Video Game Review: Valorant


Alice Chen, Editor-in-Chief


Riot Games has never been a company that disappoints its player-base. From gameplay to design, Riot projects are ambitious and popular all over the world. 

So when Riot announced its first project in the first-person-shooter (FPS) genre, Valorant, I like many others was itching to try it. Since the game’s closed beta stage started on April 7, more than one million people have been playing. 

Unsurprisingly, Valorant seems to be a unique mix of elements from older FPS classics like Counter-Strike and newer, less traditional FPS games like Overwatch. Its 5v5 format follows shooter-game basics, in that players must hit their targets to win, but its characters are also equipped with abilities unrelated to shooting. 

To me, this is good; a common complaint of classic FPS games is that heavy reliance on aim makes it difficult to enjoy the game without having incredible hand-eye coordination. On the flip side, FPS games with character abilities often allow for too many ways to win without skill. Valorant has done the logical thing here by combining the two styles for a more accommodating game that still requires mechanical skill but leaves room for creative strategy.

The Valorant developer team has nailed the fundamentals of first-person movement and gunplay. What disappoints me, however, is that despite their ability to program distinct weapons and characters, those weapons and characters lack identity. 

While other FPS games like Counter-Strike base their guns on real-world weaponry, Valorant does not, and as such, players must spend an unreasonably long time learning the seemingly-random details. And Valorant’s cast of characters may have cool abilities and appearances, but there is no personality or backstory to make them particularly likeable. It’s my hope that before Valorant is officially released this summer, Riot will put some more thought into two of the most important aspects of the game. 

Nonetheless, it’s clear that Riot spared no expense putting together a skilled developer team for their first FPS. A good foundation has been set with its closed beta, and Valorant looks to be primed for success.