The closed beta of XDefiant, Ubisoft’s Call of Duty clone, has just gone live and you think I’ve already had a chance to review the game! In my preview video above, you can expect to see the PC gameplay I captured during an hour-long hands-on session as I talk about 13 ways XDefiant aims to improve the multiplayer of Call of Duty.
There’s 15 minutes of footage in the video, which shows XDefiant’s Faction vs. Faction action across a handful of the game’s multiplayer modes and maps, so fire it up and watch in awe at my below average FPS skills!
For those of you who hate the video (at least play it silent while you read and keep me in a job, you freaks!), I’ve distilled the video script down to a few paragraphs you can find below, and these will give you a good idea of how the closed beta handles and what you can expect to see there.
First, let’s cover the basics. Xdefiant is a pure PvP, 6v6, FPS game that features five playable factions that have been stolen from the Ubisoft universe. XDefiant will be free to play at launch, it will be cross-play between all platforms (although console players will not be paired with M&KB players unless they are in a cross-platform party with friends) and c It’s a free game that will introduce a new one every season every three months. Each new season will include a new faction and new characters, new maps, new weapons, new events, new cosmetics, and a new battle pass. Blimey, that sounds like a lot of work…
Despite a few differences that I’ll get to later, in feel and gameplay speed, XDefiant really manages to set up that COD-like vibe. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise given that the studio making it was formed by former COD students, such as former Infinity Ward executive producer Mark Rubin. Honestly, if you’re a fan of Call of Duty multiplayer, you should feel pretty comfortable here in terms of movement and shooting, and while the first hands-on was my first time playing the game, it was really like I had played there before. It was simple to pick up and understand and it didn’t take me long at all to learn the basic mechanics surrounding each faction’s special abilities.
Besides accurately copying the feel of a Call of Duty multiplayer match, how does XDefiant aim to improve on it? Well, for starters, XDefiant’s minimap has red dots for enemies. These red dots appear whenever an enemy fires their weapon, so old-school COD bosses will be as happy as a pig in the poo to hear this news.
The addition of skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) in casual matches is another new change that has angered Call of Duty fans but, according to an Insider Sessions Q&A for XDefiant, only ranked matchmaking will be ranked-based. Casual matchmaking will be ping-based rather than skill-based, but casual teams will be balanced after lobby creation based on hidden matchmaking ratings so that each team has a fair chance of winning. Ubisoft probably isn’t going to please everyone with a decision like this, but it seems like a good compromise to me.
The fact that the XDefiant lobbies will stick together at the end of each match, which was experienced in the preview, is also confirmed in this Q&A. However, if you want, you can create your own custom playlist with multiple modes. If you do this, you will re-matchmake after each match, which should give players the best of both worlds.
The last big ‘want’ of Call of Duty fans is map voting, something Mark Rubin also has confirmed in a February tweet. This is something I haven’t seen happen during my hands on, though I was playing exclusively on the beginners only ‘welcome playlist’ so either it comes later down the line as an upgrade. day, or it just isn’t in that playlist.
As I mentioned in a sarcastic screenshot above, XDefiant will offer a generous 14 maps at launch. Most of them are inspired by Ubisoft games like Splinter Cell, The Division and Far Cry 6 and they have two set layouts depending on the game mode you are playing. Maps for Domination, Occupy, and Hot Shot modes have that classic arena shooter, three-lane structure, while maps for Escort and Zone Control modes feature a more linear design.
What really separates XDefiant from Call of Duty are the factions which, as I mentioned earlier, are based on characters from previous Ubisoft games. At launch, 5 factions will be available, each with their own unique abilities, passives, and ultras, although Watch Dogs 2’s Dedsec faction will need to be earned before it can be used. I won’t go into detail about each faction’s unique traits here, but you can check them all out in my video at the top of this page.
Finally, 24 weapons and 44 attachments will also be available at launch, which you can also unlock, as well as new skins and customization items that can be obtained in a special rewards track for the beta.
And that was a pretty quick preview of XDefiant! If you fancy more details, check out my video above, and if you fancy trying out the closed beta for yourself, it runs from April 13 (today!) to April 23 (not today). today!) and you can register to participate here.
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