Riot Games is about to release a new map named Pearl for first-person shooter VALORANT in the upcoming Episode 5 Act 1.
From the get go, if you are familiar with the classic FPS Counter-Strike, Pearl oozes the same kind of vibe as CS:GO's Inferno map, with its town-like buildings and tight corners.
Set under water, Pearl is a map that has the standard VALORANT layout, having two sites to plant the spike and a middle area that branches out to both the sites.
What makes this map unique is the amount of corners and tight spots present in Pearl.
While it does not have as much vertical planes like Icebox, there is enough to throw players off-guard at times, and coupled with the tight corners that the map has, there are enough opportunities for a player to surprise their enemies from an off-angle spot.
The road to A-site is full of sharp corners that will be able to hide players for a surprise attack.
On A-site itself, there are numerous angles to cover if you are looking to plant the spike.
But because these entry-points are so small and narrow, smokes will be the key to get in safely and cause disruption in the enemy defense.
The path to B-site, however, is much more straight-forward, but has a long and exposed path that will be a playground for snipers.
Once in, the B-site has a top platform that can only be accessed from deep within the Defender's side if the agent that you are using do not have any kind of vertical movement skills.
There is also a very weird hiding spot at B-site that is behind a very wide wall (on the right side in the picture above). It is just a large pocket of space that allows a player to hide in, but with nowhere to run for cover if they are being pushed by an enemy.
The middle of the map is where Pearl is also unique, compared to all the other maps in VALORANT.
Maps like Ascent, Icebox and Split have a middle path that closely connects to the Defender's side spawn point, making it tough to sometimes rotate between sites through the middle path simply because there is a high chance that the enemy will be waiting there for you.
Pearl has paths that go direct into A and B site without going too deep into the Defender's spawn, making a rotation from one site to the other through the middle a little less stressful.
Defenders can also safely rotate through their spawn without the fear of an Attacker lurking into the territory, because of how deep in it is.
However, a team that manages to establish mid-control dominance will be extremely strong, as they will be able to cut off quick rotates or trap players in their respective sites with nowhere to go.
To summarise, my experience with this map from the limited time with it before writing this article leads me to believe that vision-blocking abilities will be extremely strong in this map.
Coupled with the fact that there are so many tight corners to check, it is also a lurker's heaven to catch people off guard.
I can see why the Defender's spawn is placed so deep into the map - to provide the Defenders a safe route to rotate if they lose mid-control, and to prevent lurkers from lurking in too deep (while taking out a whole rotating team in the process).
Besides, the new map, Episode 5 Act 1 also comes with a new skin bundle that I am personally excited about.
The "Prelude to Chaos" skinline is an obvious nod to the DOOM and Quake games, having themes from those titles and is probably the most heavy-sounding weapon skins to date.
The bundle comes with a Vandal, Operator, Stinger, Shorty (this really feels like the Super Shotgun from DOOM) and melee skin, and will cost 8700 VALORANT Points to purchase. It will also include a player card and gun buddies.
VALORANT's Episode 5 Act 1 will commence on 22 June 2022.
Dominic loves tech and games. When he is not busy getting headshotted in VALORANT or watercooling anything he sees, he does some pro wrestling.