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Here's our hands-on first impressions of Valorant's new map, PEARL

We got to spend some time with Valorant's new map, PEARL, and here's what we thought.

Last night (June 16), Riot Games' revealed Valorant's latest map, PEARL, via a cinematic trailer and developer livestream. Shortly after the stream, myself, Dorrani, and a bunch of other content creators were invited to test the map out for ourselves. To put it simply, we all had an absolute hoot, and PEARL could be one of Valorant's best maps yet.

The eighth map will be introduced to the map pool when Episode 5 Act 1 launches on June 22, alongside a new skinline inspired by the likes of DOOM and Quake. The sad news, however, is that Split will be removed from the map pool for Unrated and Competitive play.

I've managed to do four or so matches on PEARL so far, and needless to say, the general consensus seems to be that Valorant players are impressed. In the above video, myself and Dorrani discussed the time we spent with the map last night, and what we think of it.

PEARL is an underwater city inspired by Portugal, with various elements of the map hand-crafted by Portuguese artists. Frankly, PEARL is the Valorant map with the most life and vibrance to it.

While your goal is to obviously attack or defend, it's hard not to be a little distracted by the amount of detail PEARL has scattered around every corner. And there's a lot of corners. There's a shopping district, a club, statues of our favourite agents, and it's just incredibly whimsical.

PEARL doesn't have any funky mechanics like Bind's portals or Fracture's zip wires, Dorrani noted, and instead primarily relies on being geo-driven. The map consists of three lanes and two sites, with a mid portion made up of multiple cosy corridors and nooks to hide in during a post-plant situation.

Site A will definitely be a favourite for those who prefer close range fights and utility, and with the sprawling entrance to B, the latter site will definitely be preferred for those with a clean long-range aim.

In our video, we also both noted just how difficult this map can be to manoeuvre, considering there are lines of sight everywhere. In some instances, turning around one corner feels like a gamble. PEARL is a map that is going to require a strong defence and even stronger communication; without a solid team that includes Sentinels, it's going to be difficult to have every angle covered post-plant.

Dorrani also noted how PEARL is going to be a game-changer for the ultimate abilities of some Agents. With so many tight corners, and A site also being quite compact, ultimates from Brimstone, Sova, Breach, Fade and more are going to catch players out a lot.

It's likely that PEARL is a map that'll call upon the use of Sentinel Agents more, like Killjoy and Chamber, to be able to keep a site locked down or retake them easily. With so many angles and hiding places on offer, defence and intel is of the utmost importance across PEARL, and maybe we'll even see Cypher being used a bit more in competitive play.

What are your thoughts on the new Valorant map? Let us know in the comments!

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