GAMING

Gaming: VALORANT (Closed Beta)

How good is Valorant so far?

For the past week or so, Riot Games had launched their beta of the highly anticipated FPS multiplayer game, Valorant. This was one of the few newest games that Riot had announced last year. How big is this game you ask? This is Riot Game’s newest game since League of Legends. So yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Unfortunately, not everyone could get a chance to play the beta. The way how Riot distributed the beta access was kind of unique. They gave major streamers on Twitch (e.g. Pokimane, Myth, and etc.) and you basically had to watch these certain streamers that had “drops enabled” so you could be one of the lucky watchers to get a key. I believe streamers are still handing out keys, so don’t be sad just yet.

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Riot making a FPS game? That was something that caught my eye because I didn’t see Riot expand out of their LoL franchise. Valorant is something special and different, but it borrows a lot of elements from two games: Counter Strike & Overwatch. Not surprised with Riot borrowing ideas from other games and twisting it around. That’s how we got League of Legends. Also not surprised that Valorant isn’t a Battle Royale game, since many companies are still cashing in on the BR game mode.

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Valorant is a FPS multiplayer game that puts you in a team of 5 players going against 5 other players. Each character has their own abilities and ultimates, which is an aspect Riot borrowed from Overwatch. There is a total of 25 rounds for the match. The first team to get to 13 wins the match. Halfway into the match, you will switch sides.  The main goal of the game is simple. If you’re on the attacking side, your goal is to plant the spike (aka bomb) and hope the enemy team doesn’t defuse it. If you’re on the defending side, your goal is to defuse that spike. That is the main game mode for Valorant. Alternatively, first team to lose all of their players loses the match as well. This game mode is heavily borrowed from Counter Strike. Counter-terrorist vs Terrorists.

I feel like Valorant is 60% Counter Strike, 35% Overwatch, and 5% it’s brand new ideas. I genuinely think that if there was no inclusion of the “heroes” and “abilities” part of the game, I’d think this game was just a cheap clone of Counter Strike. First, not only is the main game mode of Valorant arming/disarming the bomb, Valorant also has a purchasing menu to purchase your guns and armor. Yep, just like Counter Strike.

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But I actually like this purchase HUD. It’s very clean and easy to navigate around. You can see how much money each team member have. Also, let’s say you don’t have enough money for an item that you want, you can simply right click the mouse button and your teammates will get notified that you want this item. Bottom of the menu, you can actually use your money to switch different abilities throughout the game. I thought that was a neat feature to be added in.

Of course, is it really a Riot game without the inclusion of microtransactions? Like Counter Strike, you have the ability to spend real money to purchase cosmetics for your guns. For the couple of skins showcased so far in Valorant, they don’t look special at all. At the end of day, it’s purely cosmetics.

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With the option to purchase cosmetics for you guns, in the collections tab, you’ll be able to see every gun, knife, and spray cosmetics in this tab here. For a beta, it looks fairly simple and dull but I hope they make it look more interesting by the time Valorant launches.

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GAMEPLAY

So far I’ve invested roughly around 20 hours or so into Valorant. Rona season gave me so much free time, so I was able to play Valorant for a decent amount of time. So far, I actually like this game. Even though this game is basically the baby of Counter Strike and Overwatch, Riot always have a talent on copying certain game mechanics and features, and being able to turn that around and make it fun. I actually enjoyed my time playing Valorant. I could definitely see this as the next biggest E-Sports title, and possibly one of the most streamed games on Twitch after its initial release.

13 rounds might sound a bit long and tedious, but it honestly only takes roughly around 30-40 minutes for a match. Communication is key for this game. You’ll need to be able to communicate properly with your team in order to win. I haven’t had any toxic teammates during this beta yet, but that’s bound to change once this game launches. Valorant isn’t your normal FPS game. You can’t expect to run into enemies and shoot them for a quick kill. This isn’t Call of Duty. You only die fast if you get headshotted. If you’ve played Counter Strike, then you’ll know that moving your character and trying to shoot at the same time will yield negative results. AKA death. Your best bet is to learn how to stand still or crouch and shoot your enemies.

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Almost every gun in this game besides pistols and shotguns have the option to aim down. Personally, I’d still much prefer hip-firing enemies since I’m already used to that. The guns in this game are mediocre at most. It’s not bad but not good at the same time, there could be some reworking done here. I really only use two guns in Valorant: the Guardian and the Operator. The Guardian is a semi-automatic rifle that does a decent amount of damage both far range (when aimed down) and close range. The Operator is basically the AWP from Counter Strike. The resemblance is striking.

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Let’s talk about Valorant’s pool of heroes. Listen, if you’re making a game that’s heavily based on your “heroes”, then at least make the damn selection screen more appealing. Right now, it just looks bland. You’ll see your character animations and on the right, you’ll be able to read a small description of each of your character’s abilities. That’s pretty much it. Really nothing more to it. Also, most of these heroes are not memorable. I’ve played each hero so far and I don’t really seem to figure out who I quite like yet. You get a total of different characters to play from, yet none of them really struck out to me.

OVERALL: 8/10

Despite Valorant’s menu layout, I enjoyed this game overall. It’s a fun shooter that I think many people will enjoy once this game officially launches. It’s fairly simple and easy to get into, and almost quite addicting. Matches might take long, but if you’re having fun with Valorant, then it is worth every minute. Valorant has time to improve before its release date. I would like to see their UI (specifically for the hero selection) to get updated/tweaked around.

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