Valorant is many things, but a game drenched in originality it is not. The early conversations around Riot’s shooter almost all revolved around comparisons to other games. Its weapon set is a purposeful reproduction of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s mainstays (its big sniper rifle, the Operator (“Op”), is even a convenient homophone for CS:GO’s AWP). The abilities are less busy and hectic than Overwatch. It exists in a crowded and narrow genre, but more than its peers, Valorant feels like a sum of its competitors.

At first glance, this lack of new ideas appears to extend to Valorant’s characters. A green woman who attacks with poison named Viper did not take sleepless nights to create. Breach and Brimstone look like the same guy. Valorant’s newest agent, Killjoy, reminds you of Rainbow 6’s Korean hacker Dokkaebi, albeit with Valorant’s signature color splash. But where a game like Overwatch overflows with iconic, Pixar-like heroes with intricate backstories, Valorant’s cast feel like empty vessels wrapped around their abilities, personalities scooped out to make room for Shock Bolts. Overwatch, for comparison, has spawned a whole community based around the characters off the battlefield, and currently has close to 4,000 stories on fanfiction.com; Valorant has yet to inspire any. This seems even stranger when you compare it to League of Legends’ sprawling universe, some of which is contained in an official lore page populated by short stories.

Brigitte’s legendary skin in Overwatch. (Image credit: Blizzard)

Valorant’s cast feel like empty vessels wrapped around their abilities.



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