Hands On: XDefiant - Ubisoft's Server Test Has Us Hooked For The Full Release

Well, another XDefiant 'beta' of sorts has come and gone - with Ubisoft's server test session wrapping up this past weekend on Xbox. As the name suggests, this pre-release test was put out there mainly to stress the servers, but the game's return has done more than that - it's made us crave the full release thanks to its arcadey, accessible approach to FPS gameplay in a world where the genre feels like it's getting more and more complex.

Now, if you're unaware, the basic premise of XDefiant is merging old school Call of Duty gameplay with some more modern flourishes - all wrapped up in a Ubisoft-driven free-to-play format. It all works pretty well, largely thanks to the game's executive producer Mark Rubin being heavily involved in Xbox 360 era CoD.

Rubin was a part of Infinity Ward during the Modern Warfare 3 and Ghosts days - and those credentials show. XDefiant's gunplay is fast, snappy, and players will feel right at home with it if they took part in the heyday of Call of Duty on Xbox 360. XDefiant doesn't set out to be a realistic shooter, with its sights firmly locked onto a more fast-paced, approachable way of play.

Hands On: XDefiant - Ubisoft's Server Test Has Us Hooked For The Full Release 1

One of the team's more modern twists is the influence of the 'hero shooter' genre, which can be felt as soon as you load into a game of XDefiant. The game pulls from Ubisoft's range of IP in creating 'Factions' - groups of class types that each offer up something different on the battlefield. These Factions aren't as game-changing as they are in your typical hero shooter, but they do spice things up, adding a little extra variety to proceedings.

We quite liked the Ghost Recon-flavoured shield abilities in this past weekend's test - they were great in a pinch and provided that bit of extra cover while attacking objectives. Having said that, these Factions and their abilities will be tweaked for the full release — one Faction had to be removed over the weekend due to a broken 'invisibility cloak' ability — so we'll certainly be giving them all a fair shake again when the full game drops.

The game's maps also pull from a variety of different Ubisoft locations, and while that familiarity aspect does wear off after a few rounds, we really, really enjoyed the overall map designs here. As is typically the case, some arenas quickly rose to the top as our favourites, but the fact that none were outright offensive in their design is a very good sign for an FPS like this. Each map felt well-designed for loads of different playstyles, which we very much appreciated while testing out everything this server session had to offer.

Hands On: XDefiant - Ubisoft's Server Test Has Us Hooked For The Full Release 2

And so, this has all left us wanting more to be honest. In its current state XDefiant is far from perfect, but it's the most fun we've had with a Call of Duty-like in ages - and it stands up as its own thing compared to where modern CoD has gone in recent years. Some of the Factions need tweaking, player movement could do with a few improvements, and we did experience a few bugs and glitches when partying up with pals, but XDefiant is good old FPS fun - and we're officially hooked for the full release.

Did you lot get to play XDefiant this weekend? Any thoughts on the game after this test session? Let us know down in the comments below!