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XDefiant Preview

XDefiant Preview

XDefiant is Ubisoft's arena shooter in which you will take control of characters from familiar settings, such as Far Cry 6Watch_DogsTom Clancy’s worlds and more to come in the future.

Before the match starts, you’ll be able to choose which characters — called Factions — you take control of, all of which resemble a Ubisoft franchise. Each one has a set of abilities that you can choose from to further customise their abilities in battle. While the Echelon from Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell have abilities to go invisible and spot invisibility, the Cleaners from Tom Clancy's The Division can use flamethrowers to control the area — an imperative ability in some of the modes.

The Factions also have their own ultimate abilities that you can take advantage of, each with different implications. Personally, I found that both the Echelons and the Libertad from Far Cry 6 dominated the battlefields, with most teams often having two or more of these Factions, making up for almost half the players picking them. This isn't to say that the others were bad, though it did feel like the Cleaners fell short in comparison to The Phantoms from Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Phantoms.

Characters failed to stand out a whole lot and passed this from an all-out brawl of franchise favourites to regular-feeling terrorist vs counter-terrorist gameplay. The high-tech Factions are very much omnipresent, and aside from nods to some of their franchises — like Spanish being very present with Libertad — they fail to make them feel like home. This, in large part, is because they closely resemble vague ideologies of their individual factions, but it would likely be more attractive, enjoyable, and overall epic if it was fights between recognisable characters.

You can also build your custom loadout with up to 10 different ones to choose from. You can customise these to your heart's content, with 18 primary weapons to choose from, each with six attachments you can change (aside from the Double Barrel Shotgun, which only has four), and five secondary weapons with various attachments as well.

These customisation options are very much overwhelming, especially for those that might be new to the genre, but it is a great way to ensure customisability and allow you to play as you want.

The beta currently has four different game modes that you can participate in — Escort, Zone Control, Domination, and Occupy. These modes are mostly self-explanatory and require no further explanation, especially for those that have already tried other similar shooters. 

XDefiant is very fast-paced, with deaths only taking a maximum of three seconds, depending on your game mode, before you can respawn. The gameplay is certainly high-octane and skill-based, also allowing you to change loadout and Faction mid-fight to better adjust and counter the enemy team's composition.

Although XDefiant is an admirable shooter, it doesn't bring anything to the table that other free-to-play titles aren’t already currently doing and struggles to find its own unique identity to stand out. Although the Ubisoft-centred Factions are a nice addition, it didn't feel like an epic amalgamation of titles the way others, like Super Smash Bros., manage to create.

That all said, XDefiant is still a very enjoyable title — especially with friends!... when it works. Bearing in mind that the game is only in Closed Beta, it was broken beyond anything I've experienced before. UI would stutter, the colours were off for my partners, finding a match bordered impossible sometimes, we couldn't vote on maps... There are a myriad of obvious issues that I'm sure Ubisoft will be fixing before launch, but the game currently has a very alpha feel in some of its elements, whilst others — like the audio design and most of the balancing — already feel ready for full launch.

XDefiant may not bring a whole lot to the table just yet, but Ubisoft is heading in the right direction. Although we may not see the game at its full potential currently, it is definitely worth a try if you like Ubisoft franchises and enjoy fast-paced shooting.

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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