COUNTER-SPIKE
PC Gamer US Edition|September 2020
COUNTER-SPIKE
Fresh ideas and playful abilities prove that VALORANT is way more than a copycat.
Morgan Park

It’s wild how quickly Valorant has captured the collective consciousness of FPS fans. Riot’s competitive shooter is just barely out of beta, yet it already stands toe-to-toe with the biggest games in its genre. It helps that Valorant comes from a gigantic studio and that its deviously smart partnership with Twitch streamers to selectively hand out beta access gave it a running start. But that enormous marketing push wouldn’t mean much if Valorant weren’t also very good.

It’s true that Valorant is Riot’s best crack at Counter-Strike, but the ways it remixes Valve’s blueprint are what make it excellent. Anonymous gangs of counter-terrorists are replaced by a cast of vibrant agents with talents that match their personalities. It has the same upbeat vibe of Overwatch that helps every loss feel a little more friendly.

Valorant manages to reproduce Counter- Strike’s greatest qualities while tossing magical ice walls and drones into the mix. The deliberate detachment from reality allows traditional support tools like smoke, flash, and fire grenades to become playful abilities with varied uses. It’s been especially cool to see Sova’s tricky recon arrow that players can bank off walls become its own art form.

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September 2020