Written by Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)
Valorant is a free-to-play tactical first person shooter game. It sits somewhere between Overwatch and CS:GO, so on paper, it was perfect for the Casual Heroes, who have always aspired to be good at CS:GO but love the artwork, abilities and feel of Overwatch.
Despite the intro Valorant is it’s own game and Riot Games have done a great job in releasing a solid free-to-play game that feels like it could have a lot of life to it.
Although the game had a closed beta in April 2020, it released to the public at the beginning of June and after putting of installing it for no good reason, a few of us finally got round to installing the game and giving it a go. Now, if I’m being honest, I was a little worried about how it would run – although I have a solid gaming rig, it’s 5 years old now and within the same weekend of downloading Valorant, I also did some much needed upgrades to the cooling on the PC (more on that later).
I had no reason to be worried – as detailed in the specs on the Valorant website, at the lower end it could practically run on a sack of potatoes (well, maybe not), or at least a low-end PC. Even at the higher spec recommendations we’re not talking about mega machines, but a decent mid-spec rig will easily handle Valorant with high frame rates and resolutions.
Getting into the game itself is very easy as well – you start with a brief tutorial of how the mechanics work and what the main objective of the game is – this part feels very Overwatch-esque, as does the character selection and art style, but honestly, it’s one of the things I really like about it – it somehow makes the game feel a lot more accessible than CS:GO does – less intimidating maybe?
Once you’ve been through the training and actually gear up for a game, you can select from a couple of main game modes: Unrated and Spike Rush .
Unrated is just an unranked version of the main game – essentially, an objective based game type in which one team has to plant the ‘spike’ and the other needs to try and defuse it. Each map has different spike sites, A, B and sometimes C depending on the map. Either team can also win on defeating all enemies providing the spike hasn’t been planted.
For the objective of the game – think CS:GO. The game can last a while (up to 40ish minutes) and the team that successfully wins 13 rounds is the winner (that could mean 25 rounds in total!). Both teams get a chance to plant and defuse, although, I have to say that one element of the game type that I think could be improved is how often the sides switch.
Currently, the attacking/planting team have 12 rounds planting and often, the planting side seems to prevail. While it can be pretty even, we did have a game where the starting attacking team won all 12 of their planting rounds, meaning we had 1 chance to plant and try and bring it back after it switched – we actually won that round and a couple more, but still, we lost 13-3 and it felt a bit unfair that we got such a small chance to try planting ourselves – maybe switch every 6 rounds?
Still, it’s a fun game type that brings in a nice twist to the usual plant/defuse tactical game-mode with different character abilities – from teleportation to resurrection to a bow and arrow that allows you to see where enemy players are. These character abilities bring about the Overwatch style feeling that you don’t have to be the best FPS player to have a great game and support the team!
The other game mode, Spike Rush is a much quicker game type, consisting of less rounds and equips every player on the attacking team with a spike and an aim to plant. It plays more like a team deathmatch with an additional element of objective added in.
Other things you need to know about the game:
- It uses a CS:GO like system for equipping weapons and shields – essentially, weapons cost money and you make money in the round by playing well. Don’t play well and you might be running pistols for most of the game…
- Teamwork helps a lot – too many times have I played Unrated and the whole team just runs off in different directions playing for their own K/D, rather than assisting the spike character and playing the objective! Help your team, you’ll get more out of the game and winning feels good!
- Use the chat function for callouts and encouragement – if you know where an enemy is or where the spike has been planted, tell your team, it helps everyone! And try not to be toxic, there’s no point!
So, first impressions – it’s a decent game. It plays nicely, it looks lovely in terms of maps – bright and fresh, it’s fun to play a CS:GO style objective but with Overwatch style abilities and artwork.
Try it, it’s free!