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XDefiant – Review

XDefiant is a 6 vs 6 (4 vs 4 for the competitive mode which as of writing is not live yet) military FPS multiplayer game with factions and abilities akin to games such as Overwatch and Team Fortress 2. Along with gameplay and weapons similar to Call of Duty. This should come as no surprise as several former Call of Duty developers are working on the game, most notable among them being Mark Rubin. 

XDefiant roadmap: Exciting new weapons, maps, more in year 1 | ONE Esports

Inspiration and Gameplay

The game is set in the modern day and uses groups or factions from some of Ubisoft’s popular IPs. These are the Phantoms (from Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series), the Echelon (from Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell), Cleaners (from Tom Clancy’s The Division), Libertad (from the Far Cry franchise), and DedSec (from the Watch Dogs franchise). Much like how they operate from their respective titles, each faction has two unique abilities that the player can select one of either at the start or during the match, and a single prefixed ultimate ability. The abilities are also similar to those found within the class-based shooters. For example, the Echelons have the choice between a temporary invisibility cloak or a radar suit that can scan for and detect close-by enemies on the map with red outlines showing their location. Their ultimate is an incredibly powerful silenced pistol and has the player use night vision-like goggles that also highlight the location of every enemy player on the map. Not only is this very in-universe and accurate to Splinter Cell, a game all about stealth, but it is also similar to the spy kit in Team Fortress 2. This comparison to Team Fortress 2 can be seen with most of the other factions of the game, the Libertad are like the docs and medics and the Cleaners are this game’s version of the pyro as an example. Echelon’s shield barrier looks and operates pretty similar to Reinhart’s from Overwatch. All of the factions are fun to use and truly accommodate every playstyle, as well as none of them are incredibly game-breaking and can be easily countered by other abilities, ultimates, and normal weapons. Speaking of which, in the tradition of comparisons between other games, XDefiant contains a loadout to create a class system akin to Call of Duty. With the ability to choose a primary and secondary weapon along with 5 attachments (there are 6 options) for each gun. Along with the choice of a type of grenade either tactical or lethal. In my personal experience, the weapons were also fairly balanced and fun to use even with attachments, along with different factions and their unique abilities. With 120 health, the game played like a mix of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War with abilities and certain game modes from Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch. All of the maps play and flow well, the movement with sliding and sprinting is smooth, and the game modes are fun. Though there were a few maps where it felt like certain guns were more viable than others and vice versa then again most multiplayer games have this problem as well. 

5 best XDefiant meta loadouts to easily get wins | ONE Esports

All XDefiant factions and their abilities - Dot Esports

Concerns

For the most part, the game is pretty good, I’m a big fan of the weapons, gameplay, maps, modes, and abilities. The game also feels good on both mouse and keyboard and controller. My biggest critiques of this game however are the progression system and the plan for updates and content. Starting with the progression system I found the grind for the most part for this game to be tedious and just unrewarding for what you get. Unlike in Call of Duty where you would rank up and unlock equipment, perks, guns, killstreaks, etc. You need to complete challenges to unlock these items in XDefiant. While they aren’t incredibly difficult they’re just very annoying and can lead to players playing the game in a way that they don’t want to and can even ruin the flow of the match and their enjoyment. For example, To unlock the ACR, the player needs to get 10 longshot kills with an assault rifle. Which will mean that if someone wants to unlock it. They will most likely camp in an area and just start killing enemies from across the map. This means depending on the game mode, they will potentially be not helping their team win, ruining the flow of the match, and potentially playing in a way that they hate and wouldn’t do normally. This has the potential to ruin more than one player’s experience and this could all be fixed with a simple ranking system and requiring the player to reach level 10. Which has been a staple of multiplayer FPS games since 2007. These challenges in my opinion should be for cosmetic items only, such as the skins for the factions which they are already doing and which make sense and are good. But not for basic fundamental items such as weapons and grenades. On top of that the weapon ranking system is also monotonous and boring as for each gun for free, there are 3 camos you can unlock which are all mastery. Instead of multiple free camo challenges that upon completing all of them will give you the mastery camos like most games. You need to get the weapon to level 100 to get the bronze camo, 150 for the silver camo, and for the coveted final mastery gold camo, you need to level up the gun to level 200. Which in my opinion is one of the most egregious weapon grinds I have ever seen compared to what the competition offers. On top of that to unlock the DedSec faction you need 700,000 XP and considering each game gives you on average 5,000 XP per match. That means you need to play around 140 games to unlock this faction which to me is also an absurd amount of play time required. You can unlock it through the premium in-game currency which you can only obtain real-world money. There is also a preseason battle pass, with the premium offer including a variety of cosmetics and there are some good items that are offered for free such as new weapons. It seems that the paid track is the superior option if you want anything in the game, especially cosmetic-wise.

I really thought i would've seen more gameplay clips posted here

Defying the Odds in the Long Term

While this is a critique it’s more so a concern for the future and whether or not Ubisoft and Ubisoft San Francisco can do a great job of continuously supporting the game post-launch. Ubisoft hasn’t had the greatest track record of supporting multiplayer games in the long term such as Ghost Recon Breakpoint, For Honor, and The Division 2 (the only exception of this appears to be Rainbow Six Siege). Thankfully there is some good news as on June 11th, Ubisoft San Francisco announced during the Ubisoft Forward 2024 event their plans for Season 1 and their Year 1 roadmap. Season 1 which launches on July 2, 2024, will feature the Ranked competitive playlist, new maps, a new faction the GSK from Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege, a new game mode Capture The Flag, and a new 90-tier premium battle pass for the season. This is great and already seems that the game is heading in the right direction for the future and that the developers plan on supporting it in the long term. 

XDefiant Season 1 release date, maps, Ranked Play & GSK Faction - Dexerto

Conclusion

As a quick side note, I also believe that the game needs some more identity whether that being a weapon, a map, or a character. At this point, it only has ideas and inspirations from other franchises or has items in the game from other IPs making it so that there is somewhat nothing that makes it unique. Other than the fact that it’s a fun multiplayer game. Overall I quite enjoy XDefiant, it’s a refreshing take on the typical multiplayer FPS genre with some great additions and inspirations from other franchises to create this great mixing pot of fun 6 vs 6 action. The game is also free to play on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC as well as are crossplay and gross progression with all platforms However, I doubt that it will overtake its giant competitors anytime soon but will be able to carve out a little spot for itself amongst the genre. However, its problems with progression and whether or not Ubisoft can support this game consistently in the long term leaves its future in question. It would be great though to see this game succeed and who knows maybe one day be considered one of the greatest of all time.

 

XDefiant is a refreshing take on the military FPS multiplayer genre. But as of right now, more is needed to make a substantial impact. At time of release: 7.5/10

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