Review: Valorant breathes fresh air to the world of first-person shooters

By Zachary Chen, Feb. 23, 2021

In the world of competitive first-person shooters, major titles like Counter-Strikend Call of Duty dominated the scene for years — until Valorant made its grand entrance, bringing a breath of fresh air to the first-person shooter genre.

Especially with video games rising in popularity during the pandemic, Valorant, a free-to-play tactical hero shooter game first released by Riot Games, saw steady growth in its player base since its release in June 2020.

Valorant gameplay draws various inspirations from other first-person shooter games, taking the movement and tactical aim from Counter-Strikend infusing it with a wide range of agents that bring different utility to the team — similar to the Hero system in Overwatch.

The main game mode is a 5-on-5 match where attackers must plant the bomb (also known as the Spike) while defenders fend off the attackers by eliminating enemies or by defusing the bomb. This is the common game mode for most competitive players.

For those who want to take a more lighthearted approach to the game, Riot offers alternative, fast-paced game modes like Spike Rush and the newly released Escalation. These game modes tend to be quicker and less stressful for those new to the game.

The aim in this game may be an issue for most in the beginning, especially those without a background in Counter-Strike. However, Riot’s clever decision to include aim trainers allows new players to go into the game and practice their aim alongside other mechanics, such as recoil control, movement and agent abilities.

Like most competitive games in the esports world, gameplay updates and adjustments are necessary for maintaining the balance and playability of a game. Unlike its competitors at Valve, the developers of Counter-Strike, this is a field Riot Games specializes in due to its experience in developing League of Legends, the most prominent game in the esports scene.

Compared to Valve, Riot has taken greater measures in ensuring a smooth and consistent gameplay experience. With better servers, quality of life improvements and refined anti-cheat software, Valorant triumphs over and even perfects Counter-Strike’s weakness.

Prior to the release of the game, Valorant developers reached out to professional players in the esports scene for their insight before the release to make additional adjustments based on the players’ responses. The company’s willingness to listen to the community is a major contributing factor to the game’s successful launch.

With smooth gameplay, great servers and the reputation of Riot Games to uphold the integrity of the game, Valorant will continue to flourish for the years to come.

Valorant is currently available on Windows and is free to play at https://playvalorant.com/en-us/.

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