Ubisoft San Francisco was kind enough to invite us to an early preview of their new free-to-play game XDefiant. With a Closed Beta for the game launching today, here’s a quick look at what the game’s about and what it has in store.
Originally known as Tom Clancy’s XDefiant, the game was later rebranded as a Ubisoft Original IP. The most notable aspect of the game is that it acts as a homage to their many other franchises with different maps and factions based on the likes of Splinter Cell, Watch Dogs, and Far Cry. The developers explained that they wanted to evoke their love for “fast-paced and furious arcade shooters” with XDefiant, making it a smooth, pick-up-and-play shooter with plenty to master as you get deeper into it.
XDefiant is a free-to-play competitive shooter game where the action centers on battles between unique factions. What makes the factions so interesting is they’re all inspired by popular Ubisoft franchises, representing each series through the faction’s unique set of skills. You’ll be given the freedom to pick a character from any faction to form a six-player team. From there you’ll also have the freedom to switch to different factions and loadouts to adapt to new strategies.
Each faction in the game itself can be likened to a character class that has traits, special skills, and an “Ultra” attack that can contribute greatly to each match.
Here are some of the factions that the game brings:
- Echelon (based on the Splinter Cell series) – This is a spy faction that can break the enemy’s focus with their ability to pry info. At the same time, they’re good at eliminating enemies quickly and efficiently. You could say that this is a faction that’s suitable for players who like to play solo or are good at flanking.
- Cleaners (based on The Division series) – Cleaners are equipped with a variety of skills and playstyles that rely on fire as their main weapon. They can control the surrounding area more easily thanks to their attacks that are difficult to penetrate frontally. They can use a high-powered Flamethrower that is guaranteed to send enemies running.
- Libertad (based on the Far Cry 6 series) – You could say that Libertad is a must-have faction in every team considering they’re the healer and support class. They can use recovery gadgets to secure themselves and their teammates to survive the onslaught of enemies. Their Ultra-skill can even withstand frontal attacks and give them a better chance of winning duels.
- Dedsec (based on the Watch Dogs 2 series) – From the name alone, it’s safe to guess that this is a class of hackers. Sure enough, this faction allows players to hack into enemy hardware or lock them out of using their main skills. They’re even equipped with a sort of spider robot that can damage enemy focus at unexpected moments.
- Phantoms (based on the Ghost Recon series) – Despite their ghostly name, Phantoms are the thickest of the faction and play the role of the tank in the team. They are equipped with high-tech gadgets to maximize defense. It’s a good idea to pair them up with a Libertad. This ensures that they get a constant stream of healing and can give a constant stream of defense.
The Weapons Loadout
A strong feature in XDefiant is that each faction can use whatever weapon loadout they feel best suits their playstyle. The game provides 24 weapons of various types such as assault rifles, SMG, LMG, marksman rifles, sniper, shotguns, and sidearms. These have all been adjusted in such a way as to give the most authentic sensation and have accurate balancing making them quick and fun to handle in the midst of battle.
Aside from weapons, you’ll also be given access to 44 attachments in order to customize your weapons to achieve the desired performance. From here, you can eventually combine them with different factions and loadouts to shape your character to your needs.
Like the classes, XDefiant also features various maps inspired by Ubisoft’s iconic franchises. Pueblito, for example, is based on Far Cry 6 with tropical jungle warfare similar to the land of Yara. The map is set in a fishermen’s village. It’s mostly open areas but still littered with plenty of hidden paths that are suitable to use as flanking routes. It very much embraces the guerilla warfare of the Far cry series which is good for a tribute map.
Another favorite of mine is the Nudlepex, based on the modern campus in Watch Dogs 2, where players can engage in fierce battles for objectives inside the main campus building, plus a classic three-lane structure that ensures a smoother gameplay flow.
The main mode of the game is a 6v6 battle mode that’s easy to understand and play right off the bat. Other modes present in the game include Domination and Occupy both of which take elements from the classic arena mode where you have to defend an area from enemy attacks.
By far the most interesting mode is probably Hot Shot, which will involve you competing for bounties from defeated enemies to get the highest points. The player with the highest bounty will receive special bonuses. These include more agile movement, increased rate of fire, and double the score for each bounty captured. The bonuses are interesting, but the downside is that players in the lead position will also start being marked on the enemy HUD meaning they can be a target. It’s a lot like the Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood multiplayer but with less stealth and more guns.
We should also mention the modes, Zone Control and Escort. While these are pretty typical modes that appear in most team shooters, the game’s fast pace and flexibility in switching factions can contribute to more interesting gameplay.
In order to maintain and attract more fans, the developers have said that they will add a variety of different new modes in the future. These include maps that have been adapted to their own unique gameplay concept.
Content Available in Closed Beta
The game’s Closed Beta which begins today on the 23rd of April will provide access to the following content:
- All 14 maps that will be available at the launch
- Four Ubisoft franchise-inspired factions
- 24 weapons
- 44 attachments
- Five explosive devices
The game will also feature Crossplay between console and PC players and while you cannot transfer your save data from the beta to the full game, you can keep up to 10 exclusive cosmetic items on release. You can sign up for the beta on the XDefiant website.
XDefiant will be released as a free-to-play game for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series, and PC.