Precise headshots, nerve-wracking bomb plants, and powerful agents distinguish Valorant as one of the best in its class.
Traditionally being a controller player, I have always been tempted to switch over to mouse and keyboard. I’ve tried to play countless games from Fortnite to CS: GO, but unfortunately, nothing could stop me from plugging a controller in as it just felt more natural to me. Enter Valorant. After clocking several hours into the game, Valorant always feels new and unfamiliar. Killing players feels euphoric, almost like an addiction. All I want to do is play for hours on end.
“After a team wins 13 rounds, the game ends, and that team is victorious.”
Valorant is composed of two teams of 5 players taking turns in both attacking and defending. When you load into a match, you must first choose an agent (or character) who has his/her own unique abilities. The catch is no one can have the same agent on your team. So be quick as it’s first in, best dressed, with each agent boasting different situational abilities to change your overall playstyle.
The match begins with a buy phase where players must use their money to buy guns, shields, and abilities. However, in the first round, you only start with $800, which isn’t enough to buy you any weapon other than a sidearm. During the buy phase, barriers in specific locations block you from pushing further into the map. Therefore, you can walk around willingly and adjust your positioning to suit where you want to attack or defend.
The objective to win a round is simple. The attacking team must plant a bomb and defend it long enough for it to explode. The defending team must protect the bomb sites and defuse the bomb if it has been planted. One team will also win the round if they eliminate all of the players on the enemy team. Each team plays either attacking or defending for 12 rounds before switching. After a team wins 13 rounds, the game ends, and that team is victorious.
“Agents make Valorant stand out in the saturated market of tactical first-person shooters”
Valorant has launched with a second game mode called Spike Rush. Spike Rush is a minimized variation in which there is no buy phase. Players are already given their abilities for their agents, and the guns are pre-selected. This game mode also features power-ups such as hyper-speed, instant ultimate, and many more. This alternative mode is first to 4 rounds and switches sides after 3. So it is an excellent choice if you only have time for a quick game or enjoy a bit more of a casual experience.
If it is your first time jumping into Valorant and don’t feel like you’re ready to take on Spike Rush, The Range is the perfect training for beginners. It offers a wide variety of training for players to practice both planting and defusing the bomb and aim training.
Agents make Valorant stand out in the saturated market of tactical first-person shooters. There are currently ten different agents, each with three different abilities and a charged ultimate ability. My personal favourite is Omen. Omen can create and place a shadow orb that impairs vision in a particular location on the map. He can also throw a blinding ball, which reduces the vision range and deafens the enemy. His third ability allows him to quickly teleport a short distance enabling him to catch people off guard with a quick location switch. Finally, Omen’s ultimate charged power grants him the ability to teleport anywhere on the map.
“Valorant boasts outstanding network servers, and it is clear they strive for competitive gameplay.”
Valorant is continuously updating the game to ensure the balancing of each agent. Agent abilities play a massive part in Valorant. At first glance, agent abilities give the impression that they are overpowered, except there is always an exploit. For Instance, Omen’s ultimate ability of teleportation has a timer delay. Once he teleports to a location, he cannot move for a few seconds showing his position to the enemy. On top of a position reveal, Omen also clouds the enemy minimap letting the enemy know that you have teleported.
Valorant’s cartoonish graphics complement the agents’ abilities. In this saturated market for character design, some of the agents look familiar. Raze’s design seems exceptionally similar to Lifeline from Apex Legends, despite having completely different abilities from its counterpart. The only difference lies in the clothes they wear and a possible haircut. Although some of the character designs are unoriginal, the art design enables the game to run consistently on a higher frame rate.
If you have ever felt like you were behind a wall in Call of Duty and somehow you got shot, only to watch the kill cam back and notice that on the other player’s screen, you weren’t behind the wall? In Valorant, this occurrence is extremely scarce. Valorant boasts outstanding network servers, and it is clear they strive for competitive gameplay. Whether you’re shooting people, using your abilities, or even just moving around the map, Valorant’s fluidity paves the way for first-person shooters. Valorant servers possess a 128-tick rate, which means the server updates itself up to 128 times per second while in a match. Comparing this to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare whose tick rate is only 22, Valorant‘s servers are tremendously larger.
“The audio design even makes agent abilities less prominent and balanced.”
Moving around the map in Valorant, audio design plays a massive role in your decisions. The footsteps in Valorant are immaculate. If another player moves towards me from the other side of a wall, I can work out their exact positioning and know precisely when to be ready to shoot them in the face.
The audio design even makes agent abilities less prominent and balanced. Before an agent uses their ultimate ability, a tagline is voiced over a loudspeaker to let everyone know. The bomb plant sequence is also very loud, letting you know exactly when and where someone is planting. Following a bomb plant, a directional marker isn’t placed on the map for your convenience, but thankfully bomb identification is a swift and seamless task. Stopping for just a few seconds and listening to the bomb ticking away is all it takes to identify exactly where the bomb is planted.
The audio also plays an efficient role in identifying the interactive characteristics in the map designs. Currently, there are four maps, each with varying special features hidden within them. Valorant utilizes ropes, doors, teleporters, and even a map with three bombsites instead of two. This differentiates Valorant from its competition. Not to mention, it makes each map unique and changes the tactics of each game. I can’t count the number of times I have taken a teleporter to get behind the enemy to miss all my shots and die. Nonetheless, no matter how many times I play a match, the distinctive map features never seem to get old.
“Valorant’s store pricing needs a serious price reduction”
Valorant follows the modern freemium model of cosmetic microtransactions. Like many new games, it has a battle pass with gun skins, tags, sprays, and much more. Unfortunately, that’s the only affordable purchase you can make due to the enormous price inflation for the in-game store. The in-game currency is scaled at just over 650 points per A$10. If you consider the cheapest skin is 875 points, you’re almost paying A$13.50 for a single gun skin. Currently, Valorant is offering the ‘Sovereign’ pack, which features some stunning gun skins and animations. The price for the ‘Sovereign’ pack is 7100 points. Which means the pack is over A$100. I’m no stranger to purchasing microtransactions for games, but Valorant’s store pricing needs a severe price reduction for it to be more affordable for the average person.