After playing for a couple of days since the game's launch, we feel like we're ready to give our readers a review on XDefiant. In this article, we will give our most honest thoughts on the game.

Personally speaking, I felt iffy about playing the game for various reasons. This included my fear of pay-to-win elements, a plethora of microtransactions, and the game feeling stale overall. However, to my surprise, the game has its moments and exceeded my expectations from a Ubisoft game. The general audience isn't exactly thrilled when it comes to Ubisoft. Thankfully, the stereotype wasn't real in XDefiant as the developers came up with a fun arcade shooter with a blend of realism.

Without further ado, here's an in-depth review of XDefiant.

XDefiant Review – What is XDefiant

XDefiant is a free-to-play shooter developed by Ubisoft. The game launched on May 21, 2024, on the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Amazon Luna. It's a 6v6 first-person shooter wherein players can engage in battle in five different match types. These are namely Domination, Escort, Hot Shot, Occupy, and Zone Control. As of the preseason, all other game modes such as ranked and practice aren't available yet. However, players can hop on to a trial version of ranked wherein they find themselves in a 4v4 matchup instead.

XDefiant consists of five different factions led by characters across the Ubisoft universe. These characters come from games like Far Cry 6, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell, The Division, and Watch Dogs. All these factions have different specializations, which makes it easy to distinguish the role each of them contributes to their teams.

As of this review, there are currently 14 maps to play on. Each of these locations either comes from a particular faction's universe or is an exclusive XDefiant environment. Ubisoft never disclosed whether they were going to add more maps or not. However, given the nature of PvP shooting games, new locations are bound to come to the surface.

Currently, there are also 24 weapons in the game divided into six categories. Players can choose from a collection of Assault Rifles, LMGs, Marksman Rifles, Shotguns, SMGs, and Snipers. Players can make their guns stronger as they level their weapons up and add attachments to them. Similarly to the maps, it isn't known if new weapons will eventually come out in the next seasons.

Now we've given everyone the gist of what XDefiant has to offer, the question now is, does the game live up to modern PvP shooting game standards?

XDefiant Gameplay

As of the time of this writing, XDefiant launched a couple of days ago. Since then, I have played nothing but Ubisoft's free-to-play shooter to fully immerse myself in the game. Honestly, the game is quite fun and thrilling to play. However, the game is a hit or miss in other aspects.

Let's talk about the good things first. While XDefiant technically didn't create anything original, the developers did a good job by taking advantage of what makes PvP shooting games fun. Ubisoft initially promoted that the game will feature realistic shooting gameplay mechanics. But in our book, the game also has the arcadey feel that games like Overwatch bring to the table.

The game is action-packed and never has a dull moment as players are encouraged to constantly enter the battlefield even after dying multiple times. Being passive in the game will be the downfall of one's team. Each game mode has a time limit and a certain goal to reach. It's unlike battle royale games wherein players can take their time, take cover, and scout the area for enemies.

Like many other games before it, XDefiant utilizes the role system in a shooting game through its factions. Each faction plays a corresponding role:

  • Cleaners – Duelists
  • DeadSec – Controllers
  • Echelon – Flankers
  • Libertad – Support Healers
  • Phantoms – Tanks

Thankfully, Ubisoft took a page out of Blizzard's book and gave players the ability to switch characters and loadouts mid-game. Different factions allow teams to form a unit appropriate for certain situations.

Now let's look at the issues we have with XDefiant. First on the list, we'd like to address is the gunplay. When it comes to shooting games, having smooth-flowing gunplay mechanics is a must for a quality battling experience. We're not saying that shooting in-game is bad, it's more that it feels a bit inconsistent.

When Ubisoft said that the game would have realistic gun mechanics, we didn't think that it would be too real. The recoil for each gun is insane to the point that it's difficult to secure a kill by hipfiring. However, that's not always the case. When aiming down sights, firing weapons feels more stable and satisfying especially when landing those headshots. But of course, we feel like the developers can still improve on the hipfire as many players tend to utilize that mechanic in close-quarters combat.

Another concern is the factions. While each faction supposedly contributes a different role to the team, one can barely distinguish the duelists from the tanks or healers. What we mean to say is that the roles in the game have little to no bearing. In games like Overwatch and Paladins, each character has a weapon that's unique to them, making it easier to tell which character killed a player. Unlike in XDefiant, every character shares the same set of weapons, which means they all more or less deal the same amount of damage.

As mentioned earlier, each faction has unique abilities which gives everyone a distinction from each other. But other than that, once each player's abilities are on cooldown, everyone is practically using the same character.

While on the topic of factions, it's worth mentioning that the roster of characters is quite disappointing. When Ubisoft first announced that XDefiant would feature a plethora of characters from their original titles, we immediately thought that icons like Sam Fisher or Aiden Pearce were coming to the game. Instead, we have side characters who aren't even remarkable in their respective universes.

Other than these concerns, it's safe to say that the game performs solidly. It's worth noting that Ubisoft kept its promise to do away from any pay-to-win elements like the way Activision does it in their Call of Duty games. All microtransactions are purely cosmetic and don't give any advantages to players who purchase these items with real money.

XDefiant Graphics

For this review, I played on a PC attached with a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, GeForce RTX 3070 GPU, and 16 GB RAM. Thankfully, my specs are still up to date and the game allowed me to play with the highest-quality graphics.

For a game coming out in 2024, XDefiant misses the mark taking advantage of modern hardware. Ubisoft's free-to-play shooter looks similar to when Call of Duty: Warzone launched back in 2020. Overall, the game doesn't look bad, it's just that we were expecting a bit of an upgrade visually. Nevertheless, it still has that realistic feel to it compared to other shooters.

Now, we're not necessarily flaming the developers for coming up with graphics that looked amazing in 2020. There are a few possible reasons as to why they decided to move forward with the game's current aesthetic. The first thing that comes to mind is that the majority of the player base interested in trying XDefiant can play the game without having any hardware issues. Honestly, not everyone has the luxury of building a super PC or buying next-gen consoles.

For reference, here are the minimum requirements to run XDefiant on a PC:

  • CPU – Intel i3-10105F; AMD Ryzen 3 3100
  • GPU – Intel ARC A380 (6GB); NVIDIA GTX 1050TI (4GB); AMD RX 5500 XT (4GB)
  • RAM- 8GB

All of these PC parts either came out in 2020 or earlier. It's safe to assume that a big chunk of gamers at least have these parts that came out four years ago and beyond.

In terms of performance on my gaming rig, I'm pleased with how the game maintains a stable 144 FPS even on Ultra settings. However, I do want to note that the game crashes from time to time. Now I'm not entirely sure if the problem is on my end, but it may be on the game's end considering how it's still new.

XDefiant Music and Sound Design

Similarly to other shooting games before it, XDefiant has music that can hype players up before a match. When preparing for a match, players can hear electronic music that gives a heroic intro vibe which would probably hype someone up to head into battle. In the main menu, players will listen to a melancholy version of the electro-music they'd hear when loading into a match.

Music aside, the important aspect of every shooting game is the sound design. Despite only using a pair of Razer Hammerheads when playing XDefiant, the game has a dynamic sound design. I could hear which direction the gunshots were coming from. Despite all the ruckus taking place during a match, I could also hear the footsteps of a nearby rushing enemy. I also loved how each gun has a different sound to it, giving each weapon that authentic feel.

While the characters in the game technically have voice lines, we found it a bit underwhelming. Each character has the typical “Frag out!” and “I need healing!” interaction, but it would've been cooler if Ubisoft threw in a few unique lines similar to how Respawn Entertainment did it with Apex Legends. With that said, the characters feel a bit lifeless and could use some tweaking in the seasons to come.

As for the overall environment, the developers did a great job of providing adaptive sound effects. When fighting indoors, echoes of gunshots and explosions can be heard. When fighting outdoors, on the other hand, one could tell that they're no longer in an enclosed location.

Conclusion – Is XDefiant Good? Is it Worth Your Time?

Let's be real, XDefiant is nothing groundbreaking but it is a lot of fun. Ubisoft managed to create a game that adapts the realism of a shooting game and the arcade feel of a PvP shooter. Without question, there are a few hits and misses, but overall we think that the game will keep players engaged for a while. Thankfully, it's only the preseason, which means that the developers have the time to learn from their mistakes and hopefully address them when Season 1 launches.

As someone who used to be a fan of competitive shooters, I feel like XDefiant is a great way to dip my feet back in the water. The game is both engaging and fun which shouldn't make get burnt out easily. Plus so far the community isn't toxic yet which made my experience of playing a PvP shooting game all the better. If a player is looking for a reason to get back into the competitive shooting game scene, XDefiant might be a step in the right direction for them.

Score: 7/10