Valorant is Riot Games’ new free-to-play competitive first-person-shooter and it’s coming in Summer 2020. Formerly known as Project A over the weekend the game was given a refresh, new name and a broad window of a release date later this year. We’re also getting a beta, but the exact date of that is yet to be announced. The following is a breakdown of Valorant – New free-to-play FPS from Riot Games.

Last year Riot did a 10-year anniversary stream and they announced a bunch of new games but Valorant jumped out and grabbed the attention of the audience. The quick headline pitch is CS: GO meets Overwatch – character abilities mixed in with tactical, hardcore FPS. Riot has been advertising they have put a lot into their server tech making sure there’s going to be minimal lag and predictable hit-boxes.

Riot hasn’t released a game since 2009’s League of Legends which makes the games they showed off during their anniversary stream very exciting. Riot are again taking their time, assessing the genre and gathering feedback trying to make something that’s not only going to be played but going to be best in class and top of the streaming charts for years to come.

Check out the trailer for Valorant, which dropped this weekend.

What is Valorant?

Valorant is a 5v5 shooter set in the near-future and starts with ten characters. All characters have four abilities, 2 which are bought with currency earned between rounds and you can buy weapons and armour. Pick a character and they’re yours for the entire match which is made up of up to 25 rounds, so the first to 13 rounds win. If it’s all even in the end there’s a deathmatch tie-breaker. At the moment there’s one mode, Bomb Difusal, where you go and plant a bomb in the enemy territory while the other team defends.

At the start of each round, you can buy guns and abilities that have limited goes. Valorant does, however, prioritise gunplay over abilities as the cooldown on the abilities can be long (potentially over many rounds). It may look similar to Overwatch on initial inspection, but it’s much more like CS: GO in action. Gunplay is the name of the game with headshots likely to be lethal to most characters and regular rifles will have a quick time-to-kill.

You only have a single life per round and due to the TTK you can (and will) die quicky, so kill before being killed. If you survive the round then your life gets carried over.

Characters, abilities and weapons

There’s a bunch of characters to start with including Sova who can fire magic arrows, Cypher who’s big on defence, Jett throws knives, Sage is the medic and Brimstone can call in ariel attacks. In terms of weapons, there’s Sidearms, SMGs, Shotguns, Rifles, Snipers, LMGs and tactical knives.

Each character has a signature ability that you get at the start of the round for free, but you also get access to two other abilities which you can buy (during the rounds). You can charge your ultimate ability across rounds by getting kills and hitting objectives. With the abilities comes the Overwatch comparison, however, whereas Overwatch the abilities are the key to winning and losing, here you’re not going to destroy an entire team with your abilities. They act as tactical options allowing you to control areas.

In a similar fashion, even if you’re the greatest shot in the world tactical skill alone probably won’t take you to the top of the leaderboard without having some appreciation and use of the abilities – so learning to use both types of skill will be crucial in Valorant.

Server tech and anti-cheat

Riot has been making a big deal out of their anti-cheat and server tech as these are major themes in 2020 related to FPS and online multiplayer games. Regarding cheating, Riot has said they’ve developed a new kernel-level anti-cheat system that should make the most common forms of cheating impossible. Valorant will be extra secure against aim-hacking. Riot’s using their knowledge and experience from League of Legends here too with the goal of providing zero lag with dedicated servers, 128 tick rate which should provide a more responsive character control and movement as well as improved gunplay and accurate bullets.

There’s a whole bunch of competition in this space including the obvious ones who Riot are inspired by here including Overwatch, CS:GO and Rainbow Six. Straight off the at here it’s launching free-to-play which is going to get this a big audience. What it needs is engaging characters and synergy between weapons and abilities, something other games have struggled against for many years (Destiny, cough).

That’s it for this breakdown of Valorant – New free-to-play FPS from Riot Games. It looks like there’s a lot to be excited about here, and we’ll find out more in the upcoming beta and when this one comes to us in Summer 2020.

Check out more features and follow the game on twitter.

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