Some may say it is too early for a review on XDefiant, but the game has launched earlier than anticipated and has a very mixed reception. I’ve spent a solid 24 hours with the game since it was released this week and my frustration levels are high, my eyes are bloodshot and I am still very undecided but I am having fun. Ubisoft has been crying out for a live service title after games such as Fortnite and Call Of Duty Warzone have become successful. They have tried and failed with previous projects such as Hyperscape, but they may have finally cracked the code here.

XDefiant has had plenty of playtesting throughout the past few years and with each phase, it seemingly looked like the game was approaching. This is a free-to-play title, and I always consider titles in the genre a work in progress. Essentially these games are after your wallets and cream the revenue from battle passes, paid cosmetics and more. Whether this is your jam, it costs nothing to join in and play and we are constantly crying out for new experiences in the first-person shooter space. So whilst I am wary of the progress of this new Ubisoft-infused world, I am keen to give it a chance.

What Is XDefiant?

XDefiant is a free-to-play first-person shooter which currently caters for up to 12 players in competitive online multiplayer modes. The game takes ingredients from several of its past successful titles such as The Division and Watch Dogs and these past games fuel the inspiration for the character design. It has been labelled as the “COD Killer” and in its current state I do think it can be a solid entry to the FPS space but it has a long way to go to knock Call Of Duty off its pedestal. Crossplay is featured between Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S and Playstation 5 and whilst I have mixed feelings about this, it is great that you can hook up with friends so seamlessly. Annoyingly you can’t switch off crossplay on Xbox Series X|S from within the game menus and this has to be done from the console settings.

Plenty Of Modes At Launch

If you’re starting then it is worth diving into the Welcome Playlist which will have you playing with players up to around level 20. This will cycle through the variance of maps and modes and allow you to taste everything. The modes are Escort, Zone Control Domination, Occupy, Hot Shot and Ranked (Trial). For the review, I have played tens of hours on all modes apart from Ranked which I was having issues with finding a game for a while. All of these choices require objective play and to work as a team to gain victory, there are no Deathmatch or Team Deathmatch options at the moment, though the developers have promised additional modes in future.

Sigh…There’s A Battle Pass & Paid Skins

No doubt there will be complaints about monetisation but understandably the game has to generate money and revenue. At the time of writing, there is a pre-season battle pass with 50 tiers. This will set you back around £7.99 as you have to purchase 1000 coins to buy the standard battle pass even though it costs 700 coins, rolls eyes. There is a pricier option which will cost 1200 coins and allow you to skip the first 12 tiers of the battle pass, pointless I know but some will pay for the advantage. Luckily the only advantage is access to weapon skins, character skins, coins and boosts for battle pass and weapon XP. There are weapons but they can be unlocked on the free track so that people don’t miss out on guns like the MCR.

Of course, there are cool-looking skins for the various characters that do look the business but like any game of this nature you’ll be paying extortionate fees for the pleasure, but I’m not telling you what to do with your money so crack on!

What I Do Like About XDefiant

First-person shooters are my jam, I have grown up with them and they are my go-to when I want to play something. Things have changed over the last few years with Battlefield 2042 being absolute garbage and Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2 & 3 being excellent games but just being a tired series for me. It’s nice to see a new entry to the genre and whilst I struggle to play well on XDefiant due to competing with PC players and the balancing/hit registration issues the game currently has, I can see the element of fun there. I love that this game rewards you well for competing and playing for the objective, you get rewarded for damaging players and someone else finishing them off. The game encourages playing the objective, something Call Of Duty doesn’t do whatsoever.

Weapon levelling is an absolute chore on XDefiant but I like the grind. It means that you have to work hard to unlock all the attachments for your gun and this will take time for everyone. It isn’t about jumping in and playing Shipment for hours just to unlock everything in a few games, things take time with this game and that is OK. I do feel that Battle Pass progression could be quicker though. In 23 hours of gameplay, I have only unlocked about 9 tiers of the pass, at this rate we are talking 5 full days of actual play in around 40 to complete the Battle Pass which is insane. The risk for casual players is that they will pay for stuff they will miss out on because they can’t spend that much time with the game.

Visuals & Audio

Surprisingly XDefiant has a range of incredibly detailed maps with some classic easter eggs dedicated to those already mentioned salutes to the past in the Ubi archive. The maps adopt the classic three-lane presentation design similar to Call Of Duty with plenty of avenues to dive out and escape to in the heat of battle. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into putting these playgrounds together and I haven’t played a map I didn’t enjoy the aesthetics or feel as yet. Characters appear well constructed and the appearance of how the abilities work is fantastic. It could be argued that some are more powerful than others, but it will take some time to unlock the entire catalogue of heroes on offer here and work out what is best for you.

The UI and HUD appearance seems pretty clean and there are no issues here. Audio seems pretty solid although footsteps don’t seem very prevalent so I was caught out from all directions on many occasions. There are some fun witty narrations throughout the modes and the soundtrack fits the atmosphere and feel of the game well. Overall XDefiant is pretty well presented for a free-to-play game and I’d put it on par with something like Apex Legends in terms of how it feels aesthetically.

Final Thoughts

XDefiant is nowhere near perfect by any means, but it absolutely does have legs. There are some balancing issues with spawn points and hit registration seem to be a bit sporadic so there is clear work to be done as the game continues. Gameplay is fun, especially with a group of friends and if you can get past the grind element of unlocking attachments and characters then you’ll enjoy it. The question is how the game will be supported in future and it will need regular updates to keep players engaged. New maps, modes, characters and weapons will do the job I’d imagine as long as they keep monetisation cosmetic only.

For now, though, XDefiant has some good solid foundations and with some early patches already deployed just a few days into the life cycle of the game, it shows the development team are committed. With the game not being too heavy on hard drive space at present and plenty to achieve and unlock without spending money, it is well worth a crack especially if you’re into your shooters. Let’s hope this is a Ubisoft success story like Rainbow Six Siege and it isn’t another live service game that gets shuttered within a year or two, only time will tell.

  • 80%
    CX Score - 80%



  • Nice to see a new shooter with a similar formula to Call Of Duty
  • Map design is superb
  • Character abilities add some great gameplay moments



  • Levelling up guns and the battle pass is a slow grind
  • Can’t turn off crossplay properly on Xbox Series X|S
  • Some balancing and spawn issues make for frustration

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