XDefiant Closed Beta impressions: Ubisoft’s crossover shooter is a lukewarm experience

XDefiant Closed Beta impressions: Ubisoft’s crossover shooter is a lukewarm experience

XDefiant Closed Beta impressions: Ubisoft's crossover shooter is a lukewarm experience

It’s hard to compete in this oversaturated market of multiplayer shooters where everyone is fighting to become the next Call of Duty or Apex Legends. “Free-to-play” is no longer a strong draw for a new IP to leave a mark on, unless you’re an established publisher like Ubisoft. In fact, I myself had completely forgotten about their upcoming arena shooter, XDefiant, until I received an email for closed beta access. Set against a dynamic punk rock backdrop, XDefiant is a fast-paced 6v6 shooter where you jump into matches as gunmen from Ubisoft’s flagship franchises like Splinter Cell and Far Cry, and battle them with unique skills and traits to dominate. On paper, this sounds incredible, but after spending a few hours playing the ongoing closed beta, I’m not entirely convinced.

XDefiant has certainly covered its bases by delivering a high-octane experience, all thanks to near-instant respawns that always keep you in the thick of the action. This is bolstered by an endless approach to class switching – similar to Overwatch – where you rotate factions at any time to buck the tide, in addition to customizable weapon loadouts. Once you choose something, you are not locked into it forever. Sure, there were long matchmaking times, micro stutters, and loading issues that spoiled the experience a bit, but such hurdles are to be expected from a product in development.

So I’m not going to dwell on the technical aspects. That said, XDefiant’s closed beta on PC struggled to fill lobbies – sometimes restarting the process halfway through progress. Also, there’s no quick and easy way out of a match as soon as it ends, requiring you to sit in the leaderboard and other animations while a countdown timer at the bottom of the screen fades.

The Last of Us Part I PC Review

In closed beta, you can choose from cleaners, ghosts, libertarians and echelons
Photo credit: Ubisoft

Jumping into XDefiant, you’re greeted with a main menu layout that’s somewhat similar to what you see on Rainbow Six Siege, with a giant portrait of a random faction member on the right, and prompting you to browse their capabilities – if you managed to connect, ie. Since this is a multiplayer-only game with no narrative rhythm, it simply wouldn’t make it past the title screen without a continuous internet connection. XDefiant offers five factions to choose from, although matches are designed for a 6v6 format: Cleaners (The Division), Phantoms (Ghost Recon), Libertard (Far Cry 6), Echelon (Splinter Cell), and DedSec (Watch Dogs). There’s no limit to the number of similar characters that can be on a team, but you can expect a healthy mix for now as players continue to experiment with them. I don’t know if things would stay the same at launch, because I already see a trend here.

In closed beta, Libertard seems to be the go-to choice for most XDefiant players, due to the simplicity of their kit. You don’t need to worry about being a team player here, as these freelance medics are armed with tools that can heal themselves and keep their team alive amidst heavy fire. So you can feel free to run around the map like a headless chicken and keep your kill counter going. Meanwhile, ghosts with their shields are considered tanks, while echelons are stealth operators who can briefly turn invisible, with the added passive benefit of never appearing on enemy minimaps.

I got a kick out of the Cleaners – attack-minded pyromaniacs who are equipped with incendiary bullets that deal burning damage. That’s not all; you can send out a flying drone that spits flames in a straight line before exploding into a plume of smoke and fire. This was my key tactic to take out any enemies in my path, as I then frantically used time to find cover and reload my weapons.

Dead Island 2 Review

xdefiant cleansers xdefiant cleansers

Pyromaniac Cleaners were my favorite faction choice in XDefiant
Photo credit: Ubisoft

Unfortunately, the XDefiant Closed Beta banned access to the coolest faction, DedSec, which Ubisoft says will be available at a later date. These cyber attackers can deploy a spider bot that will latch onto an enemy’s face and quickly stun them, so you can just run and complete the deed. Can we pat them for a job well done? I hope so, but I haven’t been able to try it yet.

All of these abilities ultimately work as advantages for your positioning and shooting skills, which are always the key to winning matches. The shooter feels fairly robust, although all the weapons have an odd recoil pattern, which causes the weapons to spray bullets in a shaky, horizontal fashion with a few hits. a maniac. Movement is also super smooth – similar to Apex Legends – allowing you to glide around the map, although I found jumping over obstacles janky at times.

Your actions in XDefiant add up to the Ultra Meter, which are rare special abilities that can be used to dramatically turn the odds around. Think of it like the ultimate abilities of Valorant or Overwatch, but much more grounded for the catalog that Ubisoft offers here. Once the counter reaches 100%, cleaners receive a arguably super-powered flamethrower, letting me walk around like a mad arsonist and set operators on fire.

My second favorite pick, Echelons, comes equipped with an ultra-cunning secret-mind ability, which upon activation reveals all enemies on the map, turning me into a sneaky agent who meticulously tracked them down and hunted. Using my Invisibility Cloak to quickly evade enemy sight was a mischievous affair, but the 30-second cooldown served as an ego check, forcing me to be aware of the situations I use it in.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II multiplayer is free until April 26

xdefiant escort game mode xdefiant escort game mode

Like Overwatch, the Escort game mode lets you push a giant robot across the map to a delivery point
Photo credit: Ubisoft

However, that’s not where its similarities to Overwatch end. The Escort game mode, for example, tasks your team with pushing a giant robot across the map to a delivery point, taking down any defenders in your path and securing progress via checkpoints. But unlike Overwatch, XDefiant’s take on the mode is quite fast, thanks to plenty of alternate routes to flank enemies and enough verticality to gain higher ground. Additionally, the fact that each Operator only has 100 HP ensured quick eliminations.

Then there are generic control-based modes, starting with Occupy, where you’re supposed to chase down and capture a single point that changes location as the match progresses. Getting killed by a third party is a frustrating and common occurrence here, as respawns are fairly randomly spread across the map. In Zone Control, you attack or defend control points, while Domination allows you to take control of two or three points and accumulate time – similar to multiplayer in Battlefield 4. Obviously, most of these modes are slightly tweaked versions of the standard point-capture system, making some sessions exhausting no matter how nostalgia the game throws at you through maps based on classic Ubisoft properties.

Resident Evil 4 Remake Review

xdefiant loadouts xdefiant loadouts

XDefiant’s clean UI helps to easily understand weapon customization
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Rahul Chettiyar

XDefiant’s weapon customization system is fairly easy to understand, thanks to a clean UI that allows you to swap attachments, while constantly being able to monitor the effect it has on weapon attributes. fire. At first, each category – Assault, SMG, and Sniper, among others – only has one gun unlocked by default, eventually increasing to 24 with progression. When it comes to attachments, the game is inspired by Battlefield’s system, where the more you play with a certain weapon, the more you can upgrade them and unlock augments for the same. Of course, you can’t have a free game without a battle pass, which, as expected, lets you change the visual aspects of your operator or weapons through skins. The designs and colors aren’t too crazy at the moment, but I could see the possibility of brand collaborations in the future.

xdefiant battle pass xdefiant battle pass

XDefiant Battle Pass
Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Rahul Chettiyar

While XDefiant’s core gameplay is brilliantly executed, I struggle to see its long-term appeal. In a market already filled to the brim with arcade shooters bolstered by advanced operators, Ubisoft offers nothing new here, ultimately feeling like an unnecessary addition. It’s like a tasteless snack that you consume simply because it’s been sitting on the kitchen counter longer than it should have been.

Sure, you have some visually stunning maps, but if the game modes themselves aren’t inspired, it’s sure to become an eyesore over time. Ubisoft plans to introduce new factions every three months, so maybe we’ll start to see insane variety in terms of heroes. Imagine an Assassin’s Creed character sneaking into futuristic soldiers and stabbing them with hidden blades; this might be the turning point for XDefiant.

The XDefiant Closed Beta is live now and is set to end on April 23 on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series S/X. You can sign up for access by registering on the official Ubisoft website.

Affiliate links may be generated automatically – see our ethics statement for details.


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.