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I’m finally turning into a Valorant fan thanks to its Xbox port

Key art for Valorant on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Riot Games

Although I’ve followed and played a bit of Valorant over the years as I’ve covered it, I’ve never fully taken the plunge and gotten into Riot Games’ intense hero shooter competitively. I simply don’t like playing first-person shooters on PC. I understand that’s a somewhat odd take because using a mouse and keyboard gives players such precise control, but I grew up playing Call of Duty games on a console rather than a PC. I could take the time to really learn and get used to mouse-and-keyboard controls for a game like Valorant, but it’s so competitive, and proper teamwork is such a critical factor that it is too intimidating of a game to practice my PC skills in.

That’s why I was grateful when I learned Riot Games was finally bringing Valorant to consoles with some major adjustments. Announced at Summer Game Fest, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Valorant are on the way and in closed beta testing right now. Riot granted me access to the Xbox beta, and after playing some more Valorant on Xbox Series X, I can tell I’m starting to get hooked. Valorant is a tightly designed competitive shooter, and the control tweaks Riot made to make it work on a controller feel great. I don’t have to worry about competing with PC players using a mouse and keyboard either, just players who are already really good at the game with a controller.


If you’ve never played Valorant before, it’s a multiplayer shooter that finds the middle ground between Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. It features a healthy cast of heroes with unique abilities, but players are also tactically purchasing weapons, ability uses, and health from an in-game shop each round. All of that is great on PC and has not been touched at all on console. If you were worried about getting a watered-down port because it doesn’t have crossplay, that thankfully isn’t the case.

The main difference between Valorant on console and PC is controller support, as well as a new feature called Focus. The control layout of Valorant feels intuitive on an Xbox Series X controller and similar to other shooters I’ve played on that console. On PC, Valorant players often hip-fire most guns but can do so with precise aiming because of a mouse. Riot recognized that this wouldn’t work on the console, so it added Focus.

In practice, Focus is essentially a partial aim-down-sights button for every gun that needs it. While it doesn’t fully zoom into the barrel of each weapon, it does hone in on the center of the player’s screen and gives a bit more subtle control on where to aim. Of course, this doesn’t match the exact precision that using a mouse would allow, but it allows players to get extremely close while still using a controller. I felt like I was getting more headshots while playing Valorant than I do in most console shooters that don’t have really powerful aim assist.

Xbox gameplay of Valorant.
This in-game screenshot shows what Valorant’s UI and Focus gameplay feature will look like on Xbox consoles. Riot Games

I’m still nowhere near a professional level and I’m in awe at how more skilled some of my teammates already are, but I feel encouraged to actually learn a lot more about Valorant’s intricacies now. I don’t have to worry about getting unfairly beaten by PC players during that process, either. While I do think crossplay is a net good for the video game industry, it can sometimes be frustrating to play a shooter with crossplay on a console because I know I’ll never be able to aim as accurately as those playing on PC. That’s not a problem when I’m playing Valorant on console; if someone’s better than me, that’s because they are at a controller skill level that is possible for me to achieve.

After just a few days of checking out Valorant on console, I’m finally ready to take the plunge and spend a lot more time with it. If you’ve been interested in Riot Games’ shooter but had the same issues as me because it was only on PC, I’d recommend trying to get into Valorant’s limited beta on console and giving it a shot here. As a bonus, Xbox Game Pass subscribers don’t even have to worry about unlocking new characters in Valorant ever because that’s a bonus of the subscription.

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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