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Valorant's newest agent Astra has arrived

Nova gonna give you up

Valorant Episode 2 Act 1 is done. The sneaky teleporting agent Yoru is so last season, now it's Astra's time to shine. Act 2 last night, introducing the cosmic new character, along with a new battle pass and some pretty (expensive) new gun skins. But we'll get to that stuff in a bit, because Astra is way cooler than any of it. She is, without a doubt, my new main. She's a Controller agent with smokes, concussion blasts and a scary ultimate that creates a barrier which blocks sight and sound.

Astra's abilities all revolve around placing stars around a map. At any point during a match, she can enter her Astral Form. Similarly to when Omen enters his shadow-y place, this allows Astra to see the entire map and pop down up to five stars wherever she'd like.

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Once placed, she has three abilities that she can use to create different effects on the stars. Nebula makes a smoke that can block enemy sightlines and provide cover, Gravity Well sucks enemies in and causes a small explosion that makes them vulnerable, and Nova Pulse concusses players in a small area around the blast.

Her ultimate, Cosmic Divide, lets her place a huge straight wall that spans the entire map (a lot like Symmetra in Overwatch). The Divide blocks sight, sound, bullets and even some abilities (like Jett's knives and Raze's ult).

I had the chance to try Astra early, and my main takeaway from the few matches I played is that Cosmic Divide is going to take a lot of getting used to. Having a sound-denying skill in a game like Valorant is incredibly strong because players rely so heavily on audio. I found it a bit trippy not being able to tell what was happening right next to me, but I'm eager to play with her some more to see how people deal with it.

Here she is activating her smoke.

Astra landed in Valorant last night, and like all the other new agents you'll need to play a bunch of games to earn enough XP, or spend 1000 Valorant Points (which will set you back £10/$10) to unlock her. I wouldn't waste your money though, it doesn't take that long to unlock characters.

If you're into spending money on Valorant, however, then you might be pleased to hear the new battle pass has arrived too. That will also cost you 1000 VP, and will earn you a bunch of gun skins, gun buddies and other cosmetic goodies as you level it up.

Last but not least (but certainly the most pricey), the game has added to its Prime gun skin line. The Phantom, Frenzy, Bucky and Odin have all gotten the Prime treatment, and there's a new karambit knife for your melee weapon as well. The bundle to buy all of those costs 7100 VP, which you'd have to spend a good £70/$70 to get.

The skins are lovely, but rather than splash out, I think I'll stick to looting them off other players' corpses during matches for now.
As always, the update also brought with it a few bug fixes and quality of life changes too, and you can check those out in the 2.04 patch notes.

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