What if you could take up swords against the Lannister family on "Game of Thrones" and then . . . watch the consequences of your actions on TV the next week? That's the premise behind "Defiance," a collaboration between the online game studio Trion Worlds and cable TV's Syfy.
Both the game and the TV drama are set in 2046, 30 years after an alien species arrived in the skies over Earth. After a brutal war, the humans and aliens have settled into an uneasy peace, but alien technology that crashed to Earth has drastically changed the landscape. Your character -- male or female, human or Votan -- is an ark hunter whomakes a living by scavenging from crash sites. You choose from dozens of missions, including You can race dune buggies around the wilderness. You can infiltrate raider strongholds and steal their loot. You can rescue farmers from "hellbug" infestations. Most missions can be handled solo, but if you stumble across a major arkfall you're going to need help from other online players.
You'll also discover "episode missions" that relate to the next week's installment of the TV show. As with any online shooter, you can engage in raucous death matches with your fellow humans. Or you can enroll in the Shadow War, in which huge teams of up to 64 players each battle for control of sites all over the map. Such massively multiplayer epics are popular among computer gamers but rarer on consoles.
There's a wearying sameness to the missions -- although the action is intense. Consider it a work in progress.
PLOT A battle game that parallels a TV series.
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, $59.99
BOTTOM LINE Novel concept, but repetitive