Riot is moving from the comfort and safety of League of Legends to try something a little new. They stepped away from the MOBA world to try a new type of FPS. Mixing worlds of games that are already kind of famous, but we will go into that later. They recently started dropping access to their upcoming game Valorant. I was fortunate enough to get a drop a few hours after tuning into a stream. I put a solid amount of time into the beta and have some key talking points I’d like to discuss. More Than a Feeling Valorant is a team-based shooter featuring elements from both Counter-Strike as well as Overwatch. It’s a comparison that has been made quite frequently but it is a very apt description. Players have a thirty second buying period before each round where they can get things like armor, new weapons, and character-specific abilities. There’s a light armor and a heavy armor that offer 25 and 50 protection respectively. Players can also buy weapons for each other and toss them on the ground for the team to pick up as needed. So if you had a bad round and don’t have money for anything other than a pistol feel free to ask a buddy. The game felt great to play. The guns were all satisfying to use even if I tended to stick with one or two of them. I personally grew attached to the Phantom and the Guardian. The Phantom was a standard assault rifle that could rip apart someone even if you hit just body shots on an enemy. The Guardian could two tap enemies with headshots or body shots. While I did feel a little annoyed with the sniping in the game, Quick scoping and just being one tapped as your rounded a corner happened frequently but that’s a pretty standard part of this type of game. The two maps in the beta are wonderfully made. They both have a mixture of hallways and very tight turns that vary the skirmishes from round to round. Multiple ways to all the objectives make moving around the map very easily done. The hardest part was simply remembering that shift slowed my character as opposed to speeding them up, which is what I am used to in Apex Legends. A few times I would try to maneuver as I would in Apex Legends only to get myself killed because I started to slow down. That’s just a simple manner of reworking muscle memory though. Down Sides Speaking of the other players they were one of the biggest detractions for me during my time with Valorant. They weren’t all bad but there were more bad than good. I constantly saw in the in-game chat just toxic dreck that was completely unneeded. Teammates trashing each other for a rough round, as well as slurs being tossed around like commas, brought the experience down quite a bit. I know a lot of people will try to fire back with “That’s just online gaming”. First off, piss off, there is no reason to be that much of a toxic piece of garbage to a team member that could just be having an off game or is even starting up for the first match of the day. I know I can’t regularly pop off and ace a team in my first match. I need a few warm-ups before dominating and the fact that this game is brand new, not even out yet, this is a beta and people are already being pure garbage about messing up is putrid. I shut off in-game voice channels and that helped a little BUT the developers really need to grant an option to turn off the text chat in the game even if it’s just for the casual game mode. I get how important it can be in a competitive setting. One other quick thing to mention was how the coloring of the game could be a skosh obnoxious at times. As an example, when Phoenix flashes it made my eyes hurt a bit. The colors could also make it a tad hard to see at times if explosions and certain guns went off at the same time. Characters Done Well The characters in Valorant are wonderfully done and all currently feel necessary in a game. I spent most of my time playing as Sage and Viper. Sage is the team healer, her default ability can heal herself or another person. She can also throw an orb down that slows anyone who touches it. Her ultimate ability can resurrect one player which can change an entire round’s outcome. Viper is focused around poisons. She can throw an orb out that makes a giant ball of poison that can block off an area. She also has a wall of gas that can be used for cover to move around mostly unseen. Her ultimate shrouds a massive area in her smoke and makes her very hard to detect. The other characters are just as interesting and all have their own abilities and personalities. I heard Jett call someone “a little shit” at the end of the round and it made the whole team break out laughing because it was so unexpected. Omen is a dark spirit like entity who can teleport a short distance, as well as a long-distance for his ult. Sova is a great recon character that can use his arrows to track people in various ways or use his ult to decimate foes hiding around corners. There is so much to love about this cast of characters and I can’t wait to see if anyone else is added when the game launches this summer. Wrap it Up Valorant feels like a solid shooter that will definitely have a presence in the esports scene. It has fantastic and fluid controls that just feel great. The characters are well constructed and don’t feel unbalanced. There is a very solid foundation in Valorant and I can not wait to see what Riot brings to the table with the full release, currently set for this summer. I just hope they do something about the toxic crap or some people will see that as a major downfall and may end up passing on it because of it.