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Ubisoft’s New FPS Rivals CoD: It’s Good, Free, and Won’t Eat Up 200GB

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First announced in 2021, XDefiant has finally arrived after enduring delays, name changes, and a rocky launch. Despite its turbulent journey, Ubisoft’s new free-to-play Call of Duty-esque online shooter is here, featuring characters from various Ubisoft franchises like Far Cry and Ghost Recon. The good news? XDefiant is a well-made, visually appealing, and enjoyable arena shooter that avoids the bloat and sluggishness of modern Call of Duty games. Plus, it won’t hog 200 GB of your hard drive space.

It’s nearly impossible to discuss XDefiant without mentioning Call of Duty. The similarities are undeniable, and it’s clear that Ubisoft aims for this new shooter—now available on consoles and PC—to compete with Activision’s behemoth.

Ubisoft isn’t the first publisher to challenge Call of Duty, but XDefiant’s approach is more than just mimicking CoD (but free). Instead, XDefiant trims much of the digital excess and frustrating elements—like multiple game installs and extraneous modes—that have made Call of Duty daunting for newcomers or returning players. This streamlined approach extends to the gameplay as well.

Fast and Deadly

XDefiant features smaller maps than those found in many modern CoD titles, focusing on objective-driven game modes. This design funnels players into the action, keeping the game fast-paced and thrilling.

Adding to the speed is the game’s swift movement mechanics. Switching to your handgun turns you into a sprinter, and you can slide and jump around the map with agility. The nimble and responsive characters evoke the feel of Call of Duty’s Xbox 360-era gameplay. The time-to-kill is also a bit longer than in other modern shooters, giving you a chance to escape or counterattack.

Outside of combat, XDefiant offers a few modes, a selection of guns, attachments, and abilities. You can create custom classes using characters from other Ubisoft games—such as Far Cry 6’s healing rebels or Splinter Cell’s camouflaged agents—in a streamlined process that avoids overwhelming players with too many options. Future updates will likely expand these options, but for now, XDefiant is designed for easy, fun gameplay.

Small is Good

A significant advantage XDefiant holds over many modern multiplayer shooters is its digital footprint. On an Xbox Series X, the game occupies just over 30 GB of space. While not tiny, it’s relatively small compared to Battlefield 2042 (90+ GB) and Call of Duty MW3/Warzone (130+ GB). This means you won’t need to delete several games just to install XDefiant, which is a relief in 2024.

XDefiant has established a solid foundation for an online FPS. The combat is snappy and enjoyable, the maps are well-designed and visually appealing, and the game remains focused on keeping players engaged in the action rather than in menus. What’s available now is impressive, and I look forward to playing more.

However, the success of XDefiant now hinges on Ubisoft and its developers. Today, games like this need continuous updates and fresh content—such as new maps and characters—to compete with giants like Fortnite and Call of Duty.

While I can’t predict the future, I hope XDefiant enjoys a long and prosperous life. It’s a good game, and it’s refreshing to have a modern arena shooter that isn’t bogged down by battle royale elements, excessive modes, or massive installs. Only time will tell if XDefiant will thrive or join the ranks of many other games that tried and failed to compete with Call of Duty.