Valorant‘s full launch brought a new game mode to the rotation, the fast paced Spike Rush that should have been the answer to a lot of players’ primary issue with Riot‘s new title. You see, in normal Valorant matches, players are expected to be engaged for up to forty minutes, something that isn’t always possible for adults who might have to look after their kids, for instance. This new mode lasts from eight to twelve minutes, but from my time with it, that’s where the good news end.
The main mode in Valorant is very similar to Counter-Strike, and involves two teams fighting either to bomb a place, or to prevent the other team from doing so. There is one “spike” for the attacking team (which acts as the bomb in CS), two or three spike plant sites, and both teams have to manage their economy, as they get money from kills/successful plants/defuses/winning/losing the round. That money will be spent in guns, armor or abilities, so teams will be carefully balancing their purchases so they can always stay competitive compared to the opposition. In my opinion, this aspect of the game is very important, and it’s one of the things that sets CS/Valorant apart from titles like Overwatch or Team Fortress 2. So, what about Spike Rush?
Well, Spike Rush throws the economy overboard, and gives every attacking side player a spike… Yeah, you read that right. There’s no need to save weapons, or to think about maybe not wearing armor for this round so you can get a better rifle the next one, because everyone has the same weapon (and weapons will change randomly from round to round as well). All the basic abilities are also free, and you get double the ultimate points for kills/deaths. If all of that wasn’t enough, there’s also a bunch of randomly selected power-up orbs that can be captured and might give you a full ultimate charge, extra damage, etc. The all-spikes attacking team also ruins part of the fun and tension of being the last remaining player in a team and having to either pick up the spike and rush the other plant site, or having to think of the best possible way to cover a dropped spike in order to prevent the attacking team from planting it and winning.
Why do I dislike this? The truth is that, as an older gamer, I was hoping for a shorter game mode (or even more than one, like CS: GO has a few different game modes that you can play at any given time). Spike Rush isn’t that mode, at least for me, as the changes turn Valorant into a completely different experience. I understand that balancing the economic aspect of the game for a mode with less rounds must be pretty hard, but removing it entirely is a way worse choice, at least from my point of view. The all-spikes attacking team change is even weirder, as I can’t really see any need for it. Overall, this is far from what I wanted to see, and it once again forces me to queue up for forty minutes long matches that require far more time and attention than I’ll have once the lock-downs are over. Hopefully Riot will have a new mode queued up for launch then, though I have to say that I wouldn’t bet on it, based on what I’ve seen so far.