Hero powers are all the rage these days. It isn’t simple gunplay versus gunplay in competitive shooters anymore. What once were hacks are now tactical abilities: see your opponents through walls, make yourself invulnerable for a time, or revive your teammates to keep the fight going.
In the titanic battle of VALORANT vs. Overwatch, is there a clear victor? Is VALORANT worth it? Is Overwatch any fun? Let’s dig in after the break.
Hero Powers – VALORANT vs. Overwatch
VALORANT and Overwatch have drastically different beliefs on how hero powers should impact and drive gameplay. While we’d love to debate VALORANT vs. Overwatch characters, we’re more here for the experience.
Both games maintain the steady flow of “play, counter-play” that’s core to competitive games. They each approach the space from different genres, bringing a bundle of assumptions and tropes along for the ride that define their respective metagames.
Hero Powers in VALORANT
In VALORANT, hero powers are generally restrained variations on the core theme. At its roots, VALORANT models itself more after Counter-Strike and the competitive shooter space. Skill still largely defines the outcome of skirmishes and gunfights. But utility-like grenades in more grounded games are replaced by hero powers here.
Flashbangs become charges fired through walls or orbs of darkness that blind all in their path. Some abilities that might seem game-breaking on paper become interesting complications; it’s harder to gain an advantage with wall-hacks or their ilk when such mechanics are built right into the game. Heroes even have powerful ultimate abilities that charge over time and can be unleashed for maximum impact.
But at the end of the day, skill still carries the game in VALORANT. The hero powers don’t so much define the gameplay as they define the strategies available to players during rounds.
Hero Powers in Overwatch
On the other side of the coin is Overwatch. Cut from the same cloth as Blizzard’s monumental World of Warcraft, Overwatch is a role-based game first and a shooter second. The heroes are even organized during selection into familiar MMO archetypes like DPS, Tank, and Healer.
Some heroes lack firearms altogether, instead bringing melee weapons into the ring with the occasional ranged ability to supplement their toolkit. For the gun-toting heroes, the abilities look similar to VALORANT, with some able to see through walls, teleport, or revive their teammates. And while certain heroes emphasize the skill-based gunslinging gameplay, as a whole the hero powers carry the show here.
The hero you pick in Overwatch shackles you with certain expectations and a clear role to play on your team. It’s not as restrictive as it sounds — having a clear role means you can focus on your specific place in the proceedings as opposed to changing things up on the fly.
When it comes to Overwatch vs. VALORANT and hero powers, the games couldn’t be more distinct. But are they similarly different in other aspects of gameplay? Is VALORANT like Overwatch, or is it vice versa? Let’s get into it more.
Core Gameplay — VALORANT vs. Overwatch
The core gameplay across these games shares the same clear division as hero powers. There are significant differences in weapon usage, movement, and team composition as well, all of which add up to two distinct experiences.
VALORANT vs. Overwatch — Weapon Usage
Weapons in VALORANT include spray patterns that can be memorized and worked against in order to keep bullets on target. And in the midst of a skirmish, making the decision to spray or tap your weapon can mean the difference between life and death. It could almost be considered a minigame of sorts that’s been a shooter staple since the early days. In the right hands, any weapon in VALORANT can stack up kills and make or break rounds. So is VALORANT better than Overwatch?
The guns in Overwatch feel more at home in an MMO than an FPS. Only a few heroes have the classic shooter hitscan weapon, offering immediate feedback once fired. Some have guns that fire projectiles which could take seconds to reach the target. And some weapons are meant to heal instead of destroy, or will buff your friends and debuff your enemies. As we discussed, hero choice is far more impactful in Overwatch vs. VALORANT.
So what about movement?
VALORANT vs. Overwatch – Movement
We’ve avoided digging into this comparison before now, but when discussing movement, it’s hard to avoid. VALORANT was directly derived from and inspired by the Counter-Strike series of games — namely Counter-Strike 1.6, the original retail release. With development headed by Valve, those games were built on a powerfully modified version of the Quake engine. One thing Quake and Counter-Strike did very, very well was fast, responsive movement. And that’s on full display in VALORANT.
Despite being built on the Unreal Engine, the team behind VALORANT has worked hard to build character controls that move and feel as close to their predecessors as possible. Movement is fluid and a skill unto itself for players to develop. Counter-strafing and bunny hopping are techniques the skilled player can employ to good effect.
In Overwatch, the movement feels more focused on highlighting the heroes and their powers. Aside from abilities that help the players to transit across a map, movement in Overwatch isn’t likely to decide a round, although movement is largely defined by the class chosen. This serves to normalize the playing field somewhat for new players while giving hero powers the maximum impact possible.
VALORANT vs. Overwatch – Team Composition
In VALORANT, picking a hero is akin to purchasing utility (such as smoke grenades or flashbangs) in other competitive shooters. It will not dramatically affect the moment-to-moment gameplay, but will provide unique opportunities to either slow your opponents down or create an opening to capitalize on. Once the fight is on, though, it comes down to who has better crosshair placement, spray control, and movement.
Overwatch heavily weights team composition due to the MMO inspired team roles. Every team needs tanks to protect the weaker team members, a support or two to keep everyone alive, and DPS heroes to whittle down the opposition. The GOATS meta even revolved around cutting DPS out of the picture entirely in favor of three tanks and three supports. The right heroes and powers properly utilized can and will win games in Overwatch to a far larger degree than VALORANT.
E-Sports – VALORANT vs. Overwatch
When it comes to the grand spectacle of e-sports, both VALORANT and Overwatch have a lot to offer. Many longtime Counter-Strike professionals like Spencer “Hiko” Martin and Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert have made the easy transition to VALORANT, regularly streaming and some even competing in the scene under both new and familiar team banners. And the gameplay is close enough to its roots that a fan of competitive shooters gone by can easily make the jump with them. VALORANT is easy for Counter-Strike fans to start following and offers plenty of the same thrills and even personalities.
Overwatch currently boasts one of the biggest and most professional leagues in gaming with the Overwatch League. With teams operating out of major cities across the world, it shares a lot in common with major league sports, and due to the design of the game, it’s easy for the casual viewer to grasp the basics at a glance. While it doesn’t quite have the foundation yet of other e-sports, it brings slick production and traditional sports trappings to the realm of e-sports. Go Los Angeles Gladiators!
Become a High Grounder
In the fight of VALORANT vs. Overwatch, it’s gamers that win most of all. Want a skill-based gun battle with a dash of supernatural powers? VALORANT has you covered. Looking for a competitive game that looks like an MMO PvP bout with the occasional gun thrown in? Overwatch brings what you’re looking for.
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We’ll see you in the next guide.