Riot Games’ new game, previously known as Project A, is a tactical team shooter called Valorant. While tactical shooters are still pretty common in 2020, we haven’t seen a major new game enter the space in quite a while. After all, Counter-Strike and Overwatch have the tactical and team shooter spaces on a pretty tight lockdown and most newcomers have not fared well. That said, Riot Games has high hopes for their game, pitching the idea that their competent technical support for the highly competitive game will be a major draw for players. After all, Riot has done a fantastic job making League of Legends one of the major eSports titles out there.
But what do we know about Valorant, exactly?
Valorant was initially teased to the public back in October as Project A. The game is a free-to-play 5v5 competitive team shooter where each match has 25 rounds. So the team to win 13 rounds takes the match win. So far, Riot Games has released information on 8 of the playable characters, which are called Agents. The shooter’s main game mode is similar to Counter-Strike‘s Defuse mode, where the attacking team has to plant a bomb on the defending team’s territory and defend that bomb until it explodes. Each player has only one life per round, so your survival skills will be paramount to your success in Valorant.
While Valorant‘s story will be told within the game with dialogue, changes to the agent’s look, and environmental changes. Outside the game, story information will be divulged in other types of media like animated shorts. So Riot’s approach to storytelling in the game is very much like Blizzard’s tactic with Overwatch. However, you won’t be able to change agents between matches.
Valorant boasts Riot’s top of the line infrastructure, attention to detail, and communicative ongoing support, as well as a rigorously balanced gameplay. Clearly, the company is aiming to make Valorant the best tactical shooter on the market. However, for a 5v5 character-based team shooter, Riot Games seems to have missed the mark in one key aspect: the characters themselves. The 8 agents revealed so far are intriguing from a tactical perspective, but there’s very little charm about them. They seem a bit bland and by-the-numbers, which isn’t the best tactic to take with a character-driven shooter.
While we were unable to go hands-on with the game, several media outlets were able to get behind the wheel of the new shooter. And the reactions are rather bland. According to Eurogamer‘s Chris Tapsell, “This is a game that exists purely to excel, like the child of two parents who only agreed to conceive so their kid could ace its homework. A game that’s very good at doing what other games have already done, but better.” GameInformer‘s Brian Shea is a bit more optimistic, ending his preview piece with the comment, “it will be interesting to see how players embrace Riot’s attempt at stepping into an already-crowded genre, but as it stands, Valorant is off to a great start.”
Riot Games is planning an open beta for the shooter, but they haven’t yet released details on that. However, we can expect to see that open beta in the coming months as Valorant is currently slated to launch this summer.