In the lead up to Astra’s release, we were invited to preview the newest Agent to join the Valorant fray. Here’s our first impressions of the space-bending Controller.
Thanks to previous agents, Valorant fans very high expectations for new releases. Full of creative concepts and ideas of their own, new Agents are expected to have some pizazz.
Yoru dropping earlier this year was certainly a rollercoaster experience, because despite the hype generated in the lead-up to the his release, he has fallen a little bit flat both in the casual and competitive sphere.
Astra, however, is a whole new ball game. Unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, I was so excited from the moment I laid eyes on her to when I took her for a spin on Future Earth. So, here are my first impressions of the new Ghanian Agent.
Astra is beautiful
From the first glimpse I caught of Astra I was already obsessed. The character design is a perfect blend of traditional and futuristic African values, brought to life with iconic voice lines and a sassy sense of humor.
And that’s before I talk about her abilities. In our first game, there was a collective moment of silence as we gazed in awe at just how beautifully animated her abilities are.
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From her Ultimate that cuts the world in half and beautifully absorbs bullets with a ripple effect to the design of her star map, everything is literally out of this world.
In terms of unique design, Astra fulfils expectations comfortably. What about her gameplay though? After all, that’s the most important part.
Astra is pretty complicated
One of the main issues that has plagued Yoru since his release is how complex he is. Analysts and players alike feel like other Duelists can accomplish what he does in half the time. Sadly, Astra may end up falling into the same rut.
As Riot promised, Astra is all about tactics. She takes the back seat (literally, because she floats) and surveys that battlefield, so won’t be rushing headlong into the front lines anytime soon.
Without an Omen-style Shadow Step escape route to keep her safe, Astra really is all about the background utility. So if you want to be at the heart of the action, she really isn’t for you.
Just as Killjoy says “you can’t just shoot, you have to think,” and Astra literally embodies that.
She does very little damage
While Astra’s abilities might sound powerful at first, they really do lack a bit of a punch. Unlike Viper or Brimstone who have grenades built into their kit, Astra really has nothing.
You could argue that fellow Controller Omen also doesn’t have a damage-oriented kit, but he’s got the element of surprise with his Ult and Shadow Step. Once Astra’s dropped her stars, that’s basically it.
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And each of her little sparkly balls of doom don’t actually deal real damage. Her Gravity Well is akin to Overwatch’s Zarya’s ultimate, Graviton Surge, therefore doesn’t have damage as the focal point. Her Signature Nebula is a smoke, and her Nova Pulse is great for concussing but not chunking the enemy team.
It drops her down a peg in the damage department sure, but I’d argue her Ultimate effectively makes up for it.
Astra’s Ultimate is insane
While you’ll be starstruck (get it?) the first time you see Astra drop her Ult in-game, you’ll realise very quickly that the vibrant purple wall is a game-changer.
With the possibility of spanning the entire length of the map, her Cosmic Divide blocks bullets and dulls any sounds nearby. One wrong step and you really will be on the wrong side of the wall.
Perfect for cutting off and isolating members of the enemy team on the Attack, as well as bomb sites or the spike itself on Defense, the risk of walking through her Ult makes it incredibly useful in the right hands.
It’ll be interesting to see how Riot develop this very new style of ability. I can already feel the backlash lurking in the wings, so we’ll have to see what happens.
Astra is beautiful, but not quite deadly
As a backseat Controller main I’m thrilled to see an Agent like Astra in the game. The perfect way of rejuvenating your rusty brain during these crazy times, she’s a great addition to the Controller sphere.
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However, if you were looking for a one-shot monster you’re going to be disappointed. Astra isn’t an Agent for the more aggressive among us, but hopefully, you can admire the work that’s gone into her design.
All in all, she’s pretty divisive. Either way though, we can’t wait to see her take to Future Earth in style.