My initial reaction to the early Valorant gameplay video was that it was a lot like Overwatch, a role-based, hyper FPS game. This is because in the footage, a player was able to create walls, revive teammates, create smokescreens, and throw shurikens. Based on this, I initially thought that the teams will consist of tank-dps-support characters with each character having a fixed kit.
However, once I actually played Valorant, my predictions were completely off. The game had more of a Counter-Strike feel to it than Overwatch. Although the characters (agents) had unique abilities and roles, they only served to assist in skirmishes. The game was much closer to your classic FPS games, where reaction speed, sound play, and precise aim were the core aspects of the game.
▲ Although many skills were first showcased, fundamental FPS skills were far more important.
Valorant is set on a near-future Earth, and is based on a group of people that received special abilities due to a supernatural phenomenon. The main director of Valorant, Joe Ziegler, states that just like the word in the title, ‘Valor’ suggests, they tried to highlight the stylishness, challenge, and competition, and it seemed that the character design, illustration, and the background all naturally represented them.
The first thing the player will be able to find are the unique agents in this game. With each agent coming from different backgrounds, they each have 3 skills and an ultimate skill. With a quick playthrough in the practice mode, a player will easily be able to figure out the specialities of each agent.
For example, one agent can safely scout the terrain with arrows and drones, and another is equipped with melee range smokescreens and is able to revive teammates with the ultimate, and is good for low range skirmishes and breaking into enemy lines. Another agent utilizes poison to take over the map, and is able to set up traps to catch enemies off guard. Eight agents were available for play in the demo version, and 12 agents will be available in the official release.
Just like Counter-Strike and Rainbow Six Siege, Valorant’s fundamental characteristics are closer to that of the classic FPS games. Your agent becomes much slower when shot, and headshot damage is amplified, so precise aim is very important. The weapons are able to shoot through walls, so the so-called ‘Wallhacking’ is a gimmick that’s available. This game is a 5 vs 5 game, and the objective of this game is either to kill every single enemy, or to set up the bomb (Spike) at a certain point, and depending on whether a player is on the attacking or the defending team, they must hold out until it explodes, or must disarm the spike.
At the start of each game, each agent is equipped with a knife and your pistol. In order to use other weapons, a player must purchase it or pick one up from a dead agent. From pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, assault rifles, sniper rifles, various heavy weaponry and more, there are 20 weapons available in total. Apart from the agent’s signature skill and ultimate, a player must also buy the other two skills each game, but since it’s very low in cost, a player can purchase and use all the skills in almost all rounds.
The size of the map is bigger than the standard FPS maps. However, when the attacking and the defending team is on standby, the area that they can move around is quite large. There were many instances where players faced their enemies right from the get-go, so the game tempo felt quite fast. Furthermore, due to the different skill sets that each agent has, the balance between the attacking and the defending team felt quite good. Many abilities will start flying around right from the start of each round, so whoever can read the enemy strategy faster will vastly increase the chances of victory.
The UI in the main screen consists of 7 different tabs, including Home, Play, and Collection. One notable function in the main screen is the Career section. You’re able to find match histories and achievements in this tab, and when you hit the details tab, your grade, progress for each round, and the kill-death info on each enemy can be found as well.
The level of completion on Valorant seemed very high. With a great tutorial and practice mode, a player can figure out the flow of the game quite easily. Not only was there clean graphics on the in-game agent models, their personalities also matched their various skills quite well. Alongside the very detailed maps, all these factors brought incredible gaming experience. The extremely short TTK brought repeated cycles of tension and satisfaction, and when you coordinate strategies with your teammates to win, a great deal of pleasure from victory will follow.
However, the first thing I thought after playing the demo was, ‘Will this game become popular in Korea?’. In Korea, FPS games that shy away from the classic FPS games, such as PUBG and Overwatch, are highly popular as to your classic FPS games. Although the classic FPS fans and the fact that this is a new title from Riot Games will play a big part in capturing many gamers’ hearts, one can ponder whether or not Valorant will be able to secure a firm player base and continuously perform well.
With all FPS games, hacks can also prove to be a point of crisis for Valorant as well. Although the developers stated that they’ve done everything they can to prevent hacks and unfair gameplay right from the early stages of development, no game is safe in the ever-growing world of hacks. It’s impossible to prevent all hacks, so it’ll be critical that Riot Games effectively and rationally deal with hacks. They’ll need to show their firm efforts and resolution in how quickly they deal with these programs, and heavily punish the players that used them.
Valorant is an ambitious upcoming title by Riot Games, which was developed based on the knowledge and operations know-how from their years of success in League of Legends. With the mindset of creating games solely for the players, will they be able to succeed in a new genre of FPS? With closed beta coming in the upcoming months, gamers around the world will soon be able to experience the world of Valorant very soon.
Striving for perfection to achieve excellence in esports