Riot Games used to be the developer that only made one game: League of Legends. They recently added Teamfight Tactics and Legends of Runeterra to their lineup, but we are all waiting for another new game they already announced: Project A. Its real name is Valorant. We had the opportunity to experience this new hero shooter at Riot HQ in Los Angeles and play Valorant for about 10 hours.
Valorant is best described as a combination of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and hero shooters like Apex Legends or Overwatch. Every match will be played on a single map in a Search and Destroy game mode. In every round players will be able to buy their weapons, gear and, most importantly, their abilities. Abilities are not a given in Valorant. You have to make a choice in each round: do I buy a weapon or an ability or do I save what money I have left and buy everything next round? With this in mind it is important to note that abilities will carry over to the next round if you did not use them. Weapons will only carry over when you manage to stay alive for the round – just like CS:GO.
[widget path=”global/article/imagegallery” parameters=”albumSlug=valorant-screenshots&captions=true”]
Teams consist of five players who all play different heroes. Think of these heroes as utility tools. Their abilities will not carry you to an easy victory; every win has to be earned and it definitely felt like I had to fight for every plant, defuse, and even kill. If your opponent is just a bit quicker or more accurate with their weapons, it will result in death and you are out of that round. Abilities are there to give you an edge – to see where the other team is rotating towards or to build a wall that shuts an entrance point.
I was impressed when we played our first game as a squad. We didn’t watch our abilities too much, but already had crazy battles with just everyone trying to outsmart each other. This is where the maps and different rotations come into play. There were two maps available for us to play and they both were amazing. Do not expect to see a lot of extra details in these maps. You might consider this to be a negative point, but think of it as a way of communication. Riot made sure that everything you need to know is right there and clear for everyone to see. You should not have any problems identifying an enemy because their look will make them stand out from the background. Neither of thetwo maps were empty or ugly either; they had their own style and were filled with crates, bushes, windows, and buildings, with each object having a purpose. You might also encounter statues to accentuate the location you are in.
These locations will all have a backstory and a reason to be in Valorant. We did not get a full backstory for the game yet. But we know that the universe in which Valorant takes place is a new one. So we didn’t see Akali or Ashe. We saw new, unique characters that are battling on an alternate version of our own Earth. Not only will the characters be related to real-life places of the world as we know it, but the maps draw their inspiration from the world around us as well.
Another well-thought-out feature to the maps are the way the “lanes” were designed. There were clear pathways to each bombsite – CS:GO players will feel at home in these maps. Although one of the two maps had three bombsites available which made it feel completely different for the attacking and defending team. Within the available time, there were clear tactics between the teams even after only playing for a couple of hours. These tactics would differ depending on the map that was active. Some heroes stood out in the first map while others took the spotlight on the second one.
Valorant might not be a casual game – in a good way. I consider myself to be a casual shooter player and just like to hang with friends and play some games. This changed the moment a round would start and our team had to decide where to plant the bomb, which abilities had to be used at what time and the locations of enemies were called out. Valorant needed about five rounds to turn me into a competitive beast that wanted to get aces and clutches every single game.
It’s also clear that layers will need tens or maybe hundreds of hours to get exceptionally good at this game. This will likely be a bit easier for CS:GO players if they decide to make the transition to Valorant. New players might find it a bit difficult to adjust and I got beaten left and right until the round where it all “clicked”. I felt like I knew exactly what the enemy was doing and what our team had to do to counter every single move. It was a feeling that I have not experienced in a long time. That feeling where you know your enemies do not have a clue where you are until they are dead and see your character hiding behind an unexpected corner. I will never forget the first game where I got an Ace and wiped the entire enemy team just by outsmarting them and making good use of the abilities that my character just bought that round.
[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=Valorant%20needed%20about%20five%20rounds%20to%20turn%20me%20into%20a%20competitive%20beast%20that%20wanted%20to%20get%20aces%20and%20clutches%20every%20single%20game.”]
It will comfort a lot of players that success did not just come down to luck or the smart use of my abilities. Although I was playing with a ranger who could show hidden enemies, it was mostly because of the guns that I was able to pick them all off. They all have their own spray pattern and will handle in a different way. While we were playing, the crosshairs of these guns were all the same and that was done for clarity. And my goodness are those guns a blast to use! I am not good with a sniper so my go to weapon would be the Valronant equivalent of the AK-47 and that thing will probably be my weapon of choice once I get to play more.
Valorant made a great first impression. It is something new, exciting and the build I played was already very stable and could serve as an alpha or beta test. The way it made me want to keep playing felt like the classic “just one more game.” With Valorant, Riot will give us a new universe to explore, play in and hopefully headshot your enemies. Valorant will release somewhere in the summer of 2020 on PC.
This piece was written by the staff at IGN Nordic, which is one of over two-dozen local-language IGN sites around the world.