valorant vs csgo

Valorant vs CSGO Compared

Latest posts by Matthew Du (see all)

Since it was first announced as Project A, Valorant has taken the gaming world by storm. I’ve been privileged enough to have been playing it ever since it was first released, and let me be the first to tell you how much more to it than meets the eye.

It’s the culmination of everything developers have learned about the first-person shooter genre, from 1990s Doom until today’s CSGO. Speaking of CSGO, Valorant has been compared to this game since it was first placed into production. Today will be no different. 

We’ll compare these two FPS juggernauts in every game aspect. Whether you’re looking to find the next title you’ll be spending the next 10,000 hours on or looking for debate points the next time your friends bring it up, read on, and find out the better game.

Main Differences Between Valorant vs CSGO

The main differences between Valorant vs CSGO are:

  • Valorant has agents with different skills, abilities, and roles to help their teams win rounds and games, whereas CSGO provides all the players with the same utility and guns to let the players decide, in-game, their roles and responsibilities.
  • Both games have a wide variety of gun options for their players. CSGO, however, gives different options depending on what side of the game you are on. For example, Terrorists have access to AK-47s and Counter-Terrorists have access to M4A1s. Valorant doesn’t differentiate the gun options between Attackers and Defenders.
  • The two games are very similar in terms of gameplay and surface-level mechanics. Games in CSGO are longer as they are a best of 30 rounds, whereas Valorant’s games are a best of 25. Counter strafing and bunny hopping are more challenging but more beneficial in CSGO than Valorant.
  • CSGO’s guns have a set spray pattern, whereas Valorant’s guns introduce RNG after shooting a certain number of bullets. CSGO rewards players who spend more time memorizing spray patterns where Valorant rewards players who tap and strafe.



At its core, Valorant is a 5v5 character-based tactical shooter released in 2020. The actual development of the game started in 2014 and was first teased by Riot Games as Project A in October 2019 and was honestly one of the most hyped games to be released that year. 

Valorant features eight maps to play in, 20 agents you can select, and 18 weapons to shoot. Play with your friends or solo queue to the top ranks as you learn the game’s intricacies.

Riot has done a lot to make sure that Valorant is an inclusive game. On the high end, you might have to spend as little as $1,000 for an entire setup that runs Valorant on at least 150 FPS. That includes the monitor, PC, and peripherals. 

Not bad for a game that came out in 2020 and had an active player base of 2 million active players every day, according to Dexerto. That said, you’ll need at least 15GB of available space to download and install Valorant – as well as at least 8GB ram if you’re looking for at least 144 FPS.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Counter Strike Global Offensive

Similar to Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a 5v5 team-based first-person shooter launched as a sequel to the original Counter-Strike, first launched way back in 1999. Released by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment, CSGO is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series and continues to draw in about 11 million players per month.

There are seven categories of weaponry: rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, shotguns, pistols, grenades, and melee.

There are 25 separate guns in the game and nine maps available. Unlike Valorant, CSGO doesn’t have different agents or characters available for play – you play as a normal human with the usual utility like smokes, flashbangs, and decoy grenades.

Now, it’s no secret that CSGO is a much older game than Valorant. Even so, it’s requirements to run on a PC are strikingly similar to Valorant. On the surface level, Valorant has the same spec requirements as CSGO – but upon further inspection, I found that Valorant requires at least 4GB of RAM and 1 GB of VRAM given that it was developed in Unreal Engine.

This marginal difference in spec requirements is great for anyone trying out a game without dropping $3,000 on a setup. CSGO and Valorant are great “starter” FPS games to get anyone acclimated to the genre in fun but competitive environment. 


Valorant Gameplay

Valorant Gameplay

The game itself is straightforward – the most commonly played game mode is a 5v5 scenario where players are divided into two teams, one tasked with planting and detonating the bomb and the other charged with defending the sites. 

As an attacker, you win by eliminating the enemy team, planting the Spike before time expires, and defending it until it detonates. As a defender, your goal is to eliminate the enemy team or defuse the Spike if it gets planted.

Before every match, you will select a character to play as, with each agent equipped with a specific set of utilities and skills that you could use to help you win.

Each match is a race to 13 or, in the case of overtime, whoever wins two rounds in a row first. Whether in Unrated or Competitive, the average Valorant game lasts around 25-45 minutes.

Even if you had the best Phantom game of your life and ended the match 13-0, you’ll still need about 20-25 minutes to finish the entire game. 

Because you need to win two straight rounds in overtime, a game of Valorant could theoretically last forever. The longest game was a 44-round war between TSM and GenG that forced Riot to restart after glitching out at the 90-minute mark. 

Valorant is an extremely approachable game for any beginning player – even if you have no experience in the FPS genre.

For more experienced players, Valorant introduces interesting new mechanics into the FPS genre. Because it’s free to play, the barrier to entry is really low, and almost anyone can pick up the game, no matter the hardware level they have.

Valorant keeps it new and fresh in gameplay while introducing diverse and deep strategies that add layers to the game. Because Valorant has a wide array of agents and maps to choose from, so there are hundreds upon hundreds of interactions across agent utility and map assets.

If you watch pro play, for example, you’ll quickly see how intense and tactical the game can get. Every piece of utility thrown is just another cog to the overall goal of winning the round.

Check out this breakdown from Sovereign Guides on OpTic’s absolute domination against LOUD Esports in VCT:

CSGO Gameplay

CSGO Gameplay

Like Valorant, the game pits two teams, the Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists, against each other in different objective-based game modes.

Whereas Valorant only has one major game mode that people only play, CSGO has nine official game modes that have distinct features and mechanics. The game modes are as follows: Competitive, Casual, Deathmatch, Arms Race, Demolition, Wingman, Retakes, Danger Zone, and Flying Scoutsman. 

Their most popular game mode, Competitive, is a best-of-30 match where players enter each round with specific amounts of cash as determined by the CSGO economy based on the bonus you receive from winning or losing the last round.

Before the round begins, players are given 15 seconds to purchase their utility and strategize for the round. Once the round begins, players are expected to set up their defense or execute on a site. 

The conditions for winning a round in competition are as follows:

For Terrorists: 

  • Eliminating all defenders (counter-terrorists)
  • Planting the bomb and defending it until it explodes

For Counter-Terrorists

  • Eliminating all attackers
  • Defusing the planted bomb

A game in competitive matchmaking can last anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour, though the average duration, based on game data, is around 40 minutes. Don’t forget to consider queueing time, as it may take 5-10 minutes to find a match. 

Here’s a fun fact: the longest-ever recorded professional CSGO match lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes. It was a game between British team Xenes vs ExceL, the ESL UK premiership tournament. In the interest of saving time, you can watch the final minutes of the game here:

That said, CSGO remains one of the most mechanically taxing games on the market right now. Raw aim alone can take you to the top 10% of players.

Of course, good aim also includes some level of game sense, which includes pre-aiming and knowing where enemies are likely to peek. Still, it doesn’t call for any high-level strategies or perfectly in-sync executions like pro gameplay does.

With the raw aim, you could easily make it to at least DMG (Distinguished Master Guardian). But even then, not everyone in the higher ranks is good at the game – some cheat.



Valorant visuals

The two games could also not be more different from a visual perspective. Where CSGO brings a realistic aesthetic to the FPS genre, Valorant has no problem looking cartoonish.

I would be lying if I said that games don’t feel more immersive if they look real, but I generally have no problem with a cartoon-looking game. We don’t really play games for their realism now, do we?

Even the skins look cartoonish, as we can see from the photo of the Nebula Phantom below.

Nebula Phantom


There’s no real-world gun that could look like it has the imprint of the cosmos inside it. Valorant’s visuals are far from realistic, but I don’t think it actually does anything bad. It’s been interesting to see CSGO players trash Valorant for how it looks like a kid’s game, but the visuals don’t affect the gameplay.

While many people may see its art style as a turn-off, I’d argue that its animation will only open more doors for the future, especially regarding TV shows, comic books, and even apparel and gear. There’s a reason why Riot chose to draw it this way.


Counter Strike Visuals

Where Valorant looks like it has animated characters, CSGO takes heavy inspiration from real-world items to digitalize and simulate terrorist/counter-terrorist combat.

If you’ve seen CSGO gameplay, you’ll immediately notice the level of intricacy and detail that Valve has paid attention to right from the opening scene. It’s definitely not the best, but the art style is reminiscent of that of early 2000s battle games – and there’ll always be interest in nostalgia.


One thing you should know, however, is that CSGOs skins are worth so much more than Valorant’s. A doppler knife skin, for example, goes for as much as $7,500. Other skins have gone up to $50,000.

The skins currently available in the CSGO skin market have a market capitalization of approximately USD 3.8 million. Some even surmise that the total CSGO skin market could be worth more than $1 billion. 


From a story perspective, Valorant takes the cake.

Sure, CSGO has some form of world-building going on – like Operation Bravo, Bloodhound, and Wildfire, which all took place in September 2013, May 2015, and February 2016, respectively – but the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continuity has never been cohesive enough to actually build a world around. 

Valorant and Riot, on the other hand, have done their best to create lore around all the agents and the spike planting.

Valorant’s Lore is set around 2049-2050 after energy waves appeared in the sky and caused the Earth to lose ¾ of its power supply while simultaneously giving all Valorant Agents their powers. The Valorant Protocol is the agency seeking to democratize ownership of Radianite. 

The agents are the main characters in this war for control. Even the maps have their own lore behind them. Fracture, for example, is a portal to another Earth with agents trying to steal our Radianite. 

Of course, none of this impacts the game, but it’s cool to think about it while you’re in the lobby waiting for a game. 


Looking at a surface-level comparison of both games, you could say that the two are very similar in their core mechanics. I mean, you still shoot people and have to go around trying to defuse or plant the bomb, right?

Well, yeah, but that’s not just it. 

Map Design and Buy Zones

For one thing, Valorant has a much, much larger buy zone that takes up a third of the map for both sides. The buy time for each round is also longer, and you’re free to move around, purchase gear, and do whatever you want without the enemy hearing you before the buy phase timer runs out. 

valorant map design


To that end, I also wanted to discuss the map design that differs between Valorant and CSGO. In CSGO, all maps have two bomb sites and are generally far more open than Valorant.

There are a lot fewer corners to clear, so you don’t have to worry about someone camping for lurks as much. Valorant, on the other hand, has far more sharp turns and cubbies – though they’re trying to fix this with their recent addition of Pearl and constant map updates.

Where CSGO’s maps have a sense of consistency and realism, each map in Valorant has a unique gimmick that teams should very likely be around.

Haven, for example, has three bomb sites that the attacking team could plant on, and Fracture has four different entryways on the total opposite side of the bomb site that players could execute from. What does CSGO have? Dust2’s mid-doors?

I’m kidding. Kind of. 

Spray Patterns

Spray Patterns are another thing that I wanted to highlight in core mechanics. In CSGO, the spray pattern for each gun is fixed. You always know what to expect, which has led to absolutely bonker spray transfers from those who’ve mastered them. 

Valorant doesn’t have these consistent spray patterns. The devs have added some level of RNG after the 10th bullet to keep the players honest. In this game, you can’t spray transfer as well – so your best shot at killing someone is by shooting quick bursts of 2 or 3 bullets, strafing, then firing again. 

To be honest, this difference isn’t as huge as the others on the list. Many CSGO pros who’ve switched to Valorant, like ScreaM, revel in the game-rewarding burst-shoot type players.

Ability Usage

Finally, and probably the biggest difference maker, are Valoran’ts agent pool. Each agent is equipped with a different set of abilities that they could use to win rounds. From trip wires, and recon darts to full-on Rocket Launchers that should (but don’t really) one-shot enemies, Valorant has a broader array of options for players. 

That said, CSGO allowing everyone to purchase the same set of utilities also has its advantages. This means that you can take on many hats.

If your teammates aren’t entering the site well, you can jump ahead and play entry fragger. If you’re more cerebral, stay back and play IGL. 

In Valorant, if your Jett isn’t dashing into the site and making space for your team through her mini smokes and updrafts. Well, tough luck. 

Anti-Cheat Systems

Going back to in-game comparisons, it’d be crazy to compare these two games without going into their Anti-Cheat systems. From my experience playing the game and from anecdotal evidence presented by individuals on different forums, it’s cool to see just how much better Valorant’s anti-cheat system is than CSGO.

It’s difficult to ascertain how many hackers there are in both CSGO and Valorant at any given time, and neither company has released statements or code to help the community understand what’s going on under the hood – which is understandable given that hackers might reverse-engineer it and beat the system – but the gameplay speaks for itself. 


system reboot required valorant

What you get from performance, you give up on privacy.

Riot’s Vanguard, however, is quite intrusive as software. Alongside a separate client that runs in the background whilst you play Valorant, a deeper dive into the inner workings of Riot’s anti-cheat system reveals a kernel mode driver that heavily scans your desktop for more accurate cheat detection.

This may annoy some users, as Riot Vanguard boots up with Windows Startup every time and might extend its boundaries and involve itself with other apps. However, my experience with Vanguard has been positive even with Vanguard constantly running in the background.


CSGO anticheat

On the flipside, CSGO’s VAC system has failed our community many times.

Cheaters have been prevalent in the CSGO community since the start of the game in the early 2000s. But thousands of methods to bypass their Valve Anti Cheat (VAC) system have surfaced. It got to a point where in December 2018, the developers had to ban over 600,000 accounts in a single month.

Even pro players like Valorant’s Jamppi and KQLY weren’t safe from Valve’s rules, as having your account VAC banned means you cannot participate in a Valve-hosted tournament.

Updates and Patches


There’s a lot of nuance when it comes down to balancing hero mechanics and so many interactions left uncovered – especially with new patches and updates always coming out.

Valorant is constantly under construction, as developers have reiterated that players should expect a new patch to go up every two weeks.

Though this number may fluctuate monthly, my experience with updates has been pretty consistent. This could be a con for most people, as patches mean that there’s a probability that your main agent may fall out of meta by the next episode. Chamber mains, I’m looking at you.


One of the biggest conflict points for CSGO is that the game just basically never updates. Compared to other big games, like Overwatch, League of Legends, and Warframe, CSGO never got a huge amount of updates until its leading contender, Valorant, came out in 2020.

For players, this could be either a good or bad thing. For one, at least everything you know about the game is consistent. One bad update can ruin the game for a lot of people.

When the R8 revolver first came out or when they increased the RNG on rifles, the whole community went bonkers because it broke so much of the fundamental mechanics that they’d ingrained into their systems. As a game developer, Valve must be very careful with how they go about playtesting.

On the flip side, many little bug fixes can be patched daily. New content could be added to keep people interested, and the Valve community deserves to have any bugs fixed as quickly as possible. A good update may change how the game is played for the better.

There are pros and cons to doing either, but as with all things, balance here is key.

Pros and Cons


Pros Cons
New and Fresh Cartoonish Art Style
Diverse Strategies and Deep Tactics Early on in Development
Optimized for Hardware  


Pros Cons
Consistent – You Know What To Expect Every Game Old and Lacks Updates
Realistic-Looking Weapon Skins Anti-Cheat
Mechanically Taxing  

Which is Better Overall?

There’s no one answer to the “what is better overall” question. Sure, Valorant may be newer, but CSGO also has a lot of devout followers and a rich history.

Here’s my take on it:

Play Valorant if you want to experience something new. If you’ve been an avid fan of CSGO and the FPS genre for any amount of time, just try out Valorant and see your thoughts on it. 

Play CSGO if you want a pure FPS experience. No skills, no superpowers. Just straight gunplay with real-world utility that you could theoretically purchase in real-life.

If you’re someone new to the FPS genre, I suggest trying out Valorant first. The floor for being good at CSGO is higher than Valorant, given that it’s much more mechanically demanding.

However, Valorant’s different agent skills and constant introduction of new in-game interactions means that you could develop more strategies and tactics than in CSGO.

What Do The Pros Have To Say About It?

But don’t just take my word for it. Take FPS Legend, Shrouds:

Basically, Shroud is saying that while CSGO may be mechanically harder, Valorant has so much more strategy that goes into it. Tarik added to the same sentiments. The different interactions in the game added layers of difficulty that CSGO doesn’t have. 

One thing that Shroud said that makes sense is that because Valorant is mechanically easier, it’s more difficult to stand out at the top. 

“On an individual level, it’s easier. On a team level, it’s harder.” Former CSGO pro turned Valorant content creator supplies. 

Best Alternatives/Other Games Like This


If you liked one or the other, here are some other games that might interest you as well:

  • APEX Legends
  • Overwatch 2
  • Call of Duty: Warzone
  • Fortnite
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Battlefield 5
  • Destiny 2
  • Rainbow Six Siege


Question: Valorant vs. CSGO: Which is Harder?

Answer: Valorant and CSGO are hard in their own way. Where CSGO has a higher skill floor, Valorant has more agent interactions that increase the game’s overall difficulty from a strategic and tactical level. 

Question: Valorant vs. CSGO: Which is Better?

Answer: Choosing between the two depends on a variety of things, Valorant is easier to get into for beginners and has better competitive matchmaking capabilities. Still, CSGOs history and large player base generally mean that it has something for everyone. 

Question: Will Valorant overtake CSGO?

Answer: Many people believe that Valorant will overtake the popularity of CSGO, given that it’s a newer game with more marketing and a growing eSports following. With pro players from different genres trying their hand at competitive Valorant, the game looks ready to bring in droves of fans from all genres of gaming. 

Valorant vs CSGO: Conclusion

Both games bring different things to the table. Where CSGO is like the cool, older brother, Valorant is the young upstart trying to shake things up and find its place in this world. Whatever game you pick, just have fun with it and find friends that’ll help you get better along the way.

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