Expect it to be huge. Valorant, tactical, skill and weapon based shooter of Riot Games, is finally in the wild, and it has arrived from & # 39; e back of an upright massive "closed" beta. Some of those numbers, such as the scandalous viewing times and at the same time viewers on Twitch, have been artificially inflated – namely by Riot & # 39; s "drops" system to distribute beta tests to random viewers of streams – but the player numbers are that not. There is good reason for that.

For starters, I'm not sure I've played a game that feels as ground-optimized for its own purpose as Valorant. This is a game that makes its case through competence. It has the best servers (are we named "128-tick" yet?), The most optimal art style, an aggressive, proprietary anti-cheat system and a team that feels obsessed behind that frank with the proof of his pedigree. It's a statement, Riot Games don't stand up and say "this is what we can do".

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The good news for us, for the most part, is that Valorant is an exceptionally well-made game. It's gunplay may not be directly the Counter Strike presidency, but it perfectly matches it, and while it may not call Call of Duty or Halo the pure satisfaction of shooting a weapon, in this case that's kind of next to it point. There are settings for reticle sizes, shapes and colors. There are exact damage statistics displayed on the weapon choice screen that have detail damage to the head, body and limbs – including at different ranges – and bullet-shaped accurate fire percentages for each shooting mode that does not have a gun. . Much like Counter Strike – and Valorant is actually very close to Counter Strike – accuracy rules above all else.

That emphasis goes on just about every aspect of the game. The use of sound is excellent, and mastery that becomes an essential part of every game of successful players. I found weapons a bit loud in beta, but otherwise it's perfectly reversed. You have to run and run at just the right moments, which often leads to brilliant tooth-clenching moments when you come to a door or corner, and act silently to visually stare. At higher levels, you may be using the sound of your own bait footsteps. Capability is what sets it apart, but most capacities are "support" one way or another: they are about vision, terrain, zoning, initiation and control, as opposed to raw damage.

There are 4 cards at launch. They are beautifully designed in terms of flow and competition, but lack a bit of life.

There is some room for improvement with them. While many abilities can be used creatively – Sage can create a solid, temporary wall, but also stand on top as she creates it, raising her and everyone else in the area to gain a unique line of sight – it feels like there is an honest repetition. There are one or two too-large, block-colored orbs of smoke, and walls of damage to deal with fire as poison, given such a small roster of agents. I would like to see Riot get a little more creative with these as new agents are released – sound and movement speed feel like they can for example with some attention to abilities. That said, they still complement the gunplay brilliantly, and I've already seen the added bit of cross-character teamwork at my low level of play. At a competitive level, there is huge potential.

The biggest obstacle to Valorant, however, is one that we talked about earlier. It should be much, much better at managing the behavior of your own players. Toxicity has not reached the heights of League of Legends, I would say, but it is significantly worse than competitors like Apex Legends or Rainbow Six Siege, and that is only heightened by the emphasis on voice chat, something that inherently determines parts of & # 39; community, and often exposes them to immediate abuse if they decide to pipe. It is also emphasized by the game's own tension. As exciting as a clutch win can be, losing a single round can be bad if you are on the receiving end of some gallows. For a studio that has such a long history of fighting the war on abuse in gaming, I found the lack of robust, proactive measures in the & # 39; e preview, the beta, and now the early days of the entire game are extremely disappointing, and honestly naive.

New players now receive these messages at startup, including prompts to set up voice chat so you don't want to. It's a good first step, but the game could do with a root as threats of & # 39; stick.

There are other things to look forward to, the coming weeks and months after launch. Valorant lost character. The world – the air, the surroundings, the general feeling of place – feels too quiet and empty, just as you walk around a city to & # 39; everyone after the erosion has left. Characters themselves are a little too characterful – the quips of London Phoenix were the only memorable to me, of & # 39; ten in the game, and at no point does the game come close to Overwatch's sentiment. The "Vanguard" anti-cheat system calls out some fire because of just how aggressive it is: it's a separate program on your PC, and if it doesn't run when the game starts, you will be asked to restart your home computer to restart to try. Monetization, I am sure, will also evolve over time. At the time of writing, there are no looters, for those who are concerned about the ghost of modern gaming, but despite some reports of promises not to contain them, then 39; t we were talking lead producer, Anna Donlon told me "not now" – although claiming that everything that affects gameplay would always remain sacrosanct.

However, none of those concerns will be enough to really diminish Valorant. This is a game with everything going in the same direction, to a rather remarkable degree, and with the creator of the biggest game in the world behind it. It's a hugely satisfying game to make yourself feel better and win. In most areas, right up to the breadth of in-game training options such as depth of menu settings, it is enormously aware of what the player wants. It's also, more importantly, just very fun – it just has to remind some players.


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