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

It’s been a long time coming, but Ubisoft’s arcade FPS XChallenging finally arrives today on Xbox Series

This is a big deal simply because it’s the first first-person shooter in a long time to actively take on Activision’s behemoth, Duty. The gameplay is very similar to both titles (with some pretty major differences), but Ubisoft’s shooter has one big change: no skill-based matchmaking in casual games. SBMM has been a hugely divisive mechanic Duty and other shooters. It aims to keep matches as competitive as possible by grouping players of similar skill levels, but many players feel that a system that places more emphasis on ping makes more sense and leads to 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 XChallenging during several of the pre-release betas and server tests and I have pretty mixed feelings at this point. Like a huge one Duty fan, I’m generally a lot less critical of SBMM than many in the community. I also find the common online complaints about modern Duty usually quite stupid. In addition to SBMM, these are usually:

  • “There hasn’t been a good Call Of Duty since [insert Call Of Duty game here]Often from people who haven’t really played the franchise since said game.
  • “The game is now just trying to be Fortnite” because it sells skins and a Battle Pass. I’m never sure why this is worse than paid card packs that divide the install base, but okay.
  • “Modern Warfare III is just way too expensive DLC” for a game with all-new weapons, a totally revamped perk system, tons of new maps on top of the MW2 2009 maps, and the smoothest movement and sharpest gunplay of any game in the entire series .

I’m pretty sure many fans simply haven’t kept up with the series, or played a beta weekend and can make a judgment without getting used to the new systems, movements and so on. Nostalgia is all well and good, but blind nostalgia – like blind fandom – makes even the best of us act like idiots. The fact is that if you go back and play older Call of Duty titles, they are much janky and less smooth than current games. You don’t like them more because they’re better, you like them more because you played them at some important time in your life. You miss those days, and that’s okay. (And of course some of the older single-player campaigns were better, there’s no doubt about that; I’m talking about the multiplayer here, since XChallenging is multiplayer only).

That’s also a big reason why people love SBMM so much. The fact is that there are now more and better players than ever before. Lobbies are sweatier than ever before. People have played Duty for twenty years and children grow up with these kinds of games. SBMM can make that feeling worse, but I guarantee it XChallenging will have a lot of sweaty players and frustrating matches.

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

Still, I think it will be a great experiment. I do not think so XChallenging is a Call Of Duty killer but I’m glad I have the competition and I’m glad I can play another game when I’m bored Duty. This is also good timing. Modern Warfare III/Warzone still have a week left of season 3 before the big launch of season 4, and that matters XChallenging a full week to catch as many CoD players as possible.

I’m going to play today and report back on my findings.

UPDATE:

I’m not really going to play because apparently the servers are down! Yes! I think it’s back to Call Of Duty, which works fine. . . .

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