VALORANT vs. CSGO: Which game is truly tougher?

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Ever since VALORANT was released, the colorful FPS has been compared to other existing shooters — usually Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Despite CSGO coming out over 20 years ago, the two games have a ton in common that makes it difficult not to discuss their similarities.

While the gaming community at large has agreed that VALORANT and CSGO share many similar gameplay components, including round setups, maps, and strategies, there’s one thing that has continued to leave gamers torn: Which game is harder.

When VALORANT first came out, it was immediately said to be easier than CSGO. At the time, people felt that CSGO’s simplicity compared to VALORANT’s colourful cast of ability-wielding agents meant that CSGO relied more on raw mechanical skills.

Learn what guns work best on Ancient in CS:GO

CSGO’s maps were also seen as a lot more complex. When VALORANT first came out, FPS players criticized the map designers for creating such simple and straightforward maps that seemed to force players into a small handful of strategies. Meanwhile, CSGO’s maps have been celebrated for decades for being complex and confined, with narrow entry points and more varied paths options.

What do the pros say?

Veteran CSGO player turned VALORANT streamer Michael “shroud” Grzesiek has become one of the most outspoken and respected gamers on the topic. Able to master any shooter he touches, shroud has a lot of valuable insight into both titles.

He started off saying that CSGO is clearly more difficult than VALORANT, a sentiment other pros shared as well. Why? CSGO just has tougher mechanics. It takes a lot more practice to master the mechanics and aiming in CSGO, which is why the pros are often respected for being the best of the best when it comes to accuracy and speed.

After playing the game for a year, shroud admitted that both games are “hard in their own way. “

“CSGO on the tactical level is nuts. [VALORANT] on the tactical level is also pretty nuts, to be honest, but it’s in a different way. They’re both hard in their own way. The strategy in [VALORANT] is similar to CS in regards to map control, but the way you take map control is vastly different and map control is never a guarantee in [VALORANT],” shroud said during a stream in September of 2021.

Read up on how balanced VALORANT is

But shroud changed his mind once again in the summer of 2022. At this point, shroud had been signed to Sentinels, a top VALORANT team despite previously saying he was done playing games professionally and allegedly hated playing with pros.

“CS looks like a joke compared to this game, I am telling you. There’s no sugar coating. The game is just hard,” shroud said. 

Despite changing his take so drastically, the FPS community has backed up shroud’s new opinion. While CSGO may take the cake when it comes to mechanics, VALORANT has much more to depth and a lot more to learn.

The impact of abilities in VALORANT

That’s due to the agents all having their own abilities. This opens up a lot more possibilities in both team composition and gameplay but also countering and keeping in mind your opponent’s lineup. There are many more possibilities to keep track of. You also need good communication to pull off strategies and combos with the agents’ abilities. There’s a lot more adaptation required as new agents come out.

In the end, VALORANT and CSGO should not be compared. While the core gameplay has many similarities, the games are night and day. It’s like comparing Roblox and Minecraft. Like comparing Dota 2 and League of Legends. The games are just… different.

This is also true for watching VALORANT and CSGO. The games play much differently and you’ll notice a lot of variance in the gameplay’s speed and strategies. The game you choose to follow comes down to personal preference. Luckily, we cover both! If you’re looking for insightful stats on either FPS — maybe to compare shroud’s performance in both games among other useful comparisons — check out our esports data packages.

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