Home Tech XDefiant review: Overwatch meets Call of Duty in a Ubisoft theme park

XDefiant review: Overwatch meets Call of Duty in a Ubisoft theme park

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XDefiant review: Overwatch meets Call of Duty in a Ubisoft theme park

YoIt’s not difficult to summarize XDefiant, Ubisoft’s new free-to-play arena-based shooter. It’s Overwatch crossed with Call of Duty. Or maybe Apex Legends crossed over with Counter-Strike. Whichever comparison you choose, it definitely it’s not It is a tremendously original video game. But that’s not a problem if it works. And in fact, that’s how it is.

XDefiant pits teams of six players against each other in a variety of extremely familiar game types, such as Occupy, where players seek to take over a sequence of solitary control points, and Domination, where they attempt to take over three control points at once. Like Activision’s hit Overwatch, the visuals are bright and sunny, almost cartoon-like, and the locations are compact, like discrete areas in some kind of homicidal theme park. When you play Escort mode, where a team has to push a robotic vehicle across the map, it’s so similar to Escort mode in Overwatch that you’ll continually be hit with deja vu as you play. On top of that, the different selectable character classes (or factions, as they’re called here) are so distinct and have specific powers that they’re much more like the individual heroes of Overwatch than the tough interchangeable spec-ops fanatics of the latter. version. Call of Duty titles.

Homicidal theme park… XDefiant. Photography: Ubisoft

However, in the use of highly recognizable modern assault rifles, submachine guns, and shotguns, the gunplay in XDefiant is much closer to Call of Duty. In fact, CoD veterans will recognize many of the names (M16, AK-47, P-90) as a gruesome list of domestic assassination brands. The XP system also has a clear Call of Duty flavor, allowing players to unlock new weapon parts, projectiles, and other items by killing enemies, achieving in-game objectives, and completing various daily and weekly challenges.

The feel of the game bounces between all its main rivals in the genre. The combination of circular and three-lane map elements means that enemies are always coming at you from multiple directions, making for dramatic clashes at critical points. The action is fast-paced, aggressive, and often outrageous, thanks to the Overwatch-style skill system that gives each faction a variety of offensive, passive, and ultra special abilities. Everywhere you run, there are napalmed drones flying, electromagnetic barriers deployed, and paralyzing robots jumping on people’s faces. But the weapons have a real heft and realism to them, making the gunfights tense, exciting, and also demanding – the weapons are pretty imprecise until you start unlocking extras like optics and rear grips.

Where it falls slightly is in the environmental route. Apex Legends developer Respawn has a rule that any wall or object that looks climbable must be, while in XDefiant, the only vertical surfaces you can climb on are marked with yellow paint or coverings, so you don’t have that joyful feeling of fluidity and athleticism. Additionally, the game clearly wants you to play as a team, selecting the best factions and then working on objectives together; but unless you’re playing with people you know, most sessions end with everyone splitting off into their preferred weapon types and quietly operating as lone wolves, like any public CoD server on a Friday night.

What sets XDefiant apart is the fact that the maps and selectable character factions come from Ubisoft games, so you can fight as The Division’s Cleaners, who specialize in firearms, or freedom fighters. Freedom from Far Cry 6, which are great. in healing. The environments are also mostly inspired by family franchises. The Division’s Dumbo is a snowy Manhattan block, with open streets lined with abandoned stores; Splinter Cell’s Echelon HQ is a sleek, high-tech office, full of mezzanines, back hallways, and air ducts to sneak into. It’s a big celebration of the company’s history, like a Ubisoft version of Mario Party if Bowser and Princess Daisy tried to kill each other with light machine guns.

For a free-to-play game, backed by a Battle Pass and a store that only sells cosmetics and XP boosts, XDefiant is a hugely impressive release, with plenty of promise for the future. It doesn’t do anything new at all (one or two vaguely innovative game modes would have been nice at least), but it manages to bring a distinctive Ubisoft feel to a crowded base of team-based shooters: slick, instinctive and flashy, with a stylish similar. offensive range for Rainbow Six, it is only played at five times the speed.

Those who are tired of Overwatch 2, Call of Duty or Counter-Strike, who want a fresh take on the format and have a penchant for Ubi franchises will have many happy hours of shooting, hiding and hunting XP ahead of them.

XDefiant is now available for PC, PS5 and Xbox, £ free

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