When you die in Defiance, you can rez yourself every so often. If you’ve self-rezzed recently, then other players can rez you so you don’t lose any of your spacebucks. It’s very forgiving. Death is a non-event, partly because it happens so rarely and partly because it doesn’t matter one whit when it happens. Basically, if you have any questions about how Defiance works, just imagine Borderlands as an MMO without a subscription fee and without Gearbox’s loving care.
So there I am, doing one of the story missions alongside the creepy Grant Bowler character model (pictured), fighting more of those bugs — there are only about two or three kinds of things you shoot in the first 20 hours of Defiance — and I get killed. I’m crawling around on the ground, bleeding out, my vision fading. And there’s Grant Bowler. Grant Bowler played Richard Burton next to Lindsey Lohan’s Elizabeth Taylor. Grant Bowler played Randian hero slash steel baron Hank Rearden in the Atlas Shrugged movie that no one saw. Grant Bowler played someone named “Cooter” in True Blood. And now Grant Bowler is standing on top of me, plinking away at bugs, not rezzing me. I bleed out and die and have to pay 180 spacebucks to rez myself.
In Gears of War: Judgement, even Colonel Loomis, the a-hole officer who all but twirls his mustache as he court-martials the pluckily heroic gears, will rez you during the last mission. But Grant Bowler? He can’t be bothered. Thanks, Grant. I hope you’re more helpful to your companions on the Defiance TV show, which starts next week.
The more important thing I learned in the Defiance game is that you can make an entire open world around shooting a gun and not much else. As long as there’s enough shooter, and enough guns, you don’t really need anything else. Defiance is, in many ways, an absolutely miserable half-assed amateurish attempt at game design that I can’t stop playing.