XDefiant Game Review

xdefiant review

XDefiant is a free-to-play, first-person arena shooter developed by Ubisoft San Francisco. Released on May 21, 2024, the game is available on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. XDefiant stands out in the crowded FPS market by blending traditional shooter mechanics with elements from hero shooters, offering a unique and dynamic gameplay experience. One of its most notable features is the integration of factions and characters from various Ubisoft franchises, including Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and The Division. This crossover not only adds depth to the gameplay but also appeals to fans of these popular series.

Gameplay Mechanics

Core Gameplay Elements

XDefiant is designed as a fast-paced, arena-style shooter that combines the best elements of traditional first-person shooters (FPS) with the strategic depth of hero shooters. Players can expect intense, skill-based combat where quick reflexes and tactical decision-making are crucial. The game emphasizes skill-based gameplay, offering an optional skill-based matchmaking system to ensure balanced and competitive matches for players of all levels.

Game Modes

XDefiant features a variety of game modes that cater to different playstyles and preferences:

  • Arena Modes:
  • Domination: Teams compete to control specific points on the map, earning points over time for holding these areas.
  • Occupy: Similar to Domination, but with a single control point that moves to different locations on the map.
  • HotShot: A mode where players must collect and hold onto a “hotshot” item to score points for their team.
  • Linear Modes:
  • Escort: One team is tasked with escorting a payload to a designated location, while the opposing team tries to stop them.
  • Zone Control: Teams fight to capture and hold sequential zones on the map, progressing through different areas as they secure each zone.

Factions and Abilities

One of XDefiant’s standout features is its diverse roster of factions, each drawn from popular Ubisoft franchises. These factions bring unique abilities and playstyles to the game, allowing players to choose a character that best fits their preferred approach to combat:

  • Splinter Cell: Characters from this faction are stealth-oriented, with abilities that enhance their ability to move unseen and strike from the shadows.
  • Ghost Recon: This faction focuses on tactical gameplay, offering abilities that support team coordination and strategic positioning.
  • Far Cry: Known for their chaotic and aggressive playstyle, Far Cry characters bring explosive abilities and high-damage potential to the battlefield.
  • Watch Dogs: Characters from Watch Dogs utilize hacking and technological disruption, providing unique ways to control the battlefield and hinder opponents.
  • The Division: This faction excels in survival and support, with abilities that enhance team resilience and provide healing or defensive boosts.

Each faction’s unique abilities and playstyles add a layer of strategic depth to XDefiant, encouraging players to experiment with different characters and find the best combinations for their team. This variety ensures that no two matches are the same, keeping the gameplay fresh and engaging.

Graphics and Sound

Visual Presentation

General Graphics Quality and Design

XDefiant offers a visually appealing experience with a focus on maintaining high performance across various hardware configurations. The game supports DirectX 12, which enhances graphical fidelity and performance. Players can customize their graphics settings to balance between visual quality and frame rates. For high-end PCs, settings like high particle detail, medium to high shadow quality, and ambient occlusion can be enabled to achieve a visually rich experience without compromising performance. On lower-end systems, reducing settings such as shadow quality, particle detail, and resolution scale can help maintain smooth gameplay while still providing a decent visual experience.

Map Aesthetics and Variety

XDefiant features a diverse array of maps, each inspired by different Ubisoft franchises, including Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and The Division. The game includes 14 maps at launch, split between 10 Arena maps and 4 Progression maps. These maps are designed to cater to various gameplay styles, from close-quarters combat to long-range engagements. For instance, the map “Nudleplex” from Watch Dogs 2 is praised for its vibrant colors and fun design, while “Zoo” from The Division offers a dynamic experience with its changing environments during Escort missions. The variety in map design ensures that players can enjoy different visual themes and strategic challenges, keeping the gameplay fresh and engaging.

Audio Design

Sound Effects and Voice Acting

The audio design in XDefiant is crafted to enhance the immersive experience of the game. The sound effects, particularly the gun sounds, have been a point of discussion among players. While some appreciate the arcade-like sound design reminiscent of older shooters, others have expressed a desire for more punchy and iconic weapon sounds. Ubisoft has acknowledged these feedbacks and has been working on improving the audio experience, as discussed in various community forums and developer updates.

Music and Ambient Sounds

The music and ambient sounds in XDefiant are designed to complement the fast-paced action and diverse environments of the game. The audio team at Ubisoft has focused on creating a soundscape that enhances the overall atmosphere, whether players are sneaking through the shadows in a Splinter Cell-inspired map or engaging in intense firefights in a Far Cry-themed battleground. The ambient sounds are meticulously crafted to reflect the unique settings of each map, adding to the immersion and helping players feel more connected to the game world.

Overall, XDefiant’s graphics and sound design work together to create a visually and aurally engaging experience, with customizable settings that allow players to optimize their gameplay based on their hardware capabilities and personal preferences.


Performance and Technical Aspects

Game Performance

Frame Rates and Stability

XDefiant aims to deliver a smooth and stable gaming experience across all supported platforms. The game is optimized to run at high frame rates, particularly on high-end PCs and next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Players have reported generally stable performance, with frame rates consistently hitting the target of 60 FPS or higher, depending on the hardware and graphical settings used. The game’s use of DirectX 12 helps in maintaining these high frame rates while providing detailed graphics and effects.

Load Times and Responsiveness

Load times in XDefiant are relatively short, thanks to the game’s optimization and the use of SSDs in modern gaming systems. Players can expect quick transitions between menus, matchmaking, and in-game action, which enhances the overall responsiveness and fluidity of the gaming experience. This quick loading is particularly beneficial in maintaining the fast-paced nature of the game, ensuring that players spend more time in action and less time waiting.

Technical Issues

Hit Registration and Netcode Problems

Despite its many strengths, XDefiant has faced some technical challenges, particularly concerning hit registration and netcode. Players have reported instances where shots that appear to hit their targets do not register correctly, leading to frustration during competitive play. These issues are often attributed to the game’s netcode, which handles the synchronization of player actions across the network. Ubisoft has acknowledged these problems and is actively working on improvements to ensure more accurate and reliable hit detection.

Bugs and Glitches Reported by Players

Like many online multiplayer games, XDefiant has had its share of bugs and glitches. Players have reported various issues ranging from minor graphical glitches to more significant gameplay-affecting bugs. Some common reports include:

  • Graphical Glitches: Instances of texture pop-ins, clipping issues, and occasional frame drops in certain areas of the maps.
  • Gameplay Bugs: Problems with character abilities not functioning as intended, occasional crashes, and issues with matchmaking.
  • UI/UX Issues: Inconsistencies in the user interface, such as incorrect display of player stats or challenges not tracking properly.

Ubisoft has been proactive in addressing these issues, regularly releasing patches and updates to fix bugs and improve the overall stability of the game. The development team has also been responsive to player feedback, using community reports to prioritize and resolve the most critical issues.

Overall, while XDefiant offers a generally smooth and responsive gaming experience, it is not without its technical challenges. The developers’ ongoing efforts to address these issues and improve the game’s performance are crucial in maintaining player satisfaction and ensuring the long-term success of the game.

Community and Reception

Player Feedback

XDefiant has received a mixed reception from players and critics since its launch. While many have praised the game’s solid gunplay and satisfying shooting mechanics, there have been several common criticisms and areas of concern raised by the community.

Common Praises:

  • Fast-paced, intense gameplay
  • Variety of game modes and well-designed maps
  • Integration of characters and elements from popular Ubisoft franchises
  • Smooth performance and quick load times

Common Criticisms:

  • Lack of a distinct identity or unique selling point
  • Imbalance between factions and abilities
  • Technical issues like hit registration problems and bugs
  • Lack of content and customization options at launch
  • Concerns about monetization and pay-to-win elements

Overall, while many players have enjoyed the core gameplay experience, there is a general sentiment that XDefiant needs further refinement and content additions to truly stand out in the competitive shooter market.

Community Engagement

Ubisoft has been actively engaging with the XDefiant community, both through official channels and by monitoring player feedback on various forums and social media platforms. The development team has been responsive to player concerns and has provided regular updates on upcoming changes and improvements.

One notable example of this community engagement is the developer’s acknowledgment of the hit registration and netcode issues reported by players. Ubisoft has stated that they are working on improving these aspects of the game, with plans to release updates and patches to address these problems.

Additionally, the developers have been transparent about their plans for future content and features based on player feedback. Some of the upcoming additions and improvements that have been discussed include:

  • New game modes and maps
  • Balancing adjustments for factions and abilities
  • Additional customization options and cosmetic items
  • Improvements to the progression and reward systems
  • Addressing bugs and technical issues reported by players

By actively listening to the community and incorporating their feedback, Ubisoft aims to shape XDefiant into a more polished and engaging experience that caters to the preferences of its player base.

Overall, while XDefiant has faced some criticism, the developer’s commitment to community engagement and their willingness to address player concerns bodes well for the game’s future. As more updates and improvements are rolled out, the reception from the community may improve, allowing XDefiant to carve out a stronger niche in the competitive shooter market.

Comparison with Other Games

Similarities and differences with other FPS games

XDefiant draws comparisons to popular FPS games like Call of Duty and Overwatch, while also introducing unique elements that set it apart from its competitors.

Comparisons to Call of Duty and Other Traditional Shooters

Like Call of Duty, XDefiant features fast-paced gunplay, a short time-to-kill, and a familiar arsenal of modern weapons that players can customize with various attachments. The game also shares some similarities with Call of Duty in terms of its game modes, such as Domination and Escort, which are reminiscent of classic Call of Duty modes.

However, XDefiant deviates from the traditional Call of Duty formula by incorporating hero shooter elements, such as unique character abilities and ultimates, akin to games like Overwatch and Apex Legends. This blend of traditional FPS mechanics with hero shooter elements creates a unique gameplay experience that sets XDefiant apart from its competitors.

Comparisons to Overwatch

While XDefiant shares some similarities with Overwatch in terms of its hero shooter mechanics, there are notable differences. Unlike Overwatch, where players are locked into a specific hero with a predetermined set of abilities, XDefiant allows players to switch between different factions and their respective abilities during a match, providing more flexibility in playstyle.

Additionally, XDefiant’s gunplay and weapon customization system are more akin to traditional FPS games, whereas Overwatch’s combat is more ability-focused and lacks the depth of weapon customization found in XDefiant.

Unique aspects that set XDefiant apart

Integration of Ubisoft Franchises

One of the most distinctive aspects of XDefiant is its integration of various Ubisoft franchises, such as Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and The Division. Each faction in the game is inspired by these franchises, bringing unique abilities and playstyles that reflect the essence of their respective universes.

This crossover not only appeals to fans of these popular Ubisoft series but also adds depth and variety to the gameplay, as players can choose factions that suit their preferred playstyle or switch between them to adapt to different situations.

Specific Gameplay Mechanics and Modes

While XDefiant borrows elements from other popular shooters, it also introduces unique gameplay mechanics and modes that set it apart. For example, the game features an “Occupy” mode, where players must capture and hold a moving control point, adding a dynamic twist to the traditional domination-style gameplay.

Additionally, the inclusion of faction-specific abilities and ultimates, such as the Cleaners’ fire-based attacks or DedSec’s hacking abilities, adds a layer of strategic depth and encourages teamwork and coordination among players.

Overall, while XDefiant draws inspiration from established FPS and hero shooter games, it manages to carve out its own identity by blending familiar elements with unique mechanics and the integration of beloved Ubisoft franchises, creating a fresh and engaging experience for fans of the genre.

Pros and Cons


Fast-Paced, Engaging Gameplay

XDefiant excels in delivering a fast-paced and engaging gameplay experience. The combination of traditional FPS mechanics with hero shooter elements ensures that matches are intense and action-packed. The game’s emphasis on skill-based gameplay, with optional skill-based matchmaking, caters to both casual players and competitive gamers, making it accessible and enjoyable for a wide audience.

Variety of Game Modes and Maps

The game offers a diverse array of game modes and maps, providing players with multiple ways to enjoy the game. From arena modes like Domination, Occupy, and HotShot to linear modes such as Escort and Zone Control, XDefiant ensures that players have a variety of objectives and strategies to explore. The maps, inspired by different Ubisoft franchises, add visual and tactical variety, keeping the gameplay fresh and engaging.

Free-to-Play Model with Cross-Play Support

XDefiant’s free-to-play model makes it accessible to a broad audience, allowing players to jump into the action without any upfront cost. Additionally, the game supports cross-play across PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, enabling players to team up with friends regardless of their platform. This inclusivity helps build a larger and more diverse player base, enhancing the overall multiplayer experience.


Technical Issues and Balance Problems

Despite its strengths, XDefiant has faced several technical issues that have impacted the player experience. Problems with hit registration and netcode have been a significant source of frustration, as shots that appear to hit their targets sometimes do not register correctly. Additionally, players have reported various bugs and glitches, ranging from minor graphical issues to more severe gameplay-affecting problems. These technical challenges can detract from the overall enjoyment of the game.

Balance problems have also been a concern, with some factions and abilities perceived as overpowered or underpowered compared to others. This imbalance can lead to frustration and a less competitive environment, as players may feel compelled to choose certain factions to remain competitive.

Limited Initial Content and Customization Options

At launch, XDefiant has been criticized for its limited content and customization options. While the game offers a variety of modes and maps, the initial roster of factions and abilities may feel insufficient for some players. Additionally, the customization options for weapons and characters are somewhat limited, which can impact the game’s replayability and long-term appeal.

Ubisoft has acknowledged these concerns and has plans to introduce more content and customization options in future updates. However, the initial lack of variety may deter some players from fully investing in the game.

Overall, while XDefiant has several strengths that make it an enjoyable and engaging shooter, it also faces challenges that need to be addressed to ensure its long-term success. The developers’ commitment to improving the game based on player feedback is a positive sign, and future updates may help mitigate some of the current weaknesses.

Overall Assessment of XDefiant

XDefiant is a promising addition to the free-to-play FPS genre, offering a unique blend of traditional shooter mechanics and hero shooter elements. Developed by Ubisoft San Francisco, the game leverages the rich lore and characters from various Ubisoft franchises, providing a fresh and engaging experience for players. Despite its strengths, XDefiant faces several challenges, including technical issues, balance problems, and a limited amount of initial content. However, the developers’ active engagement with the community and commitment to addressing these issues bode well for the game’s future.

Summary of Key Points


  • Fast-paced, engaging gameplay that combines traditional FPS and hero shooter mechanics.
  • A variety of game modes and maps inspired by popular Ubisoft franchises.
  • Free-to-play model with cross-play support, making the game accessible to a wide audience.


  • Technical issues such as hit registration and netcode problems.
  • Balance issues between factions and abilities.
  • Limited initial content and customization options.

Final Thoughts on the Game’s Potential and Future Updates

XDefiant has the potential to become a standout title in the competitive shooter market, provided that Ubisoft continues to address the technical and balance issues reported by players. The game’s unique integration of Ubisoft franchises and the variety of game modes offer a solid foundation for future growth. With regular updates, new content, and ongoing community engagement, XDefiant can evolve into a more polished and content-rich experience that appeals to a broader audience.


Who Should Play XDefiant

XDefiant is well-suited for players who enjoy fast-paced, skill-based shooters and are fans of Ubisoft’s various franchises. The game will particularly appeal to those who appreciate the blend of traditional FPS mechanics with hero shooter elements, offering a dynamic and strategic gameplay experience. Additionally, the free-to-play model and cross-play support make it an attractive option for players looking for a new multiplayer shooter without any upfront cost.

Target Audience and Player Types

  • Fans of traditional FPS games like Call of Duty.
  • Players who enjoy hero shooters like Overwatch and Apex Legends.
  • Fans of Ubisoft franchises such as Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Far Cry, Watch Dogs, and The Division.
  • Gamers looking for a free-to-play shooter with cross-play capabilities.

Final Rating

Based on the review analysis, XDefiant earns a score of 7.5 out of 10. The game offers a solid and enjoyable core experience with its fast-paced gameplay and variety of modes, but it is currently held back by technical issues, balance problems, and limited initial content. With continued support and updates from Ubisoft, XDefiant has the potential to improve and become a more compelling and polished title in the future. Read about more game reviews here.

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