After over a decade of focusing on its baby, League of Legends, Riot Games is finally ready to try out something new. Valorant Beta - previously known as Project A - is by all accounts a big risk the MOBA behemoth is taking. The FPS genre is full to the brim with titles, big and small, as well as some dominant immovable giants. Instead of attempting to disrespect the competition, though, Valorant gameplay aims to take the best bits of each of them to create a new tactically focused shooter.
It’s clear at this point that Riot’s main source of inspiration for Valorant has been Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, particularly its bomb planting/defusing maps. Instead of a bomb, however, Valorant calls it a Spike. Each round, one team’s objective is to plant the Spike while the other’s is to defuse it. Just like in CS: GO, successful detonation or defusal achieves victory. The other option is to eliminate the entire team. Also, like in CS: GO, teams in Valorant consist of five members.
Another similarity between Valorant’s gameplay and CS: GO’s is the emphasis on skillful gunplay and usage of control abilities. While Counter-Strike had grenades, flashbangs, and smokes, Valorant enables players to slow down, blind, and create obstacles via character abilities. Using both weapons and these skills will be key to achieving victory. Survival in CS: GO, as well as Valorant, is dependant on players’ map awareness and ability to peak through small cracks and behind cover.
One big point about Valorant’s gameplay is that the game is designed to be played quickly. Even though a team needs to win a whopping 13 rounds in order to take a match, individual rounds end quite quickly. Even playing the full 25 rounds per match will last a mere 60 minutes roughly. This is a big departure from CS: GO where slower methodical approaches and long-lasting quiet moments are the norm. That isn’t to say that Valorant isn’t methodical. On the contrary, clever use of abilities and good team communication are going to be what separates the strong from the weak.
While abilities are a big part of Valorant gameplay, and another key departure from CS: GO, they aren’t what ultimately decide victory. They act as strong tactical options that must be used with care and thoughtfulness as the strongest ones, namely Signatures and Ultimates, won’t be useable frequently.
All in all, Valorant is definitely looking like an incredibly fun and exhilarating game. The emphasis on gunplay and aim is a breath of fresh air in a time where most shooters are focusing on plays with big abilities.