Valorant’s Aesthetics Are Surprisingly Dated; There Is A Good Reason For That

Valorant’s Aesthetics Are Surprisingly Dated; There Is A Good Reason For That
Credit: Gigz via YouTube

If this is your first dance with a title that is looking to be the next hyper-competitive first-person team-based shooter, then something has probably popped into your mind the first time that you saw Riot’s Valorant likely has something to do with the graphic fidelity. Frankly put, Valorant isn’t exactly turning heads with how pretty it’s rendered. There are no volumetric lighting and god rays that dazzle and sparkle every time you are heading back into B bomb site for a futile retake on a tilted eco, dust particles aren’t procedurally generated with every step a hero takes, and whatever other modern graphical enhancements that companies are taking in the modern era simply aren’t there.

In fact, Valorant arguably already looks dated while it’s in closed beta. This is all entirely intentional, and that facet is likely to befuddle some that are entering into the world of competitive shooters for the first time.

This makes sense, honestly; PC gamers are used to loading up a game for the first time, and immediately diving into the video settings to see just how far they can push their rig in whatever modern title. From parallax to surface scattering, it’s also common to drop heaps of mods into titles to bring just a bit more realism and immersion into the newest titles. That’s exactly what you don’t want in a competitive shooter.

There are very few things that actually matter when discussing the graphical fidelity of competitive first-person shooters, and subsurface diffusion isn’t one of them.

What you do need is to be able to discern precisely what enemies are standing where on a map in your field of view; their abilities being used and equipped weaponry are a very close second and third. When you begin to add loads of graphical effects and mechanics to the game, those three can become obfuscated, resulting in an uneven playing field where games can be determined by settings instead of skill.

This explains the reasoning behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive professionals typically playing far lower than a standard 2K resolution at 1920 x 1080, instead opting for a worse visual so that they can more readily pick out enemies in any given scene. It also explains the tremendous backlash directed towards Valve when they added various Operator skins to Counter-Strike that allows users to turn the gameplay into a bizarrely lethal hide-and-seek.

Add onto all of this that Riot is attempting to ensure that literally everyone can play Valorant on any given PC device, ranging from a proverbial toaster with a monitor to a massive gaming rig, and the answer becomes relatively clear. Even if the textures arguably aren’t.