Valorant is a team-based tactical first-person shooting game by Riot Games, the company behind the hugely popular League of Legends. Within the last year, Riot has revealed plans for several games in different genres, and after their step into card games with Legends of Runeterra, they’ve been focusing on their big gun – Valorant. The game is clearly meant to compete in the same landscape as Counter-Strike, Overwatch, and Rainbow Six: Siege, all huge first-person team shooters with their own strengths and weaknesses. In terms of gameplay styles, Valorant sits comfortably between Overwatch and Counter-Strike, mixing heroes equipped with distinct abilities and playstyles with slower, more tactical gameplay that’ll punish you for running in without a plan.
The colours and details pop out in the simplistic maps and their neutral colour schemes.
This mix between a serious, slower military themed shooter and a wacky superhero-like game with colourful characters works, surprisingly well even. Though almost nothing in the game feels original, with weapons and the main game mode of attack vs. defence bomb planting taken straight from CS, and many abilities like exploding fireballs or summoning an ice wall being nothing new or special, they have been balanced just right to create a hybrid where those elements work together to create a game where you can pull off entertaining stunts for fun or feel the adrenaline in tense moments that decide whether you’ll win or lose the entire match. The abilities are not too overpowered or easy to use for you to just instantly win firefights by pressing a single button, since they all come with their drawbacks: your blinding ability has a short range and blinds allies as well, and teleporting behind the enemies’ backs leaves you vulnerable for several seconds. You must master these abilities, and that makes it even more enjoyable when you do amazing things with them.
Each character is distinguishable even with only a picture of their face.
Each character is visually distinct from one another, and they all have their unique abilities, voice lines, and unlockables like sprays or profile banners. Though Riot has put a lot of effort into making the characters their own personalities, there’s a certain magic missing that I can’t put my finger on. I don’t really know the characters stories, what they are really like inside, or what their motivations are. Why are they even fighting? There isn’t enough information to really start getting invested with them or the games overarching story, which has by the time of this writing been left sadly unexplained. This might change in the future, and we are seeing promises of that in the form of short animated clips, which will hopefully tell us more as time goes on.
Valorant is not that original or well developed in terms of lore and themes, but it copies the right things and uses them just right to create a gaming experience that might someday stand up there with the greats.
All pictures were taken from the game by the author.
Publisher: Riot Games
Developer: Riot Games
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
Release Date: 2.6.2020
Genres: Free-to-play, Multiplayer, Tactical first-person shooter
PEGI: 16, ESRB: Teen