Author Archives: Howard Roark

Valorant – a CS killer?

On 20th June 2020, Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, released a free-to-play multiplayer tactical first-person shooter by the name of ‘Valorant’. The main theme of the game is the classic 5v5 bomb-plant scenario as most of us would be familiar with since the era of CS1.6 introduction. However, some people tend to whine that Valorant is just a rip-off of overwatch and CS:GO, while majority consider this a whole new game with a minimalist approach. So, let’s break down the game to its five core aspects and find out how good it really is and if it really is the “CS:GO killer”.


Let me be honest here, Valorant does inculcate the game mechanism of CS:GO along paired beautifully with the idea of character abilities from Overwatch. This means that along with using your character’s fancy abilities and killing an enemy, you can also just put a bullet through his head and make people talk about your one taps. 

The basic idea of the gameplay is simple, just like CounterStrike, there are two teams of five: Attackers and Defenders. Attackers are supposed to plant the ‘spike’ on a certain location on the finely tuned maps of Valorant and make it detonate successfully while defenders are given the objective of stopping them. Let’s not get much into technical stuff and talk about the interesting range of weapons and abilities that Valorant has to offer. Valorant consists of total 17 weapons ranging from hand-held pistols to heavy-duty machine-guns and sniper rifles. All the weapons have their own stats, but these are technicalities, which we learn about as we play the game. All the characters in the game have their own unique abilities along with an ‘ultimate’ skill that ranges from teleporting to any part of the map to reviving a fallen ally. As long as you are alive, you always have a chance of making a hero play using your abilities in the most creative ways possible and leave your teammates in awe.


This game has no real “story”, but multiplayer games are about enjoying with friends rather than focusing on the story. However, they do release a small teaser with every new battle-pass which contains interaction between the characters. Also, all the characters have a little description that contains a back-story for them. 


Valorant is the first game in which I have not turned off the Main-Menu music! The music in Valorant is really good and sets the correct vibe. Talking about the gameplay sounds, the sound in Valorant is optimal enough to accurate guess the enemy’s position from their footsteps, shooting sounds with some in-game experience.


Valorant being a 2020 game, might be expected to sport hyper-realistic graphics and enticing visuals. The reality is just the opposite! At the time of writing this review, the game requires around 11 GB of space with almost 5-6 GB of download. The graphics in Valorant are minimalistic and not very realistic, they rather resemble the Fortnite aesthetics. At the same time, they are finely tuned to appropriately fit the combat mechanism of the game along with providing a good overall experience. The most aesthetically pleasing part of the graphics would be the skins that they provide for the weapons. Unlike CS:GO, Valorant does not have to put up with realistic graphics and so they can go crazy with the weapon skins. There are skins that literally look like you are holding a mini-dragon! Also, these skins have special animations for if you are the one to kill the last enemy. For example, if you kill the last guy with a dragon skinned weapon, a literal dragon is summoned from the sky which takes away the opponent’s soul. To conclude the graphics section, I would like to say that the game has found a good balance for the minimalism in graphics along with some mental animations and aesthetic weapon skins.

The game is very optimally designed to make you spend hours after hours playing it considering the minimal graphics and the basic gameplay. Just like any multiplayer competitive games, the more time you spend on it, the more you understand the minute details that go into winning rounds and the more complex and interesting the game becomes. Also, the maps and weapons are very designed fantastically while keeping in mind the fairness of the gameplay. The attention to detail is also noteworthy in every aspect of the game.


The game being free-to-play, you don’t have to invest anything as long as you have a decent computer to play it on. However, you do require to invest a considerable amount of money for getting battle-pass and the aesthetic weapon skins we talked about in the graphics section. This does not mean that the game is pay-to-win as all of these are just visual pleasers and do not improve the gameplay, on paper, at least. I mean, imagine clutching a 1v5 with a plain black rifle or with a literal golden mini dragon in your hand. Which of these sound better? Exactly. So, initially, all the game requires is your time, but as you dive more into it, investing some money on the skins will become inevitable.

Far from being a CS:GO killer for hardcore gamers, the idea of softening the battel realism by introducing some elements of fantasy (unreal skills like owl drone, flame throwing, resurrection) may be interesting. There is a population of gamers for whom blood-spashing realism of CS is a little too much to bare. If properly managed by the game designer Riot, can actually work as an intro to the more ‘adult’ CS franchise. Overall, the game is worth trying if you are new to the FPS, but will not give much of enjoyment to the current hard core CS devotees.

Gameplay: 4/5 || Graphics: 3/5 || Music: 4/5 || Design: 4/5 || Economics: 3/5

Halflife – frist approach

Yes, I know, this game has been around for a veeeery long time but it was my first time to try it out, just as a test to approaching the classic FPSs. HalfLife in its first incarnation was a really defining piece of engineering and created a stream of followers. It is now my turn to look at this classic and compare it to … well Doom, CS:GO and Halo.


let’s be honest here, one cannot decide on the game after having barely completed the intro, but .. this was a good intro. the play is smooth, you manage a character that is running around some imaginary sub-terrain facilities, tackle obstacles. pretty good design. The intro makes it easy to understand the game basics, is very interactive and easy to follow. Basically, i was shown key operational capabilities – from walking / running to jumping and activating newly found objects. With only the intro / training behind me, i can tell that (especially for a game of that age) it is great.


right – no story here, as i basically went through a help / user manual. even this one is quite impressive – you get to run around trying various movement techniques. teaches well

graphics / design

it’s the early 2000 we are talking about here. the movements are smooth, occasionally loading content made me wait a split second, i’m sure that would have been fixed if my machine was fully ready. the one feature of the screen design is … it is very orange. it feels a little bit like the old DOOM i recall from the years past. texture of the walls and general surroundings makes the graphics less accurate, which of course is playing into benefit for the technical implementation . movements are smooth, picture well behaving, the avatar of yourself but also others are moving quite naturally. good compromise between number of details and the movement smoothement.


nothing. zero. yes, you’ve heard it – the only economic aspect is that you buy a box (or electronic version thereof) from Valve and you can play. that is it, you dont even have to be able to count to 100 to play. somewhat disappointing. you can’t have it all, i guess.

technical dexterity

right, so, here we probably need a time machine to move back to the late ’90s to be able to comapre. as of today, the technology is not super duper, but it does what’s on the box – gives you a first person experience and you can shoot and run and jump etc. Overall – very positive.

Stats, links, references

So which game is most popular? most played? who plays it? I don’t like to discover games on my own. I’d rather have some pioneers do the scouting for me and I jump in. There is so much information available on the internet it is dizzying and this is the idea behind the it starts with an ‘I’, meaning real played game.

Which of the games are in fact worth playing, I was wondering. I started looking for best resources but actually this problem turns out to be not so trivial. We use a number of sources to get some comparative information.

here is a couple of useful sites with gaming statistics and links to gaming sites.

Some stats pages

And here some other links that I will keep updated and curated.

ok, this does not really belong to the blog section but to some kind of sidebar … working on it…

Great blog from Aaron Bush about the financial part of gaming worlds.

Happy Deus Ex bDay

So apparently it was 20 years ago to the day today when Eidos Interactive published Ion Storms’ Deus Ex. This first person shooter – adventure – rpg started what became a series of games much touted till this day by many in the gaming world. Not to mention the inspiration it was for future generations of games like CS:GO , GTA and the like.

gameplay. So ok, I’ll admit this – someone will need to explain to me the gameplay. Also directing was pretty spectacular as was the music. So – what is the story and game play?

Music. the music has survived the test of time pretty well. There are enhanced versions floating around the net and a set of new remixed and remastered melodies have popped up.

Deus Ex 20th Anniversary Remix Album Announced | The Nerd Stash
not a bad picture – I’d buy a game with graphics on the box .. if we were buying boxes

it was released on Win and soon thereafter on Macs , with the console version arriving some 2 yrs later. Interestingly, nintendo fans were made to wait full 15 years (fifteen ! yes, I know, crazy) for their version/port.

Stil excited to play the game? why? why not?

good games bad games

what is the reason for playing games

Assassin creed is full of bloody depictions of merciless crimes (or at least that is what one would be convicted to, had he slid some other man’s throat, the world was different in the olden days). CS:GO is all about shooting people and splatters appearing around the head of your enemy are supposed to be smoothed by the way you call killing – a frag. There are some outright dark personas in online gaming, game companies even, specializing in particularly nasty, psychodelic horror stories (remember ‘_observer’?) or other nastiness. Blood, gore, swearing or, in most vivid form, shooting another avatar with pink colored ray that mutilates the opponent.

seriously? Where is the benefit of playing games then? Worrying parents would say – nowhere, they should all be banned. Well, let’s have a look. Many of the contemporary games are seemingly mindless. Taking a look at a history of the (gatunek) reveals quite some opposite. Chess is teaching logical thinking (and has been for centuries if not millenia) and was promoted and played by kings and peasants alike. GO is famously complicated, emotional, uses aesthetics. Football in its many forms is being professionally played by thousands, watched by millions and (attempted to be) played by even more, teaches physical strength, mental strength, technique, spacial cognition. Fencing was in the past a real battle between selected representatives of battling tribes with an aim to limit human losses of entire tribal population.

where do we go from here

Games give us a way to test how the behavior would look like in reality, test the behavior and test the collaboration. Humans can use games as a surrogate for real situations, test their own and opponents moves , strategize and, let’s not forget this one, have fun in a safe environment, develop strategies that can be used in real life.

Yes, actions games tend to be more popular these days than chess, go, RPG games however, let’s not underestimate the learning opportunities created by Minecraft, CS:GO and other games. Especially the multiplayer aspect and ability to collaborate in an environment mimicking real life, strategizing.

Are we the only species on earth playing games? Apparently not. Animals have fun much like we humans do but also use the game and play to practice speed and balance, other skills, they will be able to use in later life when facing a predator.

Let’s stop demonizing games then and start thinking how we can enrich the experience so that the players (kids as well as, increasingly, adults) can advance and make their future life better. all the while having fun, of course, which is the main point of and magnetism of games. Including computer games. including the online multiplayer shooting games. and the tetris. and the Apex Legend. and the interactive Netflix’s bandersnatch film. and world of Warcraft. and mario brothers.

I played this game

Thanks for joining us (Bustrex & HowardRoark)!

I played this game is for those of us who enjoy a good game play as part of their entertainment, personal life and pastime activity. You see, some people enjoy going to the movies, some spend considerable amounts of time binge watching tv series streamed through the latest and greatest online service. There are opera lovers, and maybe some of makers around us prefer a small project, creating something out of wood or paper. Others still write blogs or watch theatre or musical performance on West End.

I enjoy game play. For all the concerned, I do believe that there is more than meets the eye in playing video games. The interactive activity combines several traits of other entertainment pleasures available to us. You can watch it (like a TV show), you can interact with the gameplay, as prescribed by a game direction (like in the movies), you can and often do, interact with the gameplay to change the protagonist’s actions (a little like creating your own project). The world of electronic games and entertainment is only in it’s early stages (this text was originally written in 2018).


some other motley thoughts

  • …use time wisely ;
  • stay in comfort of your own chair or move to special location to socialize;
  • with friends or alone;
  • with remote friends as easy as next door neighbor.