Valorant’s new agent Neon breaks the pace of the game, but in a good way

Valorant Episode 4 has kicked off and brings with it the new agent Neon, who – like the famous blue hedgehog – walks fast. They are able to sprint and glide around on maps at windy speeds, which may seem at odds with the game’s tactical pace, but they fit nicely into the list. The thing is, you have to be brave enough to get the most out of their pull set, which rewards ballsy play over careful corner turns. It is safe to say that I struggled to break out of my tentative shell, but when did I do that? Hoo boy, what a thrill.

Neon’s whole schtick is speed. Inspired by lightning, her ultimate ability lets her shoot electricity from her fingertips. She can raise walls of static electricity that block your view and injure anyone who passes through them, a bit like a stuffy fast lane. As for grenades, she has an energy bolt that bounces off surfaces, leaving a concussion splash on the ground. But it is her ability to sprint and glide that sets her apart from the rest.

Valorant rewards coordination and patience. It’s mostly an FPS, where you stalk around corridors at a snail’s speed. Unnecessary chat is a distraction. What if you do not hear the footsteps of the enemy or miss an important extract of information from an ally? You are conditioned to take things slowly, methodically. Many of the game’s agents fit this tactical form. Sure, you have Jett who can jump and throw himself up into the sky, but hers are short bursts of speeds that are best used sparingly.

That’s not to say that Neon’s sprint should not be used in the same way, it’s just … inviting. You can activate it repeatedly as there is almost no cooling off period and you do not have to buy fees in the store. As long as you move forward, a quick press of the “hov it” button (TM) gives more than enough time to cover half a card, or in my case try some cheeky flanks.

I suppose you’re wondering how powerful her laser beam feels? Uh, that’s okay. It does the same amount of damage to an enemy no matter where you zap them. Best combined with your sprints and slides, but honestly, not as effective as some bullets in the head.

Cut me to playing with a bunch of influencers and people who are much good for this game. I play Neon and it’s my first fight and somehow I get four kills in quick succession. My team takes this up and I revel in having proven myself a little bit towards strangers. Then one of them asks, “Did you use any of her abilities?”, I answer with a “No” and laugh. According to my usual FPS trends, I relied a lot on my goal and forgot that I had the ability to sprint or, yes, zap people with my electric fingers.

But over time, I forced myself out of my comfort zone. Soon I was sprinting out of the gates and gathering information lightning fast. I turned into a ladle machine. Puha “a left pyramid”. Another time I committed a cardinal sin and left my team to defend the bomb on their lonely. In a sprint, I flanked around the enemy, got an elimination, died and shouted incomprehensible words. Puha “aahhhffjgjgh”. It did not help in the least, but it was exciting to say the least.

Right-click when you sprint and you perform a quick slide. Perfect for whipping around corners and surprising your opponents, or just ducking under the crosshairs for a split second to get your shot first. However, you can not spam this game. At the start of a fight, you get two charges, and the only way to get these back after using them is to secure yourself two kills. I can see top players let and slide around on cards, get killed and replenish their thoughts in the process. Play fast and you will be rewarded with “fast juice”. Aggression gives rise to aggression, so to speak.

You can catch an enemy Neon off guard if you enter their territory early.

And maintaining momentum is the key to playing Neon. You are a disruptive force that does not so much as determine the pace, but breaks it. You make this power ride faster than any other. Enemies empty around corners; you glide around them. Enemies trot over to a place; you ask for it.

While Neon’s concussion grenade is great for throwing into a spot and forcing people out of positions, it’s her static wall that compliments her speed. Less because it hurts people passing through it, but more because it creates this channel for her to sprint down and in and out of. I used it as another way to hide the view and get information to my team, like a long cloak I could tear off and on.

If the enemy has a good Neon on their team, then you will fear the mantle. In fact, you will probably feel quite nervous. I was determined. You can not find yourself at ease in a rhythm if they have a player whizzing around corners and slipping and zapping you. That is not to say that she is too fast, as I reckon Riot has found a good balance here. To get the most out of her pace, carefully match it, and handle it. Fails to do so and the speed quickly deteriorates to ruthlessness, meaning she is an agent who requires practice to get it right. Something I need plenty of, I think.

Give a Comment