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