Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review (PC/Xbox 360/PS3)
*Review based on the PC version of the game*
Counter-Strike has long been a staple when it comes to online shooters. Chances are, when someone asks for a list of online shooters worth playing, Counter-Strike will be one of the first mentioned. From it’s humble beginnings as a Half-Life mod to it’s full retail release, Counter-Strike has gone through a number of face lifts. The latest entry into the franchise looks to appeal to a new market while maintaining the following of its already established fan base. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (GO) is the Counter-Strike you know, however this time it’s a little more modern.
The same basic format of Counter-Strike remains. Two teams (Counter-terrorists and Terrorists) face off against each other across various maps in which bombs must be planted and hostages rescued. Classic competitive keeps the traditional rules in tact with players earning cash during the game to fund their purchases of new weapons.
The rounds start with players having access to $800 (lovingly referred to as ‘the pistol round’) to play around with. During the game players earn cash through kills, victories and completing objectives. Friendly fire is in full effect and the rate players gain cash is the exact same rate seen in the likes of CS: Source and 1.6. Classic competitive will instantly be familiar to any veteran of the franchise. The only real addition to the rules and scoring is players are now credited for kill assists, a welcome addition.
Counter-Strike: GO includes a more accessible version of the competitive mode known as ‘casual competitive’. The main changes from casual to classic is decreased friendly fire damage (classics 100% is reduced to 50%) increased cash rewards and body armour as default. Casual also includes an exclusive taser weapon that kills within one hit. The taser itself is enjoyable to use and adds a nice little touch of comedy to proceedings. One change that may pass a lot of players by is the lack of body collision in casual mode. This allows for players to ease their minds when it comes to blocking off players in door ways and what not.
Both casual and classic modes offer the familiar formula that Counter Strike is known for. Counter-Strike: Go also includes two additional modes based on a popular Counter-Strike: Source mod, the gun game. Known as ‘Arms Race’ players start off the game all equipped with the same weapon. Players progress through the collection of weapons by killing enemies with their equipped weapon.
The game is won once a player has ran through all the weapons and finally killed a player with the knife. Arms Race is not round based and is instead played until someone wins. Suicide takes a player backwards in their weapon progression, as does being the victim of a enemy players knife. Arms Race is a great realisation of one of Counter-Strike: Sources greatest mods.
The gun game rules are further expanded upon and altered resulting in the game mode ‘Demolition’. Demolition places the gun game rules into a round-based mode set within custom maps. Earning a kill in Demolition progresses the player to the next gun in the following round. Additional kills reward the player with various grenades to use along side their new weapon. Unlike Arms Race, bomb plants are present with Demolition.
All the game modes within Counter-Strike: GO have a purpose and don’t feel shoe horned in. Casual competitive is a great way to introduce players to the Counter-Strike formula, it’s a nice method of easing new players in. Casual also offers a much more relaxed way to play due to the various accommodating rules.
Classic competitive holds all the intensity of past Counter-Strikes with a more modern edge. Arms Race and Demolition do a great job of offering a nice change of pace and play to Counter-Strike: GO as a overall package. Both variations of the gun game are well designed, and well executed, resulting in some top notch fun for both new players and veterans.
Counter-Strike: GO isn’t just bringing new game modes and rule sets. There’s a number of new weapons that add a extra level of strategy to the competitive modes. Two new grenades have been added in the shape of molotovs/incendiary and decoys. Decoys (when used right) can be handy to distract enemies allowing players to rescue hostages or plant/defuse the bomb. The molotov/incendiary grenades release a wave of fire upon the ground that last for around five seconds. The fire can be used to cause havoc in small spaces, as well as halt oncoming enemies. Both new grenade types add a small (but effective) twist to strategical approach to a game.
A number of new weapons are on offer within Counter-Strike: Go. While some weapons feel a little trivial and ineffective, others feel devastating. The shotguns are especially weighty with the likes of the Nova and Sawn-off seeing plenty of use online, and for good reason. One change veterans will instantly notice is the removal of the ability to place a silencer on the M4. It’s not a major change but it’s a change that will surely sadden some Counter-Strike fans.
The only new maps that Counter-Strike: GO has to offer come in the shape of those in Demolition. The new maps are tailor made for the game mode, but to their credit they are well designed. The bulk of the maps are familiar favourites (Dust, Italy and Office to name a few) with slight changes. More often than not, the changes come in the shape of additional routes and corridors being placed in the map. The quality of the maps is undeniable, each map offers various routes that support most play styles.
Visually Counter-Strike: GO is surprisingly nice to look at. Maps looks nice with various amounts of details and nice set pieces to look at. The map DE_Aztec is probably the best showcase of the visual prowess. Weapons looks realistic and are well rendered, adding that little bit extra to the games cosmetics. Character models are nicely detailed and well animated. The source engine does show its age at times but it’s never to the point where things become ugly.
Counter-Strike: GO is a fantastic multiplayer experience that fills something of a gap in today’s market. In a world where them majority of online shooters are all about perks, regenerating health and classes, Counter-Strike: GO does things old school. There’s a sense of purity about GO which leaves it feeling oddly unique. The simple, yet thoroughly enjoyable, nature of the game leaves it feeling fresh even though its nothing new. Counter-Strike: GO manges to keep the no-hand holding nature of the game while offering a much more approachable means to play.
It may not be nothing truly new, but it’s undeniably enjoyable. Be it a new player or a veteran, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has plenty to offer at a low price.Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review (PC/Xbox 360/PS3),