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Valorant Review - An Adrenaline Spike

Think Counter-Strike with hero elements. That's the elevator pitch for Valorant, Riot Games' debut on the competitive first-person shooter scene. I say that not to disparage Valorant, though. In fact, that's what I love most about it, especially since it executes on the formula extremely well. Valorant thrives because of tight, tactical gameplay and a mix of character-based abilities that provide a necessary strategic layer. Although it's a slim package with limited features and barren presentation, Valorant has the potential to be great.

Some neat gun skins to flaunt when you're racking up kills.

The core mode of Valorant revolves around five-on-five matches in a best of 25 rounds with two teams of attackers and defenders of bomb sites, switching sides about halfway through. The stakes are high as everyone gets only one life per round, and the focus on precise gunplay with low time-to-kill leaves little margin for error. Teams must account for buying guns, armor, and ability charges

It'd be tough to break down the abilities of all 11 agents, but their purposes are easy to parse through the four different roles. Each Agent has the capacity to be effective without feeling like a chore to play. Understanding their use cases will put you in a better position to win, even more so when used in conjunction with teammates. For a common example, Sova's motion sensor arrows can easily set up an aggressive push and create an opportunity to get the most out of an offensive Agent's Ultimate. Familiarity with all these mechanics will also inform you on how to react when you see your opponent using similar tactics--it all seems well-balanced at this point.

Valorant's dynamics are enough to sustain it as a competitive shooter worth investing time into because winning itself is an intrinsic reward built on the merits of strong gameplay.

Now, this isn't your typical shooter. Every gun has a specific recoil pattern you'll need to understand before being able to handle them properly. And you'll need to get in the habit of effectively peeking around corners as you move into firefights and holding specific sightlines to anticipate enemy activity. There's a distinct, tempered pace to how it's played, further emphasized by the importance of sound. Footsteps, gunfire, and abilities going off will tip you on enemy positions and strategies. This is all to say that Valorant maintains a certain calculated design that ushers in the fun mental aspect you'd expect from a good tactical shooter.

Planning your moves before the round commences is important for victory.

Valorant's dynamics are enough to sustain it as a competitive shooter worth investing time into because winning itself is an intrinsic reward built on the merits of strong gameplay. The time-tested demolition mode remains an enticing context for thrilling FPS moments because of how much it stresses skill and strategy, just like Counter-Strike or Rainbow Six Siege.

Phoenix is one of the offensive Agents with flashbangs and fire spells.

However, it cuts both ways as the experience can sometimes devolve into frustration. It's not necessarily Valorant's fault; rather, it's inherent to this style of game. Being stuck with a poorly coordinated team will make these long-winded matches feel like a drag. You'll be understandably punished for leaving, and the team will proceed with one less player who won't be backfilled, compounding the disadvantage. It's one area we expect the Valorant experience to improve with ranked matchmaking. Squadding up with friends mitigates the problem, of course, and at least in my experience, random teammates have been willing to work together and coordinate more often than not.

Valorant Review - An Adrenaline Spike Valorant Review - An Adrenaline Spike Reviewed by Master _gist on June 16, 2020 Rating: 5

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