There are video games in which you approach a sealed box, full of curiosity and discharges of expectations, willing to discover the tricks designed by the authors to capture the audience into a new universe multiplayer.
Then there is Valorant, the latest effort by Riot Games, a shooter competitive in the months before launch, had climbed the rankings of Twitch, chaining millions of fans in front of the screen and then catapultarli in a beta version which smelled of official release.
Valorant, please forgive the pun, has already proven its value. This is the largest input so disruptive in the undergrowth of the shooter from the time of Playerunknown”s Battlegrounds and the omnipresent Fortnite. With 3 million players logged on a daily basis, 1.7 million viewers a contemporary and 470 million hours of transmission, it is evident that we are in the presence of the bests next titan of digital entertainment, a project created with one purpose and one only: to monopolize the market of shooters on the PC.
If realizzassimo a checklist of the qualities that are hidden behind the biggest hits of the decade, we would realize that Valorant has all the cards in rule to gather the crown and sceptre with a certain nonchalance. It is a free of charge, or better, a free-to-play, it relies on the models of the Pass Battle, and in-app purchases; adopts a style that is young and bubbly, made of vibrant colors and the characters shades of cyberpunk; a nod to the esports, finding its foundations in the gunplay and precise in the work of the team.
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If we add to the recipe the ability to turn fluidly on virtually any PC, a learning curve for everyone, and a marketing campaign that is memorable, capable of bringing individual Agents, even long playlists of Spotify, it is clear that the result will be a commercial success announced, a shooter (competitive able to be talked about for years and years. But if to evaluate the quality of a title is enough to refer only to targets of numbers, well, ours would be a world rather boring.
- Developer: Riot Games
- Publisher: Riot Games
- Availability: PC Free-to-Play
- Version tested: PC
And it is for this reason that we want to start right from the arrows that the gigantic Valorant has not been incoccato in his bow, about all the absence of a metaverse narrative. The mosaic made by Riot Games is a collection of engaging characters, breathtaking landscapes and artwork are nothing short of beautiful. But in spite of the first kinematics, can still not count on that fascinating thread that, for example, has pushed Overwatch to dominate the rankings of the genre in the course of the last five years.
In Valorant you feel the lack of a plot is horizontal: it is as if each game was an episode of CSI, in a world that is now disputed between experiences that are more similar to Lost, able to lead users to speculate about the origins of the protagonists and the identity of the future members of the roster.
Certainly, it is true that in a shooter it is a secondary characteristic, but there is a reason why Epic Games has managed to gather millions of people in front of a black hole, as there is a reason why the hero-based Blizzard will result soon in a serial on Disney+.
On the other hand Valorant plays the rest of his or her duty to perfection. Dozens of competitive players have left the stage of reference to explore the higher end servers of the moment, while millions of users were waiting patiently for the invitation to the closed beta the most desired in the year 2020. But if in the last two months you have lived on another planet, it’s possible you’re still wondering: “what is it, in the end, this Valorant?”.
Valorant is a shooter, competitive, hard and pure, the last heir of the philosophy of shooting generated by the Half-Life of Valve, and then poured out in the incredible success of Counter-Strike. The main task of the player is one and one only: to put the enemy in the center of the screen and then impose their superiority by pressing the trigger with coldness and precision. It is a return to the roots of online gaming, a world where anyone can wield a mouse and keyboard to compete with millions of opponents together with four other players.
It is an experience designed to fill the stages of the export, leaving the audience with bated breath in front of to the actions of the most “clutch”, capturing in its network organisations and the professionals, the most experienced. It is a canvas on which the programmers at Riot have designed with great care, tracing the brushstrokes of cooperation but reserving the right space to the individual skill, playing with the balance and base notes of color on a consolidated style.
Valorant it is not, however, a work entirely original. The mechanics of shooting, the design of the maps, the economy of the weapons to be purchased, and the presence of a “Spike” from plant to win the round, follow a lot, maybe too close to the structure of the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. In the same way, the impact of the roster of the eleven Agents, each equipped with special skills, is certainly not a new transcendental for a video game of the eighth generation, indeed.
The main advantage of Valorant is the ability to fool the opponent by exploiting the skill, rather than relying solely on a precision from the surgeon.
But this should not necessarily be understood as an evil: the presence of the towers, the minions and the jungle has absolutely prevented the League of Legends stand out as a the MOBA most played and followed on the planet, and that the company’s motto was “Riot does it better”. Also in this case, in fact, artists and programmers have left an imprint heavy, smoothing out the old mechanical and innestandone new, cleaning up the gameplay, and strongly focusing on the aesthetics.
Move along the corridors retrofuturistici maps Valorant returns a feeling modern, as if the philosophy of the great shooter of the past had been suddenly thrust into the present. The classic arenas tactics give way to the teleporters, Bind, the vertical position of the Split, at a whole series of “hazards” environmental change profoundly the approach to a fire fight, sometimes making it too difficult rotations in the midst of the dozens of corners.
The slight detachment from tradition is marked by the entry into the scene of the Agents, the eleven playable characters with abilities that can distort the outcome of the shootings. Between combo, capable of guaranteeing the domain on the opponents and solos are essential in order to achieve victory, Riot has drawn from the experience gained with the titles character-based, looking at the history of League of Legends, and adding just a pinch of originality to increase the depth of the games.
Just a single arrow of the Russian Sova thrown through a wall and decimate the enemy team, as well as a resurrection of the Sage may restore the parity of numbers. It is true, the similarities with well-known faces of the kind you are sometimes excessive, such as those between the Omen and the famous Reaper, not to mention those at the limit of the comical between Reyna and Sombra, but overall it’s mechanical well-aimed, so much for renewing the puzzle of the tactical shooter to the teams as to generate a cascade of highlights.
Reyna, character added with the official release, as purple as Sombra, he has purple hair like Sombra is mexican as Sombra, it becomes invisible as Sombra… maybe it’s a bit too much.
The nature from the game team in a competitive environment, on the other hand, raises the curtain on the difficult issue of toxicity in the online environment. Riot Games is aware of this and is well aware of the star along a path uphill in an attempt to limit anti-social behaviour. But in spite of the commitment and because of the necessity of voice chat, the enjoyment of the experience still remains closely connected to the attitude of the other members of the team.
Each match is a coin-flip that could leave a fantastic experience to be a nightmare, considering that each game takes about half an hour, there is a real risk of living a nightmare worthy of Bloodborne.
Leaving aside the uncertainty of the human component, Valorant is simple and pure correctness of execution, a project that has collected years of success then limarne edges, fine arts service to restore the aesthetics and clean the technical sector, especially on the server side, ensuring anyone experience smooth, deep and able to answer all the modern requirements of the market.
But precisely for this reason looks like a game in the style of Filippo Inzaghi, in a shot from a predator capable of win the Champions League, although very far from the charm of a spoon to the ball. The universe of Valorant has yet to find a true lifeblood inside his world too empty to be anonymous, among a large number of weapons are effective but certainly not memorable, in the middle of its agents, “the young and the figs”, but without a burning soul and distinctive.
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From the technical point of view and the gameplay, the offering is flawless. Maybe should be revised with the amount of corridors and corners that undermine the speed of the spins.
Despite the obvious similarities with numerous titles in the past, despite the invasiveness of the anti-cheat Vanguard, and despite the claims of those who seek something more on the background of a “simple” shooter, technically flawless, it is beyond doubt that we are in the presence of an imminent global success.
Valorant has arrived to stay and its impact will leave a crater deep in the video game market in the world of esports and in the successful history of Riot Games.