Riot Games’ upcoming competitive FPS Valorant is receiving so much attention lately. With the closed beta coming soon, many are trying to get their hands on beta keys by watching Twitch streams. Many have christened Valorant the new CSGO, a “CSGO killer,” or a blend between Counter-Strike and Overwatch. But how similar are the babies of Riot Games and Valve?
128-tick servers, low requirements, and anti-cheat
Riot Games has promised players that Valorant will be easily playable for most players around the world. With very low PC requirements, the game will be playable for almost everyone with 30+ frames per second. Naturally, most PC gamers are not satisfied with 30 FPS, and so even 60+ FPS is achievable for most according to Riot’s recommendations. Much like CSGO, the system requirements are a low barrier to playing the game. However, there is a striking difference for players playing on 30 versus 60 versus 144 Hz monitors, giving an advantage to players that have equipment of higher grade.
On top of that, Valorant will run on 128-tick servers, something that Valve failed to provide for their CSGO fans, which will provide the smoothest possible experience for a competitive shooter.
Valorant is additionally promising a fantastic anti-cheat system, though its effectiveness remains to be seen. Valve’s anti-cheat system in CSGO still struggles to swiftly deal with cheaters.
There are indeed striking similarities in gameplay between Counter-Strike and Valorant.
Valorant matches are played out in a 5v5 format with attackers having to plant the bomb (called spike) on one of the three sites on the map or eliminate the defenders. There is a buy phase for each side to purchase abilities and guns for the upcoming round. Saves are something that will probably be popular in Valorant, as they are in CSGO.
The shooting mechanic is identical to that of CSGO. Each gun has a spray pattern that can be mastered with enough practice. A player’s accuracy decreases when firing while moving, forcing players to peek, stop, and then fire their shot to be fully accurate. Additionally, players run faster with their knife out or guns of lower weight. Player movement is quite slow, making the gameplay rather slow-paced and more tactical.
All in all, the gameplay of Valorant and CSGO is very similar. CSGO veterans may even have an advantage in getting into Riot Games’ new FPS.
Abilities and characters
Valorant sports an array of different characters that are chosen before a match. These characters have their own set of abilities complemented by an ultimate ability that needs to be charged over time. They are analogous with utilities in Counter-Strike. Some of them act as flashbangs, smoke grenades, and Molotovs, while others don’t have anything to do with CS. Casting poison clouds, healing, and teleporting are some of such abilities.
While that sounds like a major difference between the two titles, most of these powers are used like utility, rather than overpowered abilities. Some ultimate abilities may be used to turn the tide of battle, but they are not present every round due to their needing to be charged. Nevertheless, characters and abilities in Valorant are an aspect that differs considerably from CSGO.
Guns and shields
Weaponry available for purchase in Valorant bares a close resemblance to weapons found in Valve’s shooter. There are six different categories of weapons: sidearm, SMGs, rifles, shotguns, snipers, and heavy. When looking at the weapons in the sidearm category, for instance, the “Frenzy” is nearly identical to the CZ-75, while the “Sheriff” is a one-shot-headshot Desert Eagle in Counter-Strike. The “Operator” sniper seems to be a younger brother of the AWP.
While similar, the choice of guns is much smaller than in CSGO. Then again, most of the weapons in CS are not used at all on the competitive scene due to a barely changing meta of certain guns. It will be interesting to see if there will be a clear-cut gun meta in Valorant.
Shields act as CS‘s Kevlar. As it is in Valve’s FPS title, Riot decided to implement a system of having two types of shields named “light” and “heavy,” similar to a bare Kevlar or Kevlar+helmet offering extra protection. While not entirely identical, it is still similar.
The two games are indeed very similar overall. The movement and shooting mechanics, how the matches are played out, and a need to pay attention to team economy are things that bring the two titles together. On the flip side, characters and some abilities in Valorant resemble Overwatch rather than CSGO and are definitely the biggest differences between the two future rivals. Nevertheless, people that consider Valorant to be a modern Counter-Strike are not wrong at all. I would go as far as to say that Valorant is a younger, edgier brother of CSGO. The question stands: Can Valorant “kill” CSGO? Or will the two titles coexist in the world of competitive esports?
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