Valorant’s similarity in gameplay to CS:GO, and the unprecedented levels of success and popularity it garnered in the beta release alone, made a lot of players define the game as a ‘CS:GO killer.”
But that’s really not the case now, is it? Valorant might be an incredibly popular game at the moment, but we feel that it has a separate target audience from that of CS:GO.
So both the games are here to stay, and Valorant will be able to create a niche of its own when the eSports season finally takes off. It will be able to coexist with the other popular FPS titles out there and create a completely different fan base.
Both CS:GO and Valorant might seem very similar on paper, but in practice, they have a lot of crucial differences which help them to appeal to different sets of gamers. Both the games require a separate playstyle, and, if you’re wondering, which of these two to go for and stick to, then we have a guide to help you out.
CS: GO vs Valorant: Similarities
Let us first go over the similarities between the two games.
1. Gameplay revolves around planting and exploding a site
Both Valorant and CS:GO are team-based games where the goal of the attacking team (which is the terrorists in CS:GO) is to take the Spike (or the Bomb in CS:GO) to a designated site and plant it.
Eliminating the defending team before the round ends, or before planting the bomb, will end in the attackers winning. Making the Spike/ Bomb go off post plant will also result in the attackers winning.
On the other hand, the job of the defending team (or Counter-Terrorists) is to defend the plant site, and not let the other team plant or kill them before the round ends.
2. Information gathering is the key to winning
In Valorant, much like CS:GO, a team gets the upper hand by having knowledge of the enemy position.
In the case of the attackers, the team will need to be wary of where the defenders are placed inside the bomb site, and try to aggressively push into the site and secure it. Knowing exactly where the defenders are located and staying camped are keys as it makes pushing a whole lot easier for the attacking team.
For the defenders, it’s crucial to identify which plant site is going to be pushed aggressively and relay it to the rest of the team so that they can rotate around the map faster.
3. Accuracy is movement sensitive
Most would argue that perhaps one of the biggest similarities that Valorant has with CS:GO is the fact that gunplay in both the games is movement sensitive. So when shooting while moving, or jumping, the bullets are going to go all over the place.
Unlike in games like Call of Duty and Overwatch, where you can literally run and shoot, in Valorant and CS:GO you will have to stop walking, then aim and take your shots.
Hitboxes are a thing as well, and different areas in the body take different damage numbers from bullets, the head being the most vulnerable spot.
Valorant has a buy phase as well at the beginning of each round, and players can opt to either buy guns, save, or go for an econ. round, depending on how much credits they have. Like CS:GO, money management is integral in Valorant, and always getting into each round with zero credits, and then losing the round, will just hurt you in the long run.
CS:GO vs Valorant: Differences
Here are the factors that set the two games apart:
1. Different Spray patterns and alternate fire
Though both the games are quite similar when it comes to shooting while moving and constantly firing, the spray patterns that the guns in the two games provide is very different.
Initially, it may look like a very common spray pattern, but the one in Valorant deviates after the sixth or seventh shot. It becomes much more random, making a continuous spray much harder to control than that in CS:GO.
Gun reset time is a bit higher as well than it is in CS:GO, so you can't just instantly start firing after taking your finger off the left mouse click.
Moreover, Valorant has another thing which CS:GO doesn’t and that is an alternate fire option. The snipers are the only weapons in CS:GO which have a ‘right-click’ function. In Valorant, almost every gun comes with a right-click feature, which sometimes impacts the rate of fire for particular guns, and even makes some turn semi-automatic from its usual automatic state.
2. Each map has special features
Each Valorant map has something special on it. Though in essence, they might structurally look very similar to CS:GO maps, the special features add another unique gameplay element to the rounds.
For example, the map Bind in Valorant has something called unidirectional teleporters, which help both teams rotate around the map faster. The Map Ascent, on the other hand. has collapsible doors, which a player can activate and thus block off an extra point of entry for teams who’re trying to push into a site.
So based on how these special map elements work, teams will have to devise strategies around it and not play the usual game of ‘Search and Destroy.’
When guns are drawn, the movement in Valorant is exactly like that of CS:GO. However, if knives are drawn, then the character models in Valorant seem to glide across the map.
Moving with the knife out in Valorant is much faster than moving with a knife in CS:GO. This will allow players to rotate faster and cover plant sites in just seconds.
However, that being said, to compensate for the faster knife movement, bunny hopping in Valorant is not at all an effective strategy. In CS:GO, pulling off a successful bunny hop would provide the character model with a lot of momentum to cover a large part of the map in a just few seconds.
In Valorant though, the momentum is not as great, and failing which will slow the model down, even more than usual, making the player waste precious time when rotating.
4. Can see opponent credits during the buy phase
As we have mentioned, the buy phase in both CS:GO and Valorant are very identical; however, there are two key differences between the two.
One being; you don’t only buy guns in Valorant, you buy Agent abilities as well. The second being; you will be able to see how much credits that your opponent has at the top of each round. This makes it a whole lot easier for either team to determine which weapons the opponent will be going for.
By just pressing the ‘Tab’ button, you get a full view of your opponent’s financial situation.
In CS:GO, however, strategizing against an opponent’s weapon purchase is a lot harder. You will have to try and accurately predict the weapons that you will face each round, so it’s very important to pay attention to the enemy’s kill score and round streaks than it is in Valorant.
5. Agents instead of Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists
The biggest element in Valorant which sets it apart from CS:GO, is the presence of playable agents. This is the Overwatch-like element in the game.
Valorant comes with 11 playable agents at the moment, and each of them boasts a very unique personality and set of abilities, which influence the game in very different ways.
Hence, even if you have been a CS:GO veteran in the past, learning the spray pattern and the map layout will not be enough to help you win games. You will need to learn the abilities of the Agents as well, along with their cooldowns and how each of them affect gameplay.
What are utilities like flash and smoke in CS:GO, are abilities in Valorant as well. However, you can do much more with these abilities, than you were able to with the base smoke and frag grenades in Counter-Strike.
Shroud too weighs in on the debate
The CS:GO vs Valorant debate is a very heated one, and professional players have been a part of that argument as well. But out of all the pros, Shroud was one of the very few who was yet to voice an opinion, until recently, when he uploaded a YouTube video to share some of his thoughts on the matter.
According to him, Valorant is a much easier game as it has a much lower skill ceiling. He says that ‘this game, the skill ceiling, and the potential is much lower than a game like Counter-Strike.’
He believes, ‘This game is trying to reach to people that don’t play FPS.’ So according to him, Valorant shouldn’t exactly be looked at as a ‘CS:GO killer’, which was what the player base took it to be initially.
The player base the Valorant targets aren’t necessarily CS:GO veterans, but those players who are yet to play any FPS games and are looking for an IP which is much more accessible because getting good at CS:GO requires hours of grinding and constant practice. Shroud believes that Valorant ‘is not as punishing’, and players can have a rather fun time picking up the game.
So who should play Valorant?
Players who are new to FPS, or are not looking for something which they need to grind for days to get good at, should go for Valorant. The game is not as punishing, and as it’s a team game revolving around Agent abilities; players with a 5-man squad will have a great time.
So who should play CS:GO?
FPS veterans who are willing to tough it out match after match is the best candidate for trying their hands out in CS:GO. The game has an incredibly high skill ceiling and can provide you with some incredibly satisfying gameplay experience every time you get a difficult frag.