Move over Overwatch: hero-based shooter Valorant is coming for the throne.

Counterstrike meets Overwatch in new hybrid FPS game. (Courtesy/Riot Games)

When people think of online-based first-person shooters, the first title to come to mind in recent memory is typically Blizzard’s hugely influential 2016 online FPS, Overwatch. With its lightning quick gameplay, unique variety of characters and emphasis on 6v6 competitive teambuilding, Overwatch has truly cemented itself as an unrivaled force in the burgeoning Esports scene.

However, while the continued popularity of Overwatch is demonstrably unquestionable, the game is not without its detractors who cite reasons such as ‘imbalanced team composition’, ‘unreasonable hero nerfs and buffs’ and ‘rampant toxicity’ as the impetus for leaving in search of newer or more balanced games. Luckily for some, the dim light of hope shines through in the form of Riot Games’ first entry to the world of FPS, Valorant.

For the unintiated, Valorant is what happens when a company known for it’s multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) decides to step into the FPS arena and does so by combining elements of Counterstrike, Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch. Valorant strays from the norm by borrowing heavily from the Counterstrike formula of bomb-defusing, team-kill, twitch-fueled gameplay and the ability based team-building meta compositions of Overwatch.

“Team-building is the appeal for me,” says aspiring pro-gamer, Agustin Gonzalez. “Sometimes you run into situations where people let ego take over in competitive team-building games. It should be more like building a deck, anticipate the meta and find a way to get yourself and your team across the finish line. Valorant looks like it’ll emphasize that dynamic more than Overwatch.”

In Valorant, fast-paced gun battles are eschewed in favor of more precise and twitch oriented shootouts with a degree of strategy thrown in the mix. You’ll spend less time charging ultimate abilities to try and disrupt the momentum of the opposing team and instead spend more time picking shots, maximizing cover and waiting for precise moments to attack.

Couple that with a wide range of characters and the dedication to quality of life balances that Riot is known for and the result is a game that is less like whack-a-mole in nature and instead more aligned with patience and skill.

“See, the difference for me was mostly about being able to find a game that didn’t feel like i needed to be in a thousand places at once to maintain control while babysitting the less experienced players that would somehow find themselves on my team,” says competitive FPS fan, Efrain Montes. “Valorant looks like it’s less about carrying a team and instead more about being efficient when it comes to picking roles and shots. I’m not a fan of solo queue, it takes the fun out of working in tandem with your friends.”

While currently, Valorant exists only in the form of a closed beta. It can not be understated that the exclusivity of the title along with it’s gameplay and stylish art are the main proponents as to the wild success and coverage the title has received in recent weeks.

“I’m not entirely sure if it’s going to be the next big game, it always feels like there’s something else ready and willing to take that spot. But the mixture of gameplay mechanics that Valorant focuses on and the wide variety of interesting characters at least make it feel like it’s worth trying out and that really says a lot nowadays,” says casual gamer Joseph Labbe.

As Valorant continues to pursuade professional gamers to it’s mix of tight balanced gameplay, the potential for profitability and the support of an established Esports giant, the future appears dim for fan-favorite Overwatch. Whether or not Valorant can truly usurp Overwatch from it’s throne however, is yet to be seen.