Valorant So Far: Gameplay Highs and Lows

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Valorant So Far: Gameplay Highs and Lows

Gain some insight into Riot Games' shooter, Valorant.


Valorant is a hard game, and not just because of its insanely accurate aiming system. With about two weeks to mess around in the closed beta so far, it’s proved more than a little frustrating.

A Learning Experience

Valorant's abilities don't make the game any easier — in fact, they’re additional mechanics to manage in-game. In CS: GO, there’s no worry about taking damage and being stunned through a solid wall. Each agent in Valorant has their own set of skills and utility that they provide to their team. Some agents are meant for holding the front line like Breach, whereas others like Sage hold the defensive position and support the team.

Learning each agent and how to utilize them to their maximum potential is a key to succeeding in Valorant. Not just for the fact that you could catch a Raze rocket to the face, but agents like Cypher and Sova can have their tools destroyed. And apart from the abilities that each agent has, each gun behaves in its own manner. So, be prepared to spend quite a few hours in the shooting range. Guns are a matter of personal preference, but the Sheriff is a good way to claim a few easy kills early on.

https://twitter.com/VALORANTComm/status/1250451902699122690

A World of Its Own

The map design of Valorant is genius — improving on CS: GO's two bombsite format. First on the map list is Haven. Haven adds an additional bombsite opening-up opportunity for split engagements, large rotations, and numerous playstyles adaptations. Bind sticks to the tried and true format of two bomb sites but offers its own unique twist. This map has two one-way teleporters on each side of the map, making transitions and flanks significantly easier. These teleporters make a distinct sound that can be heard a decent distance away from them, often signaling your intentions to the enemy team. The closed beta has seen some aggressive tactics using teleporters to fake one bombsite only to bumrush the next through a teleporter. The final map, Split, is a multi-level map that features a base level of play, an elevated level for tactical positioning, and an underground tunnel that runs beneath the map.

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Everyone has their own feelings about each map. Someone who plays a lot of Sage and Breach, will find a favorite map in Bind.  It lets you force the enemy team where you want them to go. Be warned, Split is a playground for Raze to chuck grenades into tight hallways and barbecue your team. Valorant has an issue with rotating their map pools. You can often get stuck playing the same map for an hour straight. Sure, you could play Mirage on CS for hours, but something about getting stuck rotating Haven's three objectives over and over again is not a fun time. Amidst all this frustration though, you can learn a lot from replaying maps as nearly every team approaches their attack and defense differently.

The Good

Valorant is proving to be a heavyweight contender on Twitch and amongst the gaming community. Already Riot has made sweeping changes to keep the community healthy and has promised to allow competitions to find their beginning amongst third-party organizers. The punishing matches of Valorant where you can't seem to catch a break open into learning experiences. The complicated features of Valorant combined with the tight gunplay force you to adapt more than in CS: GO.

The Bad

Twitch has become a battleground for Valorant closed beta keys — not only increasing excitement but inflating viewership numbers. A few have complained about the somewhat intrusive anti-cheat, but a simple solution is to not play the game. Raze needs her toolkit nerfed slightly, but is a great starting agent to claim easy frags. On the flipside, Jett feels almost useless with her flashy toolkit. She is perfect for the Fortnite Youtubers looking to build a highlight reel of dagger kills.

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The Ugly

Mind-blowing wall bangs, TF2 rocket jumps, and shotgun-wielding Cypher cameras are a few of the “features” of Valorant that will make you call it a night. As stated previously, the harsh learning moments of Valorant make it rewarding, but the cheesy random deaths make the game infuriating. Valorant is still in closed beta, but there are issues with the game that need to be addressed immediately.

Still, Valorant is an absurd amount of fun. And it’s responsible for wrecking this reporter's sleep schedule on multiple occasions. The best moments in Valorant come from teaming up with random strangers from previous matches and absolutely dominating. Hopes are high for this title, but some underlying issues will need to be solved for it to truly thrive. Riot has a clear vision with what they want Valorant to be while giving the community a chance to sculpt competitions.

Malik Shelp
Malik specializes in esports photography, videography, video editing, and graphic design. He has also written Overwatch and Dota articles for over 2 years for DBLTAP and other esports outlets. You can learn more about Malik on our About page.