Valorant is a new competitive tactical shooter made by Riot Games made on the Unreal Engine 4, and is taking the shooter esports by storm.
Two months in and it was already having its first tournament, the Ignition Series which held a record on Twitch of views during its beta. In one week of streaming it had 148 millions of views, the previous record was 40 million in one week League of Legends worlds and Dota 2 internationals. Big numbers for a game that hadn’t even been released, so naturally I was excited to try it and see a new spin on the search and destroy game play.
The game starts in the future of our planet and there was one event called first light. The first light spanned the entire globe and led to advances in technologies and even biologic implications. Not much is known about this event as Valorant is an ongoing game and the lore keeps getting updated as time goes on. Just to let you know the lore in this game is fed to the players by episodes, those are divided into three acts and each takes two months just like seasons in other games, so the main story is fed to us every 6 months.
In response to the first light, one shadow organization created the Valorant protocol which pulls agents from all over the world. Thanks to phenomena that altered beings in a biologic way and in a technological way, the agents are divided into two categories: radiant and radiant technology.
The Radiant are people altered in a biological way that give them special abilities like teleport, healing, even fire and air manipulation, and the radiant technology agents use weapons and gadgets used from radiant source for example smoke barrage, bombs, bots, etc.
The main objective is simple, you have two teams one tries to plant the spyke(bomb) another tries to stop them, there can only be one bomb per round. The winning condition is best out of 25 rounds, basic search and destroy mode. The teams are composed of five agents each and you can not have the same agent twice on the same team.
There are more game modes being release like deathmatch, self explanatory and spike rush it’s the bomb game mode on steroids, first team to win 4 rounds wins the match and every one on the bomb side has one spyke plus player with the same gun. There are also ability orbs through the map that give you hp regen, blind opponents or give you a new weapon, there are several types of orbs. There will be more game modes added through time.
Let’s talk about my experience playing it. You might be overwhelmed by the number of possible combinations within a team, and the sheer amount of abilities at any given time. Each agent has four abilities, one passive, one you can buy or restock at the start of a match and one ultimate ability, which can be activated depending on the agent, with at least five kill or five matches passed, this ultimate can be one revive, second live or air strike and much more.
You need to manage your money and abilities that can be critical in some situations, it has a fine balance between good aiming and ability usage. It’s fun and different every time, for now it only has five maps, its biggest downside, and has twelve agents with thirteen on the way in Act III.
It has many improvements compared to the competition for example, you can move and buy during the shopping faze, also players can position themselves prior to the round start at least until certain parts of the map, there is a wall determining where is the furthest on the map you can go prior to the round start, but is big for both teams and they can not see or hear each other during this pre round.
You can also buy weapons directly to your teammates without dropping it on the floor, you can also ask for something with a click of a button on the shopping menu, simple, easy and intuitive system. The agents communicate automatically some of the information but you can also ping mostly everything. Simple improvements that make the game pace faster and easier.
Not everything is rosy in this garden though it still needs improvements, for example the Friends list and group function needs work. It feels slightly rudimentary, the game has some bugs to fix like some weapon swapping that can bug the weapon that you are holding and some bugs can crash your game but most game glitching bugs are normally hot fixed.
The content isn’t much currently in terms of maps and game modes but it will improve over time and as for monetisation oh boy are you in for a treat.
This game is free but that does not mean you can monetize it to one extreme although people are free to pay what they want. Valorant as a live service has a battle pass like many others, pay up around 11/12€ for in game payed currency and you get the battle pass with it.
You still have some in game currency left but not enough to buy something cheeky move riot, it does not end here normally in these type of passes you can earn your in game money back and buy the next one if you’ve completed the pass.
Well with Valorant battle pass system you can’t, even if you’ve complete the pass it does not give you the in game paid currency back, so every 2 months or one act there is a new pass and you need to buy it. This isn’t mandatory of course but during one year of you playing this if you want to get all of the battle pass you’ll need 72$, to be fair you do get a lot of content if you complete it but did I mention How hard it is?
Yea if you’re a busy person don’t even try you’ll need to do every mission daily and weekly but it’s not enough, you’ll need around three hours a day to complete it if you’re lucky. Riot has addressed this issue and said it will make it easier to complete the missions at the time of writing this, but it still might not be enough for some people.
As for cosmetics they are expensive, even the low rarity ones and there is no system where you can get one for free except on the battle pass, no wrong there but a good skin can cost you 20 € some skins have very cool animations, sounds, executes, bullet trace and all that is nice but for example for the famous dragon set skins, they cost around 100€ a big price for a few numbers of skins but as I said before it’s optional and if you like it, can afford it there is no problem plus is not that it hasn’t been done before in other games.
As for the live service, it’s having a steady flow of new content, skins are coming on a regular basis, some cheaper some more complex and expensive. Maps two new ones were released both different with new mechanics included but I hope there were a bit more maps by now. Agents only two new were released both unique and fun to play with, as for balancing the games puts patches regularly to deal with the overall balance with guns and agents. Bugs have been addressed fairly quickly for a new game addressed every weak and game-breaking bugs addressed normally in a few days. Finally, the battle pass it’s been improving this is the third one and each entry has been better than the last in quality, charms and skins have been improved although some are subject to personal preference, and XP earned have been adjusted.
Riot has been doing a good job with the live service provided, League of Legends has been getting a live service for 11 years now, so they have experience with it, prospects of future for this game is looking good but will keep you updated in case something happens.
You’ll be happy to hear your potato gaming PC might handle this game pretty well most likely.
An Intel core 2 duo E8400 and Intel HD 3000 graphics, will get you a 30 fps on low settings. My test setting has a i5 8400 paired with an AMD r9 390 and runs the game max settings 1080p around 200 fps no problem, so it should not be too hard to hit 4K max high fps. All the tests were made using the latest patch 1.10.
As for graphics it’s not the best-looking shooter out there it does not strive to do so, it strives for stability and simplicity with the exception of weapon skins this is still a tactical shooter, its clean and simple that almost any pc can play.
The animations are still a little rough around the edges but it is ever-evolving into a better state, with servers opening up all over the world as for the music and sound it’s pretty good steps, bullets, explosions are clear and good to hear, there is not much of music except the main and the victory alternative.
There is definitely a big fun aspect associated with the game despite being a competitive twitch shooter and the competitive aspect is growing by the minute. Valorant spices up the old formula implementing several different concepts from other games and does a good job of matching them, every game feels different.
It has tons of potential to grow with a financial stable company to back it up (Riot), the monetisation could be a bit less stiff at least on the battle pass and new and exciting things are on the horizon. It is also new user-friendly it’s intuitive and forgives newcomers with tutorials and a match-making system that puts equal levels against you at the start. Now it just needs to clean the toxicity of its community and bring new content to be a big player.