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Tom Clancy's XDefiant: Everything you need to know

Tom Clancy's XDefiant
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Ubisoft's Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is a new free-to-play multiplayer shooter that pulls aspects from various franchises within the Clancy universe. The reveal trailer showcased expected gameplay elements: fast-paced combat, customizable loadouts, a mix of conventional weapons and character-based abilities. At first glance, XDefiant looks like a dozen other first-person shooters released in recent years.

That’s not to say that the game isn’t worth checking out, of course. Developed by Ubisoft San Francisco, Tom Clancy’s XDefiant features some interesting elements. For one, it’s a crossover game that merges the franchises of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell and The Division. Players will be able to fight with characters representing known factions in iconic locations derived from these games. Ubisoft also added realistic gunplay, making XDefiant more akin to Valorant than Apex Legends. It won’t take copious amounts of lead to land a kill, as a solid headshot or a few bullets to the torso will do. This means players will need to be strategic, adding another layer to the running and gunning. 

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant: Closed test

As of this writing, Ubisoft hasn’t revealed XDefiant’s release date, but the company did make mention of a closed test starting on August 5. PC players in the U.S. and Canada who are eager to play can sign up at the XDefiant website right now. Other regions will get a chance to play XDefiant at a later date. Ubisoft plans to slowly increase the player count over a specific period of time.

Tom Clancy's XDefiant

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

If you don’t get into XDefiant’s first test, don’t worry, as there’s bound to be more. The idea is to get player feedback in hopes of addressing bugs, balancing issues and other potential problems that could hinder an otherwise solid launch. And considering that Ubisoft hasn’t specified if this is an “Alpha” or “Beta” test, it’s possible that the full game will be released sooner than expected.

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant trailer 

 What is Tom Clancy’s XDefiant?

Tom Clancy's XDefiant

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant is a free-to-play, first person shooter that puts two teams of six against one another. Each team is made up of characters, called Defiants, which sport unique attributes based on the specific faction (or class) they belong to. 

For instance, the Wolves — a faction derived from Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon — are XDefiant’s tanks. It’s probably safe to assume they’d have some sort of shield or armor that’ll assist their teammates when under fire. 

XDefiant’s current factions: 

  • Outcasts: Healers (Tom Clancy’s The Division) 
  • Echelon: Support (Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell) 
  • Cleaners: Assault (Tom Clancy’s The Division) 
  • Wolves: Tanks (Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon) 

Players will be able to change their loadouts by swapping weapons, adding or removing attachments, and equipping special devices. It’s the factions, however, that determine what game-changing skills and ultra-abilities can be utilized in a given match. Ideally, players will want to make sure their team is balanced faction-wise, as opposed to just picking their favorite Defiants.

Ubisoft has promised to add more defiants as XDefiant evolves. It’s uncertain if these characters will be offered free of charge upon launch. But considering the nature of similar free-to-play games like Valorant and Rogue Company, new Defiants will probably need to be purchased using some sort of in-game currency and/or real money. Aside from cosmetics (either sold separately or via the inevitable Battle Pass), new characters could be an avenue for Ubisoft to turn a profit.

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant game modes 

Tom Clancy's XDefiant

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

XDefiant will feature both arena and objective-based competitive modes. The mode of choice will depend solely on the type of map being played on. Modes like Domination and Team Deathmatch will take place on arena-based maps. Modes like Escort and Zone Control, on the other hand, will be played on more linear maps like in Overwatch. 

XDefient’s arena based game modes:

  • Domination
  • Ringleader
  • Upload

XDefient’s linear based game modes:

  • Escort
  • Zone Control

Regardless of which mode/map is chosen, players will need to work together in order to defeat the rival team. Thanks to the lethality of the gunplay, the faction-based abilities and such can only go so far. Winning in XDefiant will come down to strategic planning. Or at the very least, a bit of teamwork amongst the chaos.   

Tom Clancy’s XDefiant outlook 

Tom Clancy's XDefiant

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

XDefiant is a departure from the normal Tom Clancy experience., even more so than Rainbow Six Siege and the open-world Ghost Recon games. And because it treads the same worn road other F2P shooters have, it doesn’t offer anything significantly new. That being said, XDefiant does seem like it could be entertaining.

While Sam Fisher will be missed, being able to customize the Echelon agent is a win. Ubisoft has emphasized that XDefiant is a shooter first, meaning that realistic gunplay takes precedence over flashy abilities. It’ll be interesting to see how differing strategies develop for both the arena and linear-based modes. There is also the shared Clancy universe, and it’s likely Ubisoft will continue to pull interesting content from these franchises as things progress.

Ultimately, we won’t know if XDefiant will be any good or not until we try it for ourselves. What we can say is that it wouldn’t hurt to join the fray when play tests open up. It is free-to-play, after all.

Kenneth Seward Jr.

Kenneth Seward Jr. is a freelance writer, editor and illustrator who covers games, movies and more. Follow him @kennyufg and on Twitch.