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Valorant console is a technical treat that’s blown this PC player away

The Valorant PS5 and Xbox port is a brilliant exercise in technical problem solving, and Riot could very well have found the winning formula for its hit FPS.

Valorant PS5 Xbox impressions: Harbor next to a scoped in sniper taking aim at Raze

When I first heard Riot Games had a Valorant PS5 and Xbox version in the works I treated it with the same sort of feigned interest a parent might have when their child asks to play Mary Had a Little Lamb after their first violin lesson. Why would I want to wince through the equivalent of little Timmy’s recital when I’ve got the London Symphony Orchestra ready to go on my PC? Well, as it turns out, Valorant Xbox and PS5 plays remarkably well – so well that I can now imagine John Riot sitting smugly during the school talent show as their prodigal tactical FPS flaunts its stuff.

For the uninitiated, Valorant is a 5v5 team-based FPS game that requires tactical nouse and precision aim. You’re split into two creatively named teams, Attackers and Defenders, before being sent off to either plant a bomb (Spike) at one of the sites available on each of the Valorant maps, or prevent said Spike from going down and detonating. A creative mashup that draws from shooters like Counter-Strike 2 and Overwatch 2, Valorant boasts a diverse roster of Agents that each brings strategic gameplay elements thanks to their unique abilities.

Okay, with that brief explainer out of the way, let’s discuss why I have had to apply a generous layer of clown makeup before sitting down to type this think piece up. Simply put, the Valorant Xbox and PS5 port is technically brilliant. Between the responsiveness of its console-exclusive ‘Focus Mode’ and one of my favorite versions of aim assist in a long time, Riot has clearly put the work into ensuring the multiplayer game feels as incredible as it looks on the big screen.

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When it comes to making micro-adjustments, the unruliness of thumbsticks will never match the precision of a mouse and keyboard – the onslaught of Ximmers out there is a testament to this. Of course, this can be offset by some rather aggressive aim assist, but then Valorant just becomes another Call of Duty MW3 or Apex Legends. Valorant’s skill expression is so much more closely tied to crosshair placement than more traditional run-‘n’-gun arcade-style shooters, so that’s off the table.

Instead, Riot’s done something very clever by introducing Focus Mode – a second sensitivity layer that can be accessed with the tap of the left trigger. While in Focus Mode, your sens drops dramatically, meaning you can go for that gnarly swing as standard, before quickly tapping into Focus Mode to make sure you’re on target. Inspired.

Surprisingly, though, I didn’t find myself using Focus Mode all that often in-game – it was usually only when holding specific angles or taking longer-range gunfights that I felt the need to home in. There are a few factors I can think of as to why this was the case:

  • PC hip-fire habits and muscle memory
  • Pre-existing game knowledge when it comes to crosshair placement
  • Valorant’s aim assist does just enough to let me micro-adjust without Focus Mode

The surface-level reason why I didn’t find myself reaching for my left trigger often is simply because I’m still not used to the feature. I have many hours in Valorant on PC, so it doesn’t feel as natural to me… yet.

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Diving down the rabbit hole there’s also the fact that I have a pretty solid grasp of where an Agent’s head is going to be when I peak, which means I don’t need to adjust my crosshair as much as someone who is still learning the ropes. Pro(?) tip for beginners: if you’re ever unsure where someone’s head height is in Valorant, just look at the terrain. Riot’s design language for the game ensures there are plenty of markers baked into each map that will help you orient yourself – be they wall markings, crates, etc.

Finally, and this segues nicely into the second really intelligent bit of design work Riot’s implemented, is how Valorant console’s aim assist works. Rather than snapping your best Valorant crosshair to your target’s head for you, aim assist decelerates your sens as you meet their character model. If your crosshair is already at head height, you can take advantage of this to micro-adjust without Focus Mode. However, if you’re zooming in on the grippers like a Tarantino movie then you are, without a doubt, going to die.

By offering just enough juice to players without completely deciding the outcome of a gunfight, Valorant’s aim assist not only ensures proper skill expression can take place, but also doesn’t feel so alien to me as a PC player that it throws off my game.

Indeed, Riot’s ingenious design choices and (mostly) bug-free beta have made Valorant console a dream to play – something I never thought I’d hear myself say. It may have taken a few years to get it out of the door, but the extra care taken has certainly paid off. Though the console version’s full release date hasn’t been set in stone yet, I have a sneaking suspicion it’ll quickly join the ranks of the best PS5 games and best Xbox games out there when it lands.