Review: XDefiant

Estimated read time 5 min read

Developer – Ubisoft San Francisco

Publisher – Ubisoft

Platforms – Xbox Series X|S (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, PC

Ubisoft has come out with its first arcade first-person shooter with XDefiant and it brings some of the publisher’s most iconic titles together across its Factions and Maps. The game is designed with a live service model, which developers have started using for games like this. This means that there will be additional content released over time.

XDefiant features 6v6 gameplay across uniquely designed maps from a visual perspective and it takes inspiration from Overwatch and Call of Duty with its gameplay perspective. The maps in XDefiant don’t have a historical theme, but some of them are inspired by other Ubisoft games, such as Nudleplex from Watch Dogs 2. The map designs have a colorful aesthetic which can be distracting in the middle of gameplay, but they are also really cool at the same time.

There’s a lot of Ubisoft flavor when it comes to XDefiant and some might call it the “Super Smash Bros.” of First-Person Shooters, which can be true. The Factions in this game all have different abilities and are inspired by other iconic games from the publisher such as the Cleaners from The Division or DedSec from Watch Dogs. There’s an option for any player so if you’re someone who likes chaos and getting in the middle of chaos, Cleaners might be good for you or if you like being a healer then Libertad would be perfect.


When it comes to XDefiant, the gameplay is very similar to Call of Duty with its movement style, but I do feel Ubisoft’s shooter is just a tad faster. There is no doubt skill required to feel comfortable with this game and with that, there will be a lot of frustration casual players looking to just have a good time. It caters to gamers who have the competitive edge and I feel there is no middle ground.

On a positive note, there are the Unranked and Ranked playlists. And if you feel like you need to get better there is the Practice Zone.

One of the odd gameplay features that I wasn’t used to was clambering. Usually in most games, you’d be able to climb over many different walls or barriers. In this game, you can only climb over objects that have yellow marks around them.

The developers have confirmed that XDefiant does not have skill-based matchmaking, so as a newcomer, you could find yourself facing players who have invested many hours into the game. While there is a Welcome Playlist available for new players, don’t let the name get your hopes up because there will be several players looking to feast on the noobs.

xdefiant review

Balance has slightly been an issue between Factions. That is going to be a challenge once new additions get added to the game with new abilities. The Phantoms Faction is probably one of the most favored selections because of its Activated Ability and its Ultra that will put a large shield bubble around the player and surrounding teammates to an extent. One of the issues with Phantoms was how much damage it would take to destroy the shields. One of the other ones would be Echelon which can give the enemy locations away for a few seconds.

xdefiant weapons

Weapons & Loadouts

XDefiant comes with a variety of weapons to choose from. There are your Assault, SMG, Shotgun, LMG, Marksman, and Sniper classes with some options to choose from. When it comes to customization there’s plenty you can do such as changing the Muzzle, Barrel, Front Rail, Optics, Magazine, Rear Grip, and Stock. On top of that, you have skins and the leveling system for each gun.

In your custom loadout, there’s also the Secondary Weapon option along with a Device such as a Proximity Mine, Frag Grenade, and others.

Is there enough replayability in XDefiant?

In XDefiant, there are many things to engage with. You have your player level, weapon levels, and daily challenges to complete, which will earn you XP. Additionally, there’s the Battle Pass, offering additional cosmetic options for your player.

xdefiant xbox review

Is that enough to keep me playing XDefiant? It’s a tough sell because the greatest selling point is the gameplay and I don’t think it’s perfected yet. The game is just in preseason and over time we hope to see even more improvements.

There are only a handful of game modes ranging from Escort, Zone Control, Occupy, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and others.

It doesn’t help games like this when they don’t offer a single-player mode because you are already eliminating more potential players. One issue with XDefiant is the lack of a central character for fans to connect with in either a story mode or multiplayer. It needs more originality instead of relying on other intellectual properties.

At the moment, this game doesn’t have enough content to keep coming back to, but it’s still an average first-person shooter. There is potential and we could be looking at the beginning of what can be a standout Ubisoft title, but only time will tell.

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