Today we will look at a game that mixes two genres that seem to have many attempts but even more promising but failed attempts at the gaming market. Valorant is a competitive first-person shooter that follows the tropes of having “heroic” abilities with a high skill ceiling. Most notably in this department of games is Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch, both of which are first person shooters with high skill ceilings. This is the first attempt at a first-person shooter by Riot Games and it certainly has some shoes to try and fill.
First thing is first, let us dive into the story or point of the game. The game focuses on a style that was made popular by CS: Go, 2 bomb sites, a bomb (or spike), and an overwhelming urge to plant the bomb or kill the other team. In this game, 2 teams of 5 battle it out on a map over bomb sites. Each round earns you money based on performance allowing you to buy items from a shop. This means teams can snowball or become too strong to stop and each buy must be tactical.
As you know all opinions are my own and do not reflect those of others, just because I enjoyed a game or did not enjoy it, does not mean you should avoid it. I will be basing the score of this game off a few factors that are listed below. With that being said let us dive right in.
Starting off with the run of the mill discussions are the graphics. This game has cartoonish style graphics that place it with the likes of Fortnite and Overwatch. The game looks pretty good and has the normal sliders you would expect a game to have meaning it can run on lower end PCs better than some games. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to talk about here as the primary focus is the gameplay rather than the graphics itself and the art style has been done many times by companies trying to cash in on familiarity whether intentional or not. In order to run this game you will need the minimum specs which will be an Intel i3-370m (CPU), Intel HD 3000 (GPU), 1 GB of VRAM, 4GB of RAM, and Windows 7 through 10 on a 64 bit system. Overall, this means this game can virtually run on most computers at the bare minimum of 30 fps. Performance gets a solid 10 from me.
Valorant attempts the style of CS: Go with the previously mentioned bomb system and item buying but a mix of overwatch with character abilities. You will be buying your abilities and guns as you can move around to the hidden part of the chokepoint for either side. This honestly makes the game feel a lot more tactical as to when to use your abilities and where because each ability will cost you precious money that you could be using to buy weapons and armor. Speaking of the weapons, I dislike how this game handles movement and shooting but once you get the hang of it, the quick nature that you will need to get the right peeks at the right time the game will start to feel better. It still feels very stiff though when trying to shoot the wide variety of guns while moving. I found the best way to compensate is to hold the sneak button while rounding corners to still get movement while shooting. I was unable to tell if there was bloom while moving or a fixed pattern. What this game does get right is allowing for most guns to have the option to zoom in, if only it was better to zoom than to hip fire as both have the same accuracy just a little more zoomed in. It honestly feels like a missed opportunity that could set it above the competition on the field. Gameplay gets a 7.5 out 10 for me because it is good, but it does lack in some key departments.
Moving on to one of the most important aspects that a game can have, it is the map design. This game really was lacking in map design for most of the maps that I had played on. The hallways were very narrow and typically cluttered by walls or boxes that felt either out of place or were really annoying to deal with. All open spaces felt like a guessing game for angles because of this as most angles had 3 or more peeking opportunities for defense and offense. This probably would not be an issue if it were not for the fact that this game heavily wants you to not move while shooting. For a first game made by new developers to this genre however I can understand. I hope in the future there will be more maps with different kinds of sightlines similar to how Overwatch and CS: Go do it. One map though that I do feel needs given credit where credit is due is Bind as it gives much needed opportunities with one-way teleporters and only 2 sites to focus on. This map still suffers from the other issues mentioned before but it was much more forgiving and felt like a more focused map from a developer who has a ton of potential. I look forward to coming back to this in the future but for now, the map/level design gets a 5 out of 10 for me.
Most games and game companies have to make money, and with that comes an even more controversial topic. Where should they be pulling money from? Valorant is free to play which means you do not have to pay a dime in order to play this game. What this does mean however is that certain things are now behind a paywall that can only be accessed with money. This game falls into a bit of the middle ground when it comes to the monetization. When we look at their other game League of Legends, we notice they have a free rotation with hundreds of locked champions to buy with earnable in game currency or a premium currency. This game does follow that same style except it gives you 5 out of 11 and expects you to either earn them or buy them with that premium currency. That same premium currency can also buy skins and cosmetics that use a Fortnite style of a rotating market that circulates every so often. This game also uses a battle pass system that can also help earn experience to give rewards such as 2 free operators, and progress towards other operators. I have seen worse monetization types, but I also have seen better, this earns a 7 out of 10 score.
Accessibility is always going to be a rating on how many people can actually play the game without much problem. The game comes with a color-blind mode, a pinging system and a ton of visual warnings for things. The big downside that I have found is that there is no sign of controller support for a long time. This means anyone who has struggles with a mouse and keyboard are unable to get anything going with a controller until this game releases for console and mobile. It is a good sign in the right direction for this game and I think for now it warrants a 5 out of 10. In the future this rating may go up as new features are added.
In conclusion, this game earns a 34.5 out of 50 on my final balancing sheets. Most games may vary depending on certain aspects of the game, but this is my basic 5 I will be grading games on in the future. Valorant is a mediocre game at best that really shows its flaws. The game can be fun, and the problems can be overlooked but it is important to focus on these problems to help better the future of gaming as a whole. This game is so much more fun with friends and communication as well. This is the first game from this developer in this genre and I expected issues, I cannot wait to see this game hopefully make the best of its resources.
34.5 out of 50
Unique characters and guns
Aiming down sights
Monetization not too greedy
Runs on most lower end PCs
High skill ceiling gap
Weak/Poor Map Design
Lack of mobility while shooting
No controller support