Valorant at the time of this writing is the toast of the gaming community as it has surged into Twitch popularity with over 1.7 million pairs of eyeballs watching others play the beta. One could say that the reason for all this attention is because of the prospect of getting invited to the beta via Twitch drop. On the other hand, Valorant has been continuously compared to the ever-popular hero shooter, Overwatch. Many have actually jumped back onto the Overwatch bandwagon as a means to prepare for Valorant.
Valorant vs. Overwatch
Though not entirely adept, these comparisons aren’t unfounded. For starters, Valorant is a team shooter with characters - called Agents - that have their own individual abilities, making each of them operate vastly different from the rest of the cast. This means that team composition will play a crucial role in winning, which is exactly the case with Overwatch.
But that’s where the similarities end. Riot Games, for one, has been avoiding making these comparisons and it all starts with how their devs describe Valorant. They call it a team tactical shooter as the team working on Valorant during interviews has been citing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as the main source of inspiration. This essentially means there’s a strong emphasis on guns rather than abilities in Valorant. No crutches here. Agent abilities are important but also not as frequently used as in Overwatch and Paladins. Ultimates can take a long time to charge up depending on how well you’re performing. Buyable abilities, on the other hand, are limited to 1-2 stocks and that is if you can afford to buy both each round. That leaves your Agent’s Signature ability as being the only one with a relatively short cooldown and even that isn’t typically any sort of “I win” button. On the contrary, Signature abilities in Valorant are mostly for utility with key strategic applications.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Overwatch and Valorant are two entirely different beasts.
Gunplay is the Order of the Day
If you’ve been unlucky, despite your best efforts, with getting into the beta but you’re still itching to prepare for Valorant, then CS:GO should be your first port of call. for one, It’s a safe bet that Rainbow Six Siege will be a solid game for exercising core skills needed in Valorant. Both games place a lot of emphasis on gunplay by emulating recoil and kickback that is closer to real-life guns. Your ability to control your weapon firing is key in being a strong competitor in Valorant.
Other skills like line-of-sight, corner checking, and shoulderpeaking are also going to determine your ability to stay alive and suss out enemies. Valorant places a big emphasis on map knowledge and control in similar ways to CS:GO and R6. Training to build these skills will, therefore, be also vital to prepare for Valorant and give you a leg-up over others who’ve foolishly jumped back into Overwatch
The biggest reason, however, to work your skills through CS:GO and R6 are the objectives themselves. Valorant matches play exactly like Counter-Strike’s signature bomb-defusing maps. The only difference is in the vernacular, as Riot’s take on the genre calls the objective a Spike. There are lore reasons for the naming that we’re not quite clear on yet. Other than being named after something Chun Li would decorate her bracelets with, it works pretty much like a bomb in CS:GO and R6. One team has to plant the Spike while the other team has to defuse it or prevent it from being planted. There are two possible areas on the map to place the Spike with each area having a designated planting zone.
Train to Gain
As a final suggestion - one that will help you train your aim in a variety of scenarios - is to pick up another Steam game called Aim Hero. This $5 game is essentially a tactical FPS training ground, littered with game modes that simulate common situations encountered in games like Valorant. By playing this game regularly for under an hour a day, you’ll be able to train your aim so that it’s solid by the time Valorant is officially out in the wild. See it as if you’re going to the gym: put in the time to train to get those gains.
The main takeaway here is that comparing Valorant to Overwatch is ultimately counterintuitive as both games have a lot of significant core differences. In Overwatch, you can lean onto your hero’s abilities and weapons don’t require high levels of aim to achieve victory (save for a few exceptions, like Widowmaker). To prepare for Valorant you must pick a game that requires you to have solid aim and good map awareness skills in order to be successful.