League of Legends developer Riot Games is stepping outside of the League of Legends universe to deliver a new kind of online shooter called Valorant.
Early impressions and footage of Valorant portray it as a blend of Overwatch and Counter-Strike. The basic gameplay sees two teams of five compete in 25 rounds of combat. The triumphant team must win 13 of those rounds. There are no respawns and the action is largely based on tactical combat.
So far, this probably all sounds similar to Counter-Strike. The Overwatch (or Rainbow Six Siege) elements of the game come into play when you choose which agent to play as. Each playable agent in Valorant benefits from a unique ability. Said abilities vary quite wildly, but most perform some kind of utility function. For instance, some agents can create smoke screens or defensive walls while others can heal their allies. It seems that Riot is avoiding trying to make these abilities quite as deep or “wild” as those in Overwatch, but according to the developer, the abilities do help add some variety and excitement to the core tactical gameplay.
“Imagine this: tactical shooter meets hypernatural powers,” reads a description of Valorant on the game’s website. “Everyone’s got guns and a unique set of abilities, so how do you beat someone with the speed of wind? Use your own moves to outplay them and beat them to the shot. Valorant is a game for bold strategists who dare to make the unexpected play, because if it wins, it works.”
Along with its unique gameplay setup, one of Valorant‘s biggest selling points among competitive shooter fans is Riot’s early commitment to creating an optimal competitive environment. The studio is aiming for high frame rates and low server pings across even modest gaming PCs.
This is a big step forward for Riot. So far, Valorant feels like the most interesting of the company’s upcoming projects designed to expand its reach beyond the considerable popularity of League of Legends.
Here is everything else we know about Valorant:
Valorant Release Date
Valorant will release on June 2 for PC. The game is free to play.
Valorant matches begin with each player picking their preferred agent. At present, the only gameplay mode is an “attack/defense” option where one team is trying to plant a bomb and the defenders are trying to stop them. Matches can also be won by eliminating the enemy team. It’s likely additional modes will be added at some point.
The game will feature multiple maps, and each map will feature some key differences. For instance, some may feature more bomb sites than others. Another area might include teleporters for quick transportation. Each map will tie into a story that will be told outside of the game and through minor in-map details.
One of the biggest elements of Valorant‘s gameplay is the buy phase that occurs before each round. Much like Counter-Strike, this is where you’ll buy your weapons before each match. Purchasable weapons in Valorant seem to be largely based on military models, so they should be familiar to fans of military shooters. How much money you have to spend will be affected by your performance in the previous round and how much you spent.
In an interesting twist, players must also purchase their agent’s abilities before each round much like utility items in Counter-Strike. That means that some players may not be able to utilize their abilities each round. Players will have to rely heavily on their shooting skills regardless of the character they picked.
Each match will consist of 25 rounds, so the winning team will be the first to secure 13 victories.
We played the game and found it to be an impressive new addition to the hero shooter genre. Check out our hands-on impressions here.
Here’s the trailer for Valorant which primarily focuses on the shooter’s gameplay:
Here are the announced playable characters in Valorant as well as their abilities:
Pheonix is a fire-wielder who has the ability to throw fireballs, create a wall of fire, and blind his enemies with a flare. He can also create a kind of respawn point for himself that is usable for a limited amount of time.
Jet relies on her agility to jump high, dash between short distances, and blind enemies with a cloud of fog. Her ultimate ability grants her access to a series of deadly daggers that kill with each headshot strike. A successful kill restores her dagger count, and daggers can be thrown either one at a time or as part of a burst.
Viper relies on poison to turn the tides of battle. He has access to a pool of poison as well as a poisonous cloud that can be turned into a wall of gas. His ultimate allows him to use a large toxic cloud to identify enemies on the map.
Sova is a tracker and scout. He can fire a static energy bolt from his bow as well as use his ultimate to fire large bursts of energy across the map. He also has access to a drone and sonic emitters that can tag enemies.
Cypher is an advanced surveillance artist that excels at recon thanks to a remote camera he can deploy across the map. His ultimate allows him to study a corpse in order to locate surviving enemies. Outside of that, he can lay a tripwire as well as utilize a remote explosive.
Brimstone utilizes an array of orbital abilities to rain destruction from above. His basic ability fires an incendiary grenade, but he can also call in a beacon that increases nearby players’ rate of fire. His orbital smokescreen can obscure the vision of an entire team while his orbital strike direct damage over time to whoever it hits.
Sage is something of a healer. She’s able to restore health to her and her allies while using her ultimate to revive a teammate. She also has access to an orb that can slow enemies as well as a giant barrier designed to reduce incoming damage.
Omen is best thought of as an assassin. He’s able to teleport short distances as well as send out a shadow that affects the sight range of those it hits. His ultimate allows him to turn himself into a shad that can cover great distances while a special ability sees him shoot a stealth orb that can obscure enemy vision.