The XDefiant closed beta has concluded after a two-week period, and I already miss the high-octane thrill it delivers. XDefiant is Ubisoft’s take on a competitive first-person military shooter, or, in other words, the publisher’s attempt at competing with the Call of Duty franchise. Many FPS games before it have tried to dethrone COD, but XDefiant so far feels like the only one that has a real fighting chance. It may be easy to steal Call of Duty’s thunder these days considering the game has been in a bit of a lull since the launch of Modern Warfare 2. Part of what makes XDefiant so compelling has everything to do with how it stands out as something slightly different.
Before even getting into fundamental gameplay mechanics, it’s important to discuss the way Ubisoft is handling updates for XDefiant. Throughout the beta’s duration, Ubisoft either fixed or addressed virtually every issue brought up by the community — a far cry from what Activision has done with Call of Duty.
It’s one thing for a live service game to have issues. But two of the biggest pain points for Call of Duty are the lack of communication from developers, and the speed at which issues are addressed and fixed. With XDefiant, it seems Ubisoft is aiming to alleviate this concern by implementing highly-requested features quickly.
Mark Rubin, Executive Producer at Ubisoft, kept on top of the game during the beta, providing meaningful updates as issues were resolved. For instance, there was an issue that disallowed players from saving loadouts, which was promptly fixed.
Another major problem caused significant input lag on controller (specifically PS5). While this issue wasn’t totally resolved, Rubin offered a temporary solution while the team works on a more permanent fix for the full release. According to YouTuber TheXclusiveAce, a fix for this input lag issue is a “high priority” for the developers, which is refreshing.
But the list goes on and on. The sheer volume of patches and fixes released during XDefiant’s short beta duration feels more significant than what Activision has done with Call of Duty, recently. In fact, Warzone 2.0 is still plagued by a slew of problems that persist nearly six months after its release.
If Ubisoft’s dedication during the beta is any indication of how it’ll support XDefiant after its full release, the community will be in good hands.
Call of Duty used to feel incredible. Its movement system allowed players to zip around quickly to avoid gunfire, offering numerous ways to reset a particular engagement. However, with the release of Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.0, many beloved movement mechanics were removed, leading to a slower, clunky experience.
XDefiant, on the other hand, brings back the smooth, fluid movement Call of Duty players have missed. Players can easily slide around the map, quickly take cover, and out-play their opponents, offering an incentive to learn the ins and outs of the movement system. It rewards players for having twitchy reflexes, as opposed to simply determining the winner of a gunfight based on who happened to see their opponent first.
Because of this, XDefiant players are encouraged to be more aggressive, meaning matches are always fast-paced. It was immensely refreshing to run around quickly without being penalized for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As shown in the clip above, the aim-down sights movement speed is fast enough to allow players to quickly move behind cover while remaining scoped in. Being able to quickly jump away from an enemy’s line of sight to re-challenge them afterward is a welcome addition.
Given how much XDefiant evolved over a short, two-week period, it’ll be interesting to see how it’ll look at launch, and beyond. I’m already itching to play more XDefiant after the closed beta has finished, which is more than I can say about Warzone 2.0, which has felt stale for the majority of its life cycle.