I could barely contain myself when I first heard the announcement that Counter-Strike was returning. It’s been about twelve years since the first Half-Life mod (Counter-Strike) rocked the world. Then in 2004, we were given Counter-Strike Source. Finally, after eight long years, Valve has released the long-awaited Counter-Strike Global Offensive.
Words cannot describe the excitement that overcame me during the installation phase. I was pacing with anticipation; it took about twenty minutes to download and install. With butterflies in my stomach, I joined my first online match not knowing what to expect. Once I finally connected, I was surprised to see all my favorite maps from the original Counter-Strike, but revamped with modern graphics.
Counter-Strike Global Offensive is everything you would expect from Counter-Strike. At first you feel overwhelmed by the graphical changes made to the environments; there’s so much to see. You actually feel distracted the first few times you play. Even the traditional maps have been altered with additional hiding spots and different routes. There are a total of sixteen different maps in Counter-Strike Global Offensive. The new maps included with the game introduce new game modes and guns.
The game has Classic Casual and Classic Competitive modes that use the eight original maps. The Classic Casual mode plays like classic Counter-Strike where you buy weapons with the money earned via winning rounds. You must play a ten round match before the game will cycle to the next map.
The Demolition and Hostage Rescue maps are now considered two different game modes. To play Hostage Rescue, you must select it via the main menu (the same goes for The Demolition). The original Counter-Strike would randomly cycle through all the maps, but this is no longer the case with CS: GO.
The Classic Competitive game mode is a bit different than Classic Casual. In Classic Competitive, the player must worry about friendly fire, team collision and the need to buy body armor. Since Classic Casual eliminates friendly fire, there are no team killers to deal with or clumsy players getting injured as they walk into your line of fire.
The built-in mic system makes it easy to communicate with your opponents and/or teammates. And when tempers flair, voice chat becomes a chaotic soapbox for anyone willing to participate. What’s CS without a few arguments?
The game includes two new game modes — Demolition and Arms Race. Arms Race is different from classic Counter-Strike. You start with a single weapon (i.e. a mac10 for example) and once you kill someone your weapon will cycle to a different one. The first one to kill with every weapon will be the winner of the round.
Demolition mode plays very similar to Arms Race. You start the round with a single weapon like Arms Race, but once you kill someone, your weapon will change at the start of the next round. If you happen to die during a Demolition match, you’re dead. You can’t play again until the match restarts.
The eight new maps are only accessible through the aforementioned game modes. It’s a shame; it would have been great to have a classic bomb run mission or hostage rescue on the newer maps. Maybe Valve will address this in a future patch/update?
There is also a a weapons course that will train you in shooting, using bombs and grenades, and also the basics in moving and opening doors. If you happen to end up on a low-populated server or would rather play alone, you can play with bots (NPCs) instead. This is a good feature if you’re trying to learn the basics and become more familiar with Counter-Strike. Playing with bots is also a great way to learn the maps and find camping spots for online play.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has a vast list of community servers to choose from. These community servers are accessible by selecting the browse community server option from the main menu.
First-person shooters were forever changed the day Counter-Strike was officially released. Counter-Strike continues to be one of the best first-person shooters available today. Hardcore CS fans might find themselves divided over some of the changes made in CS:GO, but when you judge CS:GO as a standalone FPS without taking its predecessors into account, you’re left with a solid FPS that’s every bit as good as the competition.
Playstation 3 gamers can also get in on the action. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available on PSN for $14.99. So whether you’re a PC/Mac junkie or a Playstation 3 gamer, you can feed your need to make the competition bleed.
Counter-Strike is the type of game that never seems to grow old. The older Counter-Strike Source is still being played after eight years and it will continue to be played. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive could very well end up having the same longevity. The online community is currently strong with plenty of players online.
Gamers who swear by Counter Strike Source should still give CS:GO a chance. The in-game changes are hard to appreciate at first, but they grow on you over time. Even people new to Counter-Strike will find its gameplay competitive and refreshing. And when it comes to experiences, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive delivers.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Platform: PC (Steam)
OS: Windows 7/Vista/XP
Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E6600 or AMD Phenom™ X3 8750 processor or better
Memory: 1GB XP / 2GB Vista
Hard Disk Space: At least 7.6GB of Space
Video Card: Video card must be 256 MB or more and should be a DirectX 9-compatible with support for Pixel Shader 3.0
|The best graphics in a Counter-Strike release; both realistic and stunning.|
|Fantastic sounds that include updated voice actors for the radio commands.|
|Even with the changes mentioned, CS:GO still delivers classic Counter-Strike gameplay.|
|CS:GO is an incredible first-person shooter. It includes built-in mic chat, achievements, sixteen different maps, and a handful of gaming modes.|