Valorant Review

Valorant review by René Treur


The initial Valorant Hype looks to have calmed down. While the first competitive tournaments -after the beta stage- have taken place. Several pro CS:GO players and teams have made the transition already. Time to make up the balance for Riots Shooter and see where it stands for myself.

valorant
Image: Valorant

Valorant is a 5v5 character-based tactical shooter, with superhuman special abilities on top of the realistic-looking weaponry. I have taken an interest to Valorant ever since Riot Games announced to make a shooter under the codename Project A in October 2019.

The game was said to be the first real successor for Counter-Strike and it’s 3rd game incarnation (or fourth, if you count Condition Zero) CS:Global Offensive.

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Valorant Features

My interest stems from multiple factors;

  • The fact that my career in esports started as a Counter-Strike player, and while I’m known as the FIFA and PES commentator/host of the Netherlands and Belgium my commentary career also started out with CS 1.6.
  • Valorant not only looked interesting during Beta Phase -many titles before did peak my interest, such as r6s and overwatch-. But the idea that a huge company like Riot, rooted firmly in the world of esports and with a track record of setting up successful global events made my imagination run wild.

You can imagine I had huge confidence in this game becoming the next big thing from the get-go, at the end of this article I will let you know whether that is still the case after playing for a few weeks.

Graphics

The first things that catch the eye when playing or watching this game, are the cartoony graphics.
This is a smart choice when looking at it from esports betting perspective -as I always do-. Because one of the main reasons TV production companies around the world haven’t been pounding out televised CS:GO leagues -like they have with the likes of FIFA, F1 and PES- is the realism of the violence.
It helps smooth over the violence discussion because it’s all clearly a fantasy world.
This feeling is enforced by the special abilities of the characters. It all has a very Overwatch type of vibe, especially with characters using one-liners during play giving it a bit of a feel good atmosphere.

volorant graphics
Image: Riot Games

The spike planting, weapon economy and maps all very closely resemble CS, and the balance was off in some maps at first but Riot has been actively finetuning characters and nerfing abilities that were considered OP (overpowered).

Especially that competitive map balance is very important if you want to carve your titles name in the esports hall of fame, in my experience. Mind games, strategies, communication and mechanical skill seem balanced enough to all play their part in Valorant.

Weapons

I love how you can easily buy weapons for teammates and don’t have to juggle them around. Also mistakes on buying equipment isn’t punished like in CS as you can sell the weapons back if you feel like going for a different option.

On the weapons we can easily draw comparisons to the games that inspired Riot to dip their feet into the FPS waters. Much as in Call of Duty titles, there’s an aim-down-sights mode for any available weapon for a slightly increased zoom and accuracy.

CS was probably the inspiration for recoil, although the patterns aren’t easily mastered, as Riot managed to put some randomness in there which isn’t just simply countered by dragging the mouse in a certain direction the way you could in Valves esports mastodon.

This means you will need to position wisely, and can only properly spray down one or multiple targets at close proximity, and at range you will need to be patient and burst/tap at a lower rate. It gives a tactical edge to Valorant, although I think some hardcore CS pro’s that don’t enjoy Valorant as much might claim this lowers the skill ceiling for players with insane mechanical abilities.

Maps

As far as maps go, I could only have hoped for a few more.
Currently we have Bind, Haven, Split and Ascent, visually appealing and good balance, with many opportunities to use the special abilities and weapons in creative ways.

From the Beta phase to the initial release they added just one to the three existing maps, but I imagine Riot will definitely keep bringing out new maps.

 

valorant The latest map, Ascent
The latest map, Ascent Image: Riot Games

Agents

For the 11 agents, I could write a complete article, but suffice to say Riot is doing well nerfing and finetuning them, and any FPS fan will find several characters they like. Highlight reels will look as impressive as the best ones in other shooters, especially with some of the crazy abilities coming into play. 

After playing the game myself for a few weeks, I decided to reach out to someone I know who played competitively with a team from the start of the Beta phase, to compare notes and make this review more complete. Walead “InTeNsZz” Anwar, who played Counter-Strike at a very competitive level and managed to win some Dutch LAN-tournaments in the past, was glad to oblige, find the mini-interview below;

Interview with Valorant player:

Hi Walead, what was your first impression of Valorant, and has that changed when you started playing seriously?

I started playing during the Beta, my first impression was that it looked very cartoonish, and after playing CSGO and COD. I didn’t like it at first. But when I started playing, I really got the CS1.6 feeling, and I actually started to like it a lot. The serious part didn’t come until later, when many friends started playing it and certain sites started hosting tournaments.

How do you feel Valorant compares to CS:GO?

I played CS from 1.3, and I was honestly done with it in the end. After that I tried a lot of new games like PUBG, Rust, Fortnite and COD, but nowhere could I really get that competitive feeling that attracted me so much in CSGO. Valorant is the first game where I really feel that challenge to perform and see how far I can get with it.

What are your plans with Valorant, will you play for fun mostly or actually try and reach a high competitive level?

No, the plan is to really perform in Valorant. We recently revived the old clan CEA! (Champions esports Association) with a Valorant line up, consisting of some old CSGO names and some new talents. Yesterday we won our first online tournament at www.esportsNederland.nl, so there is certainly potential.

Mouspro, Ynns, Snevs, Splurge, Space invader and InTeNsZz

Congratulations my friend, seems like you still have some of the old moves! Do you think the game has a long lasting future ahead, or even decades at the top of the esports food chain, or will it ever reach those heights?

I sincerely hope so! The problem with many new games is that the designers keep adjusting and making things up. I hope that Valorant keeps the game clean, and focuses on the competitive part and that it doesn’t become a Fortnite game with all kinds of strange skins and updates. In my experience, that was always the strength of CSGO. There were some map updates every now and then, but they did not turn it into a spectacle.

Thank you, gl & hf!

Valorant review conclusion

I have to say after a few weeks I already feel the same spark that Walead is talking about. This game has managed to reignite a flame in me that I haven’t felt for a long time. Not since Counter-Strike have I ever felt the urge to master several aspects of a game. With my girlfriend and my own company, as well as a few other big projects demanding a lot of time I can’t create a team and give it a real shot at competing.

But I imagine if I was 15 years younger, I would play this game 4-5 times a week and really have a go at it. The clutch situations create an adrenaline rush I haven’t felt since CS1.6, and trounces killing 7 guys in a row in say, COD MW.

 Anyone out there who wants to play a great tactical FPS title with a team should definitely try this game out!

It’s hard to master to the level where you can compete for titles, but if you love climbing a skill mountain get your grinding boots on and start your adventure!

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