Being my first time signing an NDA and being offered to play a game in its pre-alpha stage, let me first say that I am excited to see what XDefiant (XD) becomes and I am grateful for Ubisoft for allowing me the privilege of playing this game. Being a long time FPS and overall video game fan and player, let me end the formalities and excitedly dive right into it! (If reading pros & cons is more your style, scroll to the bottom of this post). XD has potential, but there are three elements to it that currently put it into the category of where it does not want to be: the category of being like other games. What separates amazing games from good games? The "X-factor," replayability, and competitiveness. A game has to feel like you want more and more and really want to come back. Many things change these such as TTK, player controlled-skill, progressive betterment, fun, and creativity.
In-game elements, such as recoil, hit detection, ADS speed, and such, massively alter the replayability of a game. TTK, recoil, map simplicity, and hit-detection are currently XDefiant's greatest adversaries. TTK is the first.
The TTK felt far too long. Gun battles came down more to who got their sights back onto the person faster after the recoil went bonkers than actual skill of initiazling the combat. This makes gun battles and skill to feel more like I'm at the leisure of how a gun decides to act, rather than actually feeling like I can gain a mastery of the weapon. It felt more like 'luck', or at least a sense of not being in control, that puts the TTK and recoil control very much into the same category of dissatisfaction. There need to be recoil adjustments or an implemented faster TTK, Or, both. Why? Nothing was more aggravating than getting behind (or beside) an unsuspecting enemy who I shot several times only to have my gun basically decide by itself to switch recoil patterns or not detect hits and have that player turn and gun me down. Bad aim you say? The spread of variability in bullet precision over-crossed the threshold of having a bad aim and instead felt like the gun itself was out of control. This laid particularly true of ARs and machine pistols.
What are some solutions for TKK? 1. Make TTK faster. It's too slow. I feel like I'm pelting my enemies and they're not going down. The biggest problem with slow TTK lies in the urgency vs timing of the game. XD is a faster paced FPS, but with a slower TTK, it means that I can empty 15 rounds of a 30-round magazine trying to eliminate 1 opponent, which means I'm extremely vulnerable to other opponents after my victory and 60% damage taken, and therefore creates a Leap-Frog effect. Leap frogging (my own term) is when a games TTK does not match its urgency. If a mechanic (say, recoil) does not match the urgency of a game, then it's not an equilibrium and I feel out of control. E.g: I gun down enemy player A. Enemy player B. shoots around the corner and because of a mis-match in TTK vs urgency, I don't stand a chance, even if I'm way more skilled in gun fights, because my recoil's so high that my bullets are gone and I'm pressing F to be respawned. 2. Make TTK really fast and see how it goes. (?)
[This leads to my second thought: what is XDefiant trying to be? In the world of psychology, it's best to teach from both a perspective of what not to be/do, AND teach what to do. Is XD trying to NOT be another COD? Battlefield? FPS? That's a great goal, but more important than what it's not wanting to be, what is it wanting to be?]
It's a futuristic military shooter, but not to the extent of Halo.
It's an energetic FPS, but not to the freneticness of COD.
It's made by Ubisoft, but not as tactical as R6S.
What is it?
Recoil: The bane of most shooters and often what defines metas. In all honesty, the recoil of XD is very close to being where it needs to be, but yet being off by a considerable degree. The slightest difference of a car (in real life) barely not starting and actually starting make all the difference in how one feels about the car. XD must improve the players feel of control and betterment within the recoil patterns of the game. For most, the SMG's had great recoil patterns and genuinely felt awesome. Distance is where they suffered, but that's because they're SMGs. AR's a bit different, and sniping exacts the meaning of fixing a square peg to a round hole. Quickscoping has been removed, which is good, as it would've been overpowered, but the smaller sized maps and the energy behind the map design does not benefit snipers as a valuable asset to team function. Snipers can really only get kills, not play the objective, imo. I understand why the recoil pattern has extraordinarily swerving sway, but snipers don't feel right.
What are some solutions to recoil?
1. Significantly decrease ADS speed altogether. 2. Simplify recoil patterns and assign bullet detection to exactify where the sight is. 3. Shave off realism and replace it with fun. An M1911 doesn't need 'real-life' recoil patterns, it needs XD recoil pattern.
Map simplicity. The maps are designed well for the functions of the game modes; however, they're far too narrow. Or, compressed is probably the better term. 3 lanes through and through are the maps designs. There is a good amount of a verticality in each map, but the maps are basic. You know where the enemy likely has to be within 10 minutes of playing 1 game. I can't play a game for 6 months when I've already figured it out in 1 day. They look really good and give off a great lighting, but more options and more spice needs to go onto these bland burgers.
What are some map simplicity solutions? 1. Make them bigger. 2. More creativity. 3. Make a melee only map, or zombie mode and see what the habits of map design are.
And oh, ADD lean, PLEASE.
Hit-detection: This was the first mistake I noticed. My bullets weren't detecting very well. Massive improvements in this department.
Solution: make it better.
When in Guille Mode with a sniper with a Sniper Scope, the Crosshairs completely go away. 100% NEEDS TO CHANGE. I need to know where my bullet is going to go.
Game modes: add creative game modes. I've played all the current game modes from other shooters, they've been ported over and called something different. Look outside the box. What game modes haven't been tried? President? Hostage? CTF? FFA?
To name other games, Rainbow Six Siege was different than the rest, Warzone = different from the rest, Fortnite = different from the rest, Apex Legends = different from the rest, etc. XDefiant has the opportunity to become a great game, right now there are many tweaks and major adjustments for the game in order to feel fun in a replayable sense and competitive in the world of AAA trips. Frankly, in its current Pre-Alpha, it's too much like other games. Namely, Ironsight and even Valorant in a few regards. It needs to make its own mark and have that X-factor that no other game has. What is it?
Excited to play more and see what it becomes.
Overall feel: too much like other FPS's, like Ironsight.
Smooth running and movement.
Gun sounds. (Footsteps need improvement).
Factions are neat. I didn't play enough different factions on different modes to say too much, but I like where they are going with these.
Map design compression-feeling (Discoverability of maps)
No story so far. (Did I miss something?)