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Riot's New Game Is The Perfect Blend Of Overwatch And CS:GO

The market for hero-based shooters seems fairly crowded these days, when you consider games like OverwatchApex Legends, and Paladins are all vying for your attention (and your money). Based on its operators, you might even want to throw Rainbow Six: Siege into the mix, too. It's not clear at the moment where another game of this type would fit in, or how it might differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. But Riot Games is sure going to try with Valorant, a new team-centered shooter set to release sometime this summer.


One thing Riot wants you to know immediately is that Valorant leans way more into the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive side of things. There are special "hero" characters in the game, much like the titles we mentioned previously, but Valorant is a tactical shooter at its heart. If you land a headshot or two, it's highly likely your opponent is going down. There are no beefy Reinhardts to soak up all the damage, and because all players have the same hitbox, you won't have an inherent advantage picking a certain character model (like you might have with, say, Tracer).

But unlike CS:GO, which puts most of its focus on gunplay alone, there are abilities present in Valorant that can shape the way you play the game. According to Polygon, one character named Brimstone carries smoke grenades you can use to hinder your opponent's line of sight. Another character named Sova can zip a radar arrow into spaces and show you any enemies lurking nearby. These aren't total game-changers, but there are apparently ultimates that give Valorant more of an Overwatch feel than something like Rainbow Six: Siege has on offer.


Case in point: Brimstone's ult is an "orbital strike" that can drop a heap of explosions onto a particular area. If you and your teammates all happen to be standing in that space, you're probably going to have a bad time.

At this point, you probably have some questions about how these abilities and ultimates work, and we don't blame you. It seems — at least right now — that you'll be able to pick up one ability (such as the smoke grenades) to use at the start of a match. After each round, you'll be able to spend an in-game currency you've earned from kills and such on more upgrades. It'll probably take you a few rounds to snag an ultimate, so don't think you'll be calling orbital strikes down on your opponents every round. This approach — which sounds very MOBA-like in nature — will keep the game focused primarily on gun-to-gun combat.

We definitely anticipate seeing some wicked cool YouTube videos of ultimates doing work, though. Would they really be in the game if they couldn't help turn the tide in a match?

The biggest thing we're dying to know about Valorant right now is how much it'll cost. This is a topic Riot Games isn't hitting on at the moment, and it's entirely possible the studio hasn't quite decided what to do. On one hand, Riot is known for the free-to-play League of Legends, and it's easy to envision a world where certain characters and skins are served up as microtransactions in a game that otherwise costs nothing. Riot could also believe Valorant is a unique enough experience that it warrants a purchase price. We'll likely hear more about monetization in the months ahead.


Platforms are still somewhat up in the air, too. We know Valorant is definitely coming to PC, but as of now, we've yet to hear anything about this shooter potentially making its way to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or any of the next-gen systems. Games like OverwatchRainbow Six: SiegeApex Legends, and Paladins have proven that hero shooters and tactical shooters can work on consoles. If Riot wants to seriously compete with those games, it'll have to at least give living room gamers some consideration.

Those missing pieces of info aside, things appear to be on track for Valorant. After over a decade, Riot Games is finally busting loose and working on some projects that aren't League of Legends. Will they be just as successful as the company's insanely popular MOBA? Can a game like Valorant become just as beloved as the title that put Riot on the map? We won't have any real idea until the new shooter comes to PC this summer.

Should we hear more about Valorant — or should any of the above questions be answered — we'll be sure to let you know.