Skip to main content

Riot Games’ Valorant is a tactical take on the Overwatch formula

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Riot Games is entering the hero-shooter genre with Valorant, but it’s not another Overwatch or Team Fortress 2 clone.

The League of Legends developer is leaning into tactical and precise gunplay as displayed in a preview that showed what to expect before the game officially arrives this summer.

The first Valorant gameplay preview, shown via an internal developer session rather than a scripted video, immediately conveys how the game differs from Overwatch. Players aren’t locked into a set loadout based on the hero they select and can choose between weapons in several categories and buy them on the fly. Matches flow similarly to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or Rainbow Six Siege, with only a few hits necessary to die. The five-versus-five mode showcased in the video also disables respawning, meaning players have to think twice before moving to a new area.

The Round - Valorant Gameplay Preview

However, the heroes’ abilities do feel very similar to Overwatch, as they’re able to put up barriers and use “ultimate” attacks. Another can fire a player-sensing dart that is very similar to Hanzo’s sonic arrow, showing their outlines through the walls and barriers.

One hero uses a wind ability to create small cyclones, preventing others from moving through key areas. In combination with teammates flanking from around the corner, it lets them keep the enemy from advancing. These abilities remain utilitarian, with precise shooting and teamwork still being the most important factor in whether a team wins.

Still, it’s clear Riot Games wants precision to matter much more in Valorant than in a typical hero shooter. The game will use 128-tick servers, which should reduce input lag — it’s the same tick rate used by Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which is prized for its precision. On computers dating back a decade, Riot Games said the game will run at 30 frames per second minimum, while more advanced systems can get to 144 frames per second.

Valorant was first detailed in 2019 as “Project A,” and Riot Games explained that it would take place on Earth, separate from the League of Legends universe. The game comes to PC this summer with strong anti-cheat measures out of the gate and global data centers with as little as 35ms in latency.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
The best video games of November 2023: Super Mario RPG, Assassin’s Creed Nexus, and more
Princess Peach in Super Mario RPG.

After a hectic October and the lackluster Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III becoming available on November 10, you might have felt like this outstanding year for games was finally wrapped up and that paying attention to new releases was less necessary. That feeling would be misguided, as plenty of outstanding games dropped this month. From new games tied to huge franchises like League of Legends and Mario to more experimental indie games and new IP, quite a few awesome games have flown under the radar this month.

In particular, the following seven games stuck out to us the most as the best video games released in November 2023. Give them a shot before the year ends; you might find one of them makes for a fine last-minute addition to your personal game of the year list.
Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story

Read more
Valorant’s newest agent can challenge other players to duels
Key art for the new Valorant agent Iso.

Riot Games unveiled the next agent that's coming to Valorant when Episode 7 Act III begins on October 31. His name is Iso, and he's a duelist whose ultimate actually brings him and an opponent to a separate arena to face off.

Iso is described as a Chinese fixer for hire who can reconfigure ambient energy to his advantage and this can be seen through all of his abilities. Double Tap brings Iso into a flow state where he can gain a shield by killing or damaging downed enemies. Undercut fires a bolt forward, applying a fragile debuff to anything it hits. With Contingency, Iso creates a wall of energy and pushes it forward; it blocks any bullets that pass through it.

Read more
Get an exclusive new look at Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story
Key art for Song of Nunu: A League of Legends Story.

From the moment Riot Forge’s Rowan Parker finished playing Tequila Works’ RiME, he knew he had to make a game with the studio.

“I played RiME and was like, ‘Oh my god, this game is incredible. I wonder if they would want to work with us?” Parker told Digital Trends during a recent interview over video chat. “Tequila Works is really good at telling these tight, human stories that bring you up close to all of the emotion. Working with them to tell stories with our characters is kind of a dream situation.”

Read more