Get your pitchforks at the ready, we’re comparing first-person shooters.
Two of the biggest FPS titles in the Esports world, Valve’s Counter-Strike and Riot’s Valorant series both boast impressive skill ceilings, stacked competitive scenes and fiercely devout fanbases.
It’s the duty of every gamer to hark on why their chosen titles are superior to all others in the market, but the debate around the FPS world has felt especially fierce. With both Valorant and Counter-Strike looking to go big in 2023, it can be hard knowing which title rules the roost, and which one is worth playing this year.
Fret not though! Fortunately, at Gamelevate we are totally unbiased and come equipped with expert-level insights for you to get the complete overview of the Counter-Strike 2 vs Valorant debate!
How They Play
In terms of their mechanics, Counter-Strike has always felt like the grittiest FPS in the industry. The game your cool older brother would pick up and be really good at.
The emphasis on tactics and communication makes it a punishing experience at times, but that only serves to make the series’ impressive learning curve all the more satisfying.
Juxtaposed to that, Valorant has always had this vibe of never really taking itself too seriously. Typical features such as crosshair placement undoubtedly come into play as they do in Counter-Strike, however, there’s a much firmer emphasis on utility usage and the unique abilities possessed by the 21 different ‘agents’ available to play as.
Valorant’s agents can be split into four different groups: Duelists, Initiators, Controllers, and Sentinels, all of which require solid knowledge to master. On the flip side, Counter-Strike has never had a class system.
One thing that does unite the two games however is the wide assortment of weaponry to choose between, with all of them having different benefits, ways of optimally using and costs with the in-game economy systems.
And whilst there are some striking gameplay fundamentals, the basic premise of two teams of five players going at it on a Bomb Defusal set-up means fans of either franchise can jump into a game on the other and have a reasonable idea of what’s going on.
History And Reputation
Valorant first hit shelves back in 2020 and was lauded as the ‘CS:GO killer’. A number of high-profile professional players and influencers jumped ship from Valve to Valorant, and it looked like Riot were in pole position to capitalise on the under-served North American CS:GO scene. Safe to say that hasn’t quite happened, but the game still boasts a hefty 1.5M active players per month at the time of writing.
We have to go all the way back to 1999 for Counter-Strike’s roots. Beginning as a fan-made modification for Valve’s Half-Life, it proved so popular the company secured the rights and began cranking out its very own FPS series.
CS:GO was released in August 2012 as the fourth major entry in the series, and really began to experience a little-known thing we like to call ‘success’ in December 2018 when it was moved to a free-to-play model.
Despite practically finding itself in the gaming world’s equivalent of retirement age, CS:GO smashed its active player count record as recently as February 2023. There’s really no contest when it comes to reputation here.
The Razer DeathAdder V3 Pro was refined by pros and was built using cutting-edge upgrades to break the boundaries of competitive gaming.
So, Counter-Strike vs Valorant, which is better?
Well, whilst there are some fundamental differences that separate the pair, it’s always worth remembering there are more things that make the pair similar than different.
Valorant definitely wins the battle when it comes to the looks department; not only are games in the server more visually striking, but Riot has done a stellar job in flooding the marketplace with cosmetic skins and designs that are honestly beautiful.
It might have been this emphasis on the visuals that has prompted Valve to roll out Counter-Strike 2 as fast as they have.
Looks aside, there’s something about the fast-paced execution style of Counter-Strike that has enduring popularity you can’t look beyond. The strategy and teamwork involved with the game give it, in this article’s humble opinion, a high skill ceiling and a more rewarding experience when you’re playing well.
Ultimately though, it’s always better to have more options in a market than not enough. The success of Valorant has helped keep Valve on their toes in keeping the Counter-Strike series polished and maintained. The competitive map pool has been rotated more, and the release of CS2 looks to be addressing some of the biggest holes the series has wrestled with in recent times.
Let us know whether you play Valorant or Counter-Strike and, more importantly, what you make of the alternatives!