Ubisoft’s free-to-play shooter made me appreciate Call of Duty and SBMM

XDefiant is Ubisoft’s latest foray into the free-to-play first-person shooter genre. While many hyped the game up as a “Call of Duty Killer” prior to its release, I have been a little more on the cautious side. Ubisoft has had a knack for chasing game trends and then binning a game in short order when it doesn’t deliver. On top of that, I prefer not to see any one game “killed” by another. I do want to see genuine competition between franchises that invigorates fans to play and fosters creativity and innovation so that the games we love become better with time. Instead, it seems like the teams behind XDefiant are hoping the game can break out exclusively on the absence of skill-based matchmaking.

XDefiant review: Gameplay

Factions from Ubisoft properties like Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell, and The Division are playable in XDefiant. (Image credit: Cole Martin/Windows Central)

While there are a lot of comparisons between Call of Duty and XDefiant, I prefer to compare Ubisoft’s XDefiant to Blizzard’s Overwatch. Both games are multiplayer-only, both are free-to-play, and both require players to choose a character who has dedicated abilities along with an ultimate that generates during the length of the match. XDefiant’s player factions are inspired by characters from other beloved Ubisoft franchises, including The Division, Splinter Cell, and Watch Dogs

The abilities available to players during matches are rooted in those other franchises, as well. The Division’s Cleaners faction, for example, can make use of a drone with an attached flamethrower to clear corridors. Other factions are equipped with invisibility-granting suits, deployable shields, and medical equipment for team support. There are five factions currently available, and it is clear that Ubisoft intends for XDefiant to grow over time with additional factions. Could we possibly see Assassins, Avatar or even Star Wars’ Kay Vess join the roster at some point? The potential is certainly there.

XDefiant offers a handful of playable modes at launch, but no Team Deathmatch or Attrition playlists. (Image credit: Cole Martin/Windows Central)

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