't have to leave the area to fimd ammo.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Dark Matter. They essentially are on par with Ark Hunters, with their own Energy Shields, tougher than most armor, and even squad-like tactics. If a Nano-Effect lights them on fire, they dodge roll until the fire is snuffed out. If a sniper tries to shoot the front of the head instead of the back, they will immediately run and duck for cover. They will even throw grenade to flush out an enemy from their cover spot.
    • More specific on the topic of Dark Matter, the Bulwarks. Ridiculously difficult when trying to fight them solo, they will go around your cover for an open line of fire. If that's not enough, they will launch grenades and even set your position on fire. Also if an enemy is too close for comfort, they will stomp on the ground, launching them away and repeatedly fire at said enemy, cutting down health rapidly.
    • The Dark Matter enemies know they outnumber you, and know how to use it against you. If you're inside, they'll use their numbers to drive you back and into a corner where you can't escape. Outside, they'll circle around you and get you in a crossfire.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Pretty much the only way you can damage bigger enemies.
  • Attack Drone: Starting ability of the Engineer class, Armed to the teeth, and rather fittingly named "Fury."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Often part of the last step of a Major Arkfall involving Hellbugs, Dark Matter or Scrappers, involving, respectively, Hellions, Monoliths, or Progenitors.
  • Auto-Revive: You have a self-revive that recharges over time.
  • Arkfall Breaking Bug: A current problem that can come up is that sometimes, during major Arkfalls, one of the smaller ones won't complete despite the objective being completed, therefore making the Arkfall unable to be completed, making everyone's efforts useless.
    • Can occasionally be solved through liberal use of explosives, such as the Engineer's Minefield, as an enemy who spawned under the floor/ground is often the problem in question.
  • Barrier Warrior: Guardian class has a few fitting abilities for this trope. On the enemy side, most notably Dark Matter Monitors, and the occasional Shielded Grid Sentry.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Arkfall system turns players into this. During major Arkfalls the first stage is four or more smaller events, it's quite common for a single or pair of players to be trying to hold the line at one and be reinforced by two dozen players riding in on ATVs, dune buggys, and Dodge Challengers.
    • Can also be a subversion as well: One player who knows what they're doing is easily capable of beating a minor Arkfall challenge. The two dozen cavalry who ride in to the rescue then subsequently turn all the enemies into outright bullet sponges with orders of magnitude more health than they used to have. Of course, the subversion itself can be subverted if a particular contingent of Ark Hunters just showed up with the proper ammunition type to cut through them like butter.
  • Big Freaking Gun: Light Machine Guns, Sniper Rifles, That massive energy minigun you get to use during the tutorial...
  • Body Horror: The result of getting hit and killed by an Infector.
  • Broken Bridge: What's left of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Bug War: Anytime a large Arkfall occurs with the primary enemies being hellbugs. Expect battle zones to be filled with car sized bugs duking it out with literally dozens of ark hunters.
    • And they can show up in the bonus waves of other factions' Arkfalls. Good News: they also attack the enemy faction. Bad News: when both factions fight you, they synergize VERY well (sticky tar throwers + rocket launchers = trip to the hospital).
  • Crapsack World: The game and show both take place after an apocalyptic event called the Arkfall wiped out or mutated most terrestrial life and kicked off a series of global wars.
  • Car Fu: You can kill most low level enemies by running them over. It even levels up your driving skill with that vehicle type!
  • Charged Attack: Some weapons can be charged up to make their next shot deal more hurt (better chance of elemental debuff, multiple bullets in one release, etc.)
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: 99ers, a group of miners, turned psychotic and started replacing more and more of themselves until they were over eighty percent machinery. It's implied the original psychosis came from an external third party, however.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Grenade launcher using enemies can do this to you if you're not careful and stand still when fighting them.
    • Enemies can knock you back or knock you off your feet. Repeatedly.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Hellbug Monarchs expose their vulnerable underside when rearing up to attack. But if you don't stun or kill them...
  • Drop the Hammer: The Templar Class can summon a rather massive Warhammer to smash enemies with.
  • Enemy Civil War: "Mutants" are former EMC soldiers driven insane by... something. Hellbugs are mindless animals that attack everything that isn't a Hellbug. Raiders can be of any human or votan species (except Volge), and will steal anythign that they can sell for scrip and attack anyone they can steal from. Dark Matter is a rogue Votan supremacist faction still fighting a war that ended 15 years ago. The 99ers are former workers of Mine 99, who have gone insane and begun turning themselves into cyborgs for lulz. The Volge are ten-foot-tall mercenary bruisers with thick energy shields who like setting up roadblocks for no particular reason. There's an obligatory zombie faction in The Afflicted. The Scrappers are basically Hellbugs repainted to look like robots, and the Grid are ghosts possessing the bodies of members of the other factions (usually raiders or 99ers). You've got every type of basic enemy and they all hate each other almost as much as they hate YOU.
  • Energy Beings: The Gulanee, both in friendly/neutral flavors with the Ex Inanis, and the oh-so-very-much-omnicidal Grid.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Let's just say that the people who worked on the show and the people who worked on the game didn't communicate quite as much as they should have, leading to enormous differences in the portrayal of E.G.O. Implants, Bio-Men, Varus Soleptor, etc.
    • though at least in the case of Bio-Men it can be argued that the two met in the series weren't mutated like Mount Tam's EMC contingent. and Varus is still a slimy bastard in both the game and series.
  • Gravity Barrier: The hills around San Francisco are set up in a way that guides you through the main storyline. A decent vehicle will help you get past them later, if you're interested in scaling them.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: While this trope is implied to be possible in the show, the game outright confirms it with the introduction of William Parraba; the first person conceived between a human and a Votan (an Irathient, to be precise).
  • Hand Cannon: Unsurprisingly, given what Ark Hunters have to deal with on a constant basis, most ingame handguns are this, especially the M212 Demon, which is easily recognizeable as the preferred weapon of both Jon Cooper and Joshua Nolan of the Defiant Few.
  • Healing Shiv: The Bio-Magnetic Gun, or BMG, an entire category of weapons with some interesting traits, one of which is that they heal the user. Their other interesting traits are that they always hit, never run out of ammo, and can link to additional players/enemies.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: All players can carry up to 35 weapons/shields/mods by default, and you can buy additional inventory slots with real money.
  • Insufferable Genius / It's All About Me: Von Bach all the way. From his introductory scene he paints himself as an arrogant know-it-all, and imposes himself as future savior of Earth due to him having a Ark core. He also repeatedly hits on various female NPCs like Cass Dukar and Ara Shondu, in a manner that suggests they owe him for having the Ark core and being the possible savior of Earth.
  • Interface Screw: Electric-element attacks disable your friendly nanomachine AI. This doesn't kill her, but it prevents you from using the HUD while it's active, including weapon zooming for some reason.
  • Invisible Wall: The dark areas on the map edged with a yellow line are this. Sometimes they don't quite match up.
  • It's Up to You: Justified when you fight Nim Shondu; his EGO augmentation makes him superhuman (he combo-killed 18 men at the Battle of Defiance with a SWORD.) and you are the only one with an EGO while everyone else has to hold off Dark Matter.
  • Les Yay: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment (during the Human-Irathian hybrid quest), you'll see Rosa and Eren hold hands.
  • Marathon Level: The Solstice Strike major arkfalls. Like most majors, you do four minors before doing a final, boss one. They're already tough because they use the Volge and love to spawn several Viscera, already bullet sponges on their own; however in place of a Boss Battle the final one is simply wave after wave of Volge, likely to be at Ark level due to the number of players doing them. The final arkfall alone takes around ten minutes. Add to that the ten minutes you likely spent clearing the minors and this is one grueling arkfall.
  • Mirror Boss: Nim Shondu has the same four action skills that the ark hunter can use, only better. During the first round, he'll use blur and cloak in tandem to get close to you and perform well-timed charge attacks. During the second round, he'll cloak and deploy multiple decoys that can deal actual damage; his limit breaker is to surround you with decoys across the room and have all of them charge a ranged attack at the same time. During the final round, he'll lose it and go into permanent overcharge, which looks like a cyberdemon; he spams ranged attacks. To make things fair, he uses a force blade and his ranged attacks are non-bullet.
  • Monumental Damage: The broken Golden Gate Bridge is shown in loading screens, and eventually, seen in person. Also, there's the fact that San Francisco is now a square island, which means that the Bay Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge, SFO, etc. are all simply gone.
    • Silicon Valley somehow survived... the land, that is. Almost every building and road is in RUINS, made more emphasizing by the lack of ecological damage.
      • By that, we mean there's a piece of land that survived, and it's called Silicon Valley. It's slightly larger than an aircraft carrier. The other 99% of what used to be silicon valley is now underwater.
  • Mood Dissonance: Due to the basic use of stock audio for every sidequest, you could do a mission that has a jarring and disturbing end, yet the quest giver will remain positive and cheerful. Example: Rosa's girlfriend went on a 45-day spirit quest only to get burned and hanged by bandits. Rosa's response?
    Rosa: Oh yeah! This is the news I wanted to hear!
  • Multiple-Choice Past: The Player Character is always an Ark Hunter but you are a allowed to chose one of four origins; Veteran of the Pale Wars, Survivalist, Outlaw and Mechanist.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: There's a zombie faction, the "Afflicted". Grid Revenants also count.
  • Projected Woman: The Ark Hunter's female Implanted AI, E.G.O., Very much an Adorkable Genki Girl most of the time whilst also acting as the Ark Hunter's Mission Control and Ms. Exposition.
  • Random Event: Everything from Arkfalls to enemy roadblocks.
  • Random Number God: The above-mentioned Random Events make the RNG very unforgiving during racing. Since the races take place on open terrain, the random events can interfere, potentially screwing up a Gold Medal time by dropping a Hellbug in your path.
    • Events will also appear in areas where an open-world PVP Shadow War is occurring, even right on top of one of the control points being fought over.
  • Retcon: The original Defiance game's story was set parallel to the TV series. Defiance 2050 changes the events of the game to happen in 2050.
  • The Reveal: The final bad guy is someone that we assumed had been dead for years
  • Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink: Alien immigrants bring such nifty things as starships, terraforming, Nanomachines, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, energy weapons, Energy Beings, a plague that turns people into not-zombies, Mutants of both human and animal origin, genetic engineering enough to create Super Soldiers, and more.
  • Sentry Gun: One of the Engineer Class's Tier 3 abilities is to summon a rather massive one of these to lay waste to their enemies.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played straight and averted depending on the type of shotgun. Some are slug based and give up straight damage for a considerable range increase, whereas others are effectively useless beyond five feet but kill almost anything dead in one salvo. Still others are essentially misnamed grenade launchers.
    • There are a LOT of weapons that are a certain type in name only, from machine guns that fire rockets to pistols that function like submachine guns.
  • Shout-Out: If a weapon looks like it's inspired by District 9, it probably is; according to one of the concept artists, the art director was a huge fan of it.
  • Stat Grinding: Using weapons/vehicles increases your stats for using weapons/vehicles of those type. This transfers over to the mini-challenges, which is REALLY useful for winning an insanely unforgiving time trial.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Speciality of the Demolitionist class. The Engineer's left-side Tier 2 choice Minefield is also this, especially if you land it on top of a horde of enemies.
  • Unflinching Walk: Subverted and lampshaded. You, Jon Cooper and Torc Mok walk away from a major demolition mission. Torc turns around to look, Jon says that you don't do that only for Torc to ask what's the point of big explosions if you don't enjoy them.


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