It’s been months since the release of Valorant. I planned to make this review earlier, but I didn’t wish to be swept along by the hype. After all, the best way to judge a game is to go into it without expectations. This was a game that made me both love it and hate it at the same time. This is my unfiltered review of Riot’s latest First-Person Shooter game: Valorant.
What is Valorant?
By this point, a majority already know what Valorant is. For the sake of the minority, I will explain it anyway. Valorant is a First-Person Shooter game which combines the elements of what made Overwatch popular and the tactical and methodical planning of Counter Strike: Global Offensive. It has currently three game modes which I will discuss later. The game runs on fairy low requirements which allows it to be run on older computers.
As I have mentioned previously, Valorant takes inspiration from Overwatch and CS:GO. Let us talk first about the Overwatch Element. The game gives you an array of “Agents” to play as, and each one is unique.
The Valorant Agents
Unlike CS:GO, Valorant doesn’t give you the option to buy grenades and other useful items. In return, they give these items to “Agents” as abilities. This game design sparked the debate in the community about how abilities will make shooting irrelevant. Riot has made it clear that abilities are meant to create tactical opportunities. With the release of Killjoy and presence of Raze, however, that made their statement unreliable.
They are further classified into four roles: Initiators, Controllers, Duelists and Sentinels.
This role is all about discombobulating the enemy team. They possess abilities that allow allies to either rush strongly, or rotate effectively. As a side effect, Initiators have a long wind-up for their abilities. This makes them ineffective during live combat. The agents in this role are Sova and Breach.
The Controllers are arguably the most important agents in this game. They provide the smokescreen that tactical shooters desperately need. Each agent under this role has abilities that allow the team to infiltrate enemy points with relative ease. If played correctly, you can ensure your team’s victory by a huge margin. Unfortunately, like Initiators, they have a long wind-up for their abilities. Omen, Viper, and Brimstone are all the agents in this role.
This is the perfect role if you are more suited to high-paced gameplay. Unlike the previous two, Duelists have near-instantaneous abilities that make them difficult to fight against. They thrive in the battlefield and can easily shift the game to their favour. Jett, Phoenix, Raze, and Reyna belong to this category.
While Controllers are the most important agents in the game, Sentinels come second. These agents possess abilities that allow them to defend points easily. In a game where abilities almost define the match, these agents help to balance things out. They usually come in a variety of abilities from healing other agents to dealing destructive damage. The agents in this role are Sage, Killjoy, and Cypher.
I would go into more detail about the agents, but that will need a need a separate article. Instead, I advise that you read up on their abilities. Try them out in the practice range first, and choose which one you are most comfortable with!
Valorant has three game modes: Spike Rush, Deathmatch, and Unrated/Competitive. Spike Rush is a faster version of Unrated wherein it challenges you to play under pressure with new abilities. Meanwhile, Deathmatch is a free-for-all which lets players kill each other for the highest score. Valorant’s main gameplay though is Unrated/Competitive. The objective in this game mode is similar to CS:GO. You have two objectives to choose from: wipe out the enemy team, or win by planting/defusing the bomb. During these two objectives, you are going to need to buy your abilities, guns and shields from the store.
The price of the abilities will vary per Agent, so I did not include them in this picture. Fortunately, the guns stay the same. Each gun is uniquely different from the other. Once again, I would advice that you experiment with the guns first, and see which ones fit your gameplay the best. I have rather poor aiming, so I usually just go for the machine guns.
For the armor, there are two shields. Surprisingly, these two shields do not have a big difference other than the amount of armor they provide. However, even that small difference in number can save your life. The game carries over the “tagging” mechanic from CS:GO. Once you get hit by a bullet, your movement gets incredibly slowed down. This makes you an easier target. A shield can help mitigate some of the damage as you try to get to safety. Headshots are a completely different story though. Guns like Vandal, Phantom and Guardian can render your armor useless.
My Opinion on Valorant
I have been playing Valorant for a month or two. In those months, I find Valorant to be both incredibly exciting and frustrating.
The low requirements take a toll on the game sometimes. Upon booting up the game and on your first match, the game will adjust its graphics according to your PC/Laptop. If you have two graphics cards, this will result to frame drops in the game without prior configuration. Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem if it happened in the first instance of the game. To my experience, the frame drops happen every first game and after a few more games in.
The client and servers are also very buggy and messy. There have been multiple occasions where I can’t invite my friend to the party. To their screen, they are in their lobby, but on mine they are currently playing. There is also a bug wherein the shots you fire do not register on the enemy’s hitbox. This is something that has been reported in the reddit community, and I have personally experienced. It is genuinely frustrating to hit a headshot on a Vandal, but the enemy does not die.
Then, there is the lag. I run on an almost stable 50MBP/s DL and UP speed, but I still experience spikes of lag in game. When the game starts to lag, it becomes almost impossible to hit your shots or move around. Even shooting point-blank with a shotgun doesn’t work. The client will show the animation of bullets leaving the barrel, but the server does not register the bullets hitting its target.
The guns in this game are also incredibly broken. The current meta favours heavily to guns that can instant kill with headshots despite Heavy Shields. There are currently five guns in the shop that can do that. Admittedly, these guns can be easily beaten by Heavy Weapons and good aim. However, I do believe that there is a balancing issue if you have five guns that can kill anyone in one hit. The game soon becomes a Duck Hunt simulator where Defenders will just hide in a corner and one-shot whoever appears in their view.
Movement speed in this game is also viciously slow. If you get tagged by a bullet, you are guaranteed to die unless you kill your attacker first. Peeking can be punished as characters don’t strafe as quickly in CS:GO.
Despite these setbacks, I still find Valorant to be fun. I have had incredible moments in the game and pulled off miraculous clutches in my ranked matches. While I am in Silver, and probably never going to get out of it, I find it more fun to play in this rank. I also advice to play the game with friends instead of playing on your own.
If you’re curious to see how I play, I do streams of it in my Facebook Page Yamiiru!