VALORANT took the gaming world by storm. And that wasn’t totally unexpected. The shooter mixes elements from Riot’s other hit, League of Legends and many other popular titles to provide a very intriguing mix of tactical shooting and hero action.
But its closest brother remains Counter-Strike: Global offensive. This comparison begs the question – can VALORANT stand up to other tactical shooters on the market? The best way to answer that question would be with a side-by-side analysis of both games, their fanbases and the future of both communities. Can VALORANT dethrone CS:GO? Let’s try and see if that’s possible!
Fun and visually impressive abilities
New and fresh
Cartoony art style clashes with the tactical shooter genre
Early in development
|An established, recognizable name|
Realistic art style
Good looking weapon skins
A very large, dedicated user base
|Old and potentially tired for some players|
Intimidating for newcomers
An older community of players
A broad comparison of CS:GO vs VALORANT
It’s undeniable that CS:GO is the grandfather of the modern tactical shooter genre. The first game in the series came out in the year 2000, making CS older than many of its players. While CS:GO has had many valuable additions, the main gameplay loop of buying weapons, scoring headshots, planting the bomb is more or less the same.
Counter-Strike is an undying classic. The rules are simple to understand, but hard to completely master. High-level play can be like looking at chess. It’s genius in its simplicity and elegance. And that could be the problem. Sometimes the fun of a new game is discovering new stuff. VALORANT is also a tactical, team-based shooter game. And yet there are some interesting additions to the mix.
VALORANT takes undeniable inspiration from more recent popular games, like Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege and Fortnite. Agents, as the characters in VALORANT are called, have magical and sci-fi abilities. At the expense of realism, this game achieves a more free-flowing and vertical gameplay than CS:GO.
Agents shoot fireballs, conjure up ice blocks, turn invisible, jump in the air. All that has been reserved for Counter-Strike mods up until now. While that adds gameplay variety, it can also add imbalance and make matches too chaotic. But on the other hand, isn’t that part of the fun of online shooters? It just depends on what the player values more – spectacle and power or precision and simplicity.
Graphics and performance
CS:GO has the sleek, minimalist style we tend to associate with Source engine games. While not winning any beauty contests, the game is very functional even on low-end PCs. While VALORANT isn’t a particularly taxing game in terms of system requirements, especially compared to Call of Duty or Battlefield, it’s still an online shooter. Every frame of performance matters and mathematically, you’ll be able to do better when running CS:GO.
Aesthetics matter. Bright colors, magical abilities and the overall cartooniness of VALORANT are bound to attract younger players. You’ll never be able to mistake a character from VALORANT for one from CS:GO, but you can easily mistake it for a Fortnite or Overwatch hero.
Counter-Strike is still a more realistic and believable shooter. The fact VALORANT caters to a younger audience will also make older players feel annoyed at playing with kids and all the issues children can potentially bring to a game and its voice chat.
The two games are very similar in objectives. The meat-and-potatoes gameplay is making two teams of 5 players face each other. Usually one team attacks, the other one defends, or both teams just try to kill each other. When you die, you die, unless you’re playing a specific VALORANT agent.
VALORANT’s main difference is implementing supernatural abilities. Agents can teleport, see through walls, double-jump, use magical cameras, and even wallhack. That’s not a part of CS:GO’s usual meta of using conventional modern weaponry. It’s a conflict of sci-fi vs realism and that affects gameplay. VALORANT also has a lot less gameplay variety in terms of game modes and maps. It’s a game still in its infancy.
The aforementioned art style changes and trying to appeal to younger players, coupled with the fact VALORANT is simply newer, will inevitably create different communities. It’s easy to focus on the negative parts of any group. But CS:GO community is very big, well-established and sometimes takes the game way too seriously. VALORANT’s appeal to younger viewers is a double-edged sword.
While this will attract youngsters with increasingly more means to spend money and more time to interact with streaming services, it can also push away players that merely want to have a more grown-up type of experience. If you started playing Counter-Strike back when the series was new, you probably have a serious job and maybe even kids of your own. Dealing with more kids in a game can be even more tiresome than listening to a screaming Slav proposing the novel strategy of rushing B.
In the end, can VALORANT destroy CS:GO?
So far, VALORANT has picked up a lot of momentum and popularity, even though it’s still in a very early stage of its shelf life. Riot Games is a studio that knows how to create a successful and addicting online game, even if they lack experience with shooters. However, that’s not always enough to kill a game as big as CS:GO. These two beasts are very similar and it’s possible there’s not enough room for both.
But we live in a world where nothing dies and improvements can be made to anything. As its current stage, VALORANT is a fun, addictive tactical shooter we’d recommend to all fans of the genre. The new additions are enough to differentiate it from CS:GO and create a more fun, fresh experience, especially after years of playing the same game. We’ll have to wait and see how VALORANT develops. We do know for certain that it’s a fun, addictive game that already makes an impact in the online shooter world.