One of the most anticipated video games of the year launches today as ‘XDefiant’ takes on ‘Call Of Duty’

It’s been a long time coming, but Ubisoft’s arcade FPS XDefiant is finally out today on Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC via Ubisoft Connect (disappointingly, the game isn’t coming to Steam at least for now).

It’s a big deal simply because it’s the first first-person shooter in a long time to actively go up against the Activision giant, Call Of Duty. The gameplay is very similar in both titles (with some pretty big differences), but Ubisoft’s shooter boasts one big change: No skill-based matchmaking in casual games. SBMM is a hugely divisive mechanic Call Of Duty and other shooters. It aims to keep matches as competitive as possible by grouping players of similar skill levels, but many players believe that a system that puts more emphasis on ping makes more sense and results in more enjoyable matches.

We’ll find out today when the game goes live at 10am PT / 1pm ET. Here’s the trailer:

I’ve played XDefiant during several of its pre-beta and server tests, and I have quite mixed feelings at this point. Like huge Call Of Duty fan, I’m generally much less critical of SBMM than many in the community. I also find the common online complaints about mods Call Of Duty mostly pretty stupid. In addition to SBMM, they are usually:

  • “There hasn’t been a good Call Of Duty since [insert Call Of Duty game here]” often by people who haven’t really played the franchise since said game.
  • “Now the game is just trying to be Fortnite” because it sells skins and Battle Passes. I’m never sure why this is worse than the paid map packs that split the install base, but oh well.
  • “Modern Warfare III is just overrated DLC” for a game that has all-new weapons, a completely revamped bonus system, tons of new maps in addition to MW2 2009’s maps, and the smoothest movement and tightest gunplay of any game in the whole series.

I’m sure a lot of fans just aren’t up to speed with the series or haven’t played a beta weekend and made a judgment call without getting used to the new systems, movement and so on. Nostalgia is wonderful and beautiful, but blind nostalgia—like blind fandom—makes even the best of us act like idiots. The fact is, if you go back and play older Call of Duty titles, they are a lot more jarring and less smooth than the current games. You don’t like them more because they’re better, you like them more because you played them at a certain, important point in your life. You miss those days and that’s okay. (And sure, some of the older single-player campaigns were better, no doubt about it; I’m talking about multiplayer here, since XDefiant is multiplayer only).

This is also a big reason why people are crazy about SBMM. The fact is, there are more, better players now than ever before. The foreheads are sweatier than ever. People have played Call Of Duty two decades now and kids are growing up with this type of games. SBMM can make that feeling worse, but I guarantee it XDefiant there will be tons of sweaty players and frustrating matches.

Forbes‘XDefiant’ doesn’t feel like a ‘Call Of Duty’ killer to me

Still, I think it would be a great experiment. I do not think XDefiant is a Call Of Duty killer but I’m glad I have the competition and I’m happy to have another game to play when I get bored Call Of Duty. This is also a good time. Modern Warfare III/Warzone there’s one week left in Season 3 before the big reveal of Season 4, and it gives XDefiant a whole week to attract as many CoD players as possible.

I’ll play today and report back with my findings.

UPDATE:

I won’t actually be playing as the servers are apparently down! Hooray! I guess I went back to Call Of Duty which is working fine. . . .

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