We could try Valorant, the competitive FPS of Riot Games, for a long time
It’s probably the last thing we thought of writing one day, but it’s true: Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, is about to release new games. Not only have they revealed on their tenth anniversary several projects in the boxes (including the card game Legends of Runeterra), but the most surprising is that one of them intends to invite himself into the field of competitive FPS. Project A, since that’s what it called itself, had been sporadically revealed for several months and looked – from a distance – like a class shooter like there are many. However, this is not really the case. Now that the game is officially called Valorant and that we no longer risk seeing an army of lawyers land on the premises, we can give you a first point, after having tried the game for two days at the premises of Riot. And there are, things to say.
First of all, let’s make a short list of Riot Games intentions with this FPS, just to see if these seem familiar. Valorizing is therefore:
- 5v5 matches in around 30 innings
- An attacking team which must drop a bomb on one of the two sites A and B, a defending team which must defuse it
- In the middle of the game, we reverse the camps
- You manage your economy and buy your equipment at the start of each round
- You have to wait for the start of the next round to reappear
- Different heroes with abilities to use during matches
If all that tells you something, it’s normal. With the exception of the last line, this is the principle of Counter-Strike, released in 1999. As often, Riot relies on a successful recipe (MOBA, card games and now competitive FPS) for adapt it to its sauce in a more or less altered version. Where one could imagine an Overwatch hero shooter, the American studio seems however to have made the decision to put the capacities aside in favor of a more classic model which looks very, very much like Valve’s FPS. Much more than the title of Blizzard in truth, since its skeleton is that of a competitive shooter that focuses on the aim, individual talent, tactics and wishes to offer a large margin of progress. The powers of the characters are moreover secondary. Riot hopes to seduce competitive enthusiasts by releasing a dry, precise and demanding shooting game, which is part of this fringe of shooters likely to occupy someone for thousands of hours, even if it means leaving more casual players at the door.
To say that Valorant looks like CS is very little. For someone who, like me, has spent a good part of his life on the second, the similarities are striking from the first moment. We move the mouse, we feel a little ZQSD and we realize that it reacts exactly the same way. It feels like home and frankly, it’s even quite disturbing. The weapons perfectly imitate their cousins, have more or less the same characteristics, the same animations and similar models, and revolve around the same archetypes as Counter-Strike: a quick detour to the purchase menu at the start handle allows you to see shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles (one of which still looks a lot like the AK-47 from CS), handguns, sniper rifles and even Kevlar helmet to avoid a headshot. No grenades and equipment however, we will come back to this a little further down. For the rest, we are therefore on familiar ground. Most assault rifles will kill in one shot to the head, all projectiles meet the rules of hitscan (no ballistics, it directly affects) and as long as we have already spent a little time on CS, we understand the importance of gunplay and the place it occupies in Valorant’s philosophy.
For a regular Counter-Strike player like me, Valorant is far from being a bad guy. We even had a good time overall, but it’s hard not to feel guilty about appreciating a title that works above all because it imitates almost all of the things that Counter-Strike already does very well. The main asset of Valorant, likely to attract the players of CS, will have to reside in the balance of the capacities of the heroes and the design of its cards, thought to upset our habits. We also hope to see Riot ensure proper follow-up of the game in the long term, where Valve limits his to the bare minimum. Case to follow, as they say, but Valorant tickled me, and that’s the least we can say.