Is Valorant just a free imitation of Overwatch?Promotions
Usually, when a game so unique comes out, most game designers want to stay away. They can see the artistry at work and tend to keep their distance. Examples of this are Journey, and Uncharted. Two games so unique there have been little to no copies of it since, likely because companies are afraid of seeming inferior by comparison. So, when Overwatch arrived and slaughtered its’ companion in the genre, Battleborn(which actually released before it), unceremoniously, you’d think everyone would get the hint and bow to the king of the castle. You would think plenty of similar games might come along, but none would be an exact copy of Overwatch…right? Riot Games seems to have decided
Because of this. the hot new game in town is Riot Games’ Valorant, a small scale multiplayer shooter that features various powers much like Overwatch, while also having realistic weaponry like Counter Strike. These are the best of both worlds, right? Well, not all is well here. This isn’t being called just another shooter by a lot of people. It’s being called the next Overwatch. This game is being championed as the next torch holder in the multiplayer gaming community. That’s a hell of a torch to carry But Is there enough here? No, I don’t believe there is.
The graphics style very much recalls Overwatch as well as Apex Legends in its’ approach and in my case, it immediately had me raising an eyebrow. To me, this was initially saying “Look! We’re just like that other game you loved? And that other one too!” So that rubbed me the wrong way a bit. But once you get started? There is a quality power-infused, squad-based shooter here. The gunplay is a decent enough and the player base is pretty great considering the game is just starting out. It’s a quality shooter for sure with room to become great.
There’s enough to like in Valorant. Pretty graphics, decently sized arsenal and some cool items to interact with give you a great variety in gameplay. The characters and their abilities are also fun play to play with, with several interesting ideas at work with the different abilities available. But….something is missing.
For starters, the first map I was thrust into when I played felt like a roughly made mod for a map in Counter Strike: Go. There is a feeling of I’ve been here before and I’ve done this before that is extremely pervasive in my time with Valorant. I kept waiting and searching for that “Aha!” moment that hits you when you’re playing a game for the first time and something happens that just triggers your love for the game. Bloodborne had the transformable weapon moment, Call of Duty: Warzone had the Gulag moment, Fortnite had the building moment. Therein lies the problem for Valorant right now. There is no “Aha!” moment. Nothing that it presents to you feels new or unique, because it has built the game on the backs of Overwatch, which is already an incredibly unique game. So, while the fireballs and wall piercing arrows are cool, they feel like something Overwatch might add in a DLC rather than something brand new and original.
But that’s okay, right? Imitation is great if you do your own thing or bring your own vibe to it. Just look at Nioh or The Surge 2, both big-time imitations of Dark Souls that succeeded because they brought the vie and the style that made their games feel unique. They have style and sound design that’s unique and their own and gameplay features that ADD to the established successful formula. Surely, Valorant has something similar right? Well, no, it really doesn’t. It takes the established formula that Overwatch and Counter Strike: GO have created and they just copied it. It’s just a multiplayer shooter with powers. They could’ve created this game in a unique style of their own, but Riot Games didn’t. It’s the same style you’ve seen from Overwatch and Fortnite regurgitated yet again. This approach doesn’t just lack creativity, it shames it. It shows that you just need to re-draw someones’ amazing painting and it’ll be loved just the same. There’s no charm. There’s no personality. It doesn’t break the mold at all. There is a very real template for something great here because it’s clear a lot of work went into this game being made, but several things are holding it back. The characters are bland, the level design is lacking creativity, the weapons are nothing we haven’t seen before and a lot of the gameplay feels like it is a decade behind modern games. It is free, which is an enormous thing Valorant has going for it. Because of this, it’s likely to be in heavy rotation in the E-Sports world and maybe that’s the main goal for the developers. Maybe every game isn’t meant to be the next big thing. Some games can simply just have a solid following without taking over the world. Valorant isn’t a bad game, it’s a very solid one that just fails to stand out in an expressive way as of now. Updates are coming for sure and the experience will likely become much smoother and hopefully have more features and modes going forward. Valorant is currently lacking the weaponry to compete in a war with the big boys. It’s the new thing, sure, but it does nothing that the old guard didn’t do better. If Valorant suddenly changes course and gives that “Aha!” moment I was talking about, this game could live up to its’ boatload of potential, but for now, it’s not doing anything you haven’t seen before.
What do you think of Valorant? Is it the multiplayer shooter you’ve been waiting for? Are you jaded by the lack of identity like I am? How can the game improve to become this superpower that it seems destined to be? Let’s talk about it below.