Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review
Counter-Strike is still going strong in the PC community to this day, but console gamers haven’t seen that title on their system since the game was ported on Xbox back in 2003. Between now and then, Call of Duty has set up residence on consoles and has become the industry standard for FPS games — exactly what PC players think of CS. With Activision’s annual title holding a majority of the shooter market, can CS:GO’s updated classic gameplay survive on more than nostalgia?
Addictive As Ever
Counter-Strike has always been addictive and Global Offensive blends aspects of 1.6 and Source in addition to new features to ensure that it remains that way. This should both please long-time PC fans and provide a solid version for console players with which to invest countless hours. Valve’s franchise has set the latest benchmark with this new entry, being preceded by Source in 2004, updating the title with tweaks and additions. You’ll see plenty of recognizable content such as the remade maps for Dust, Dust 2 and Office, just to name a few. The remade maps are paired with the Classic Casual and Classic Competitive modes, wherein players can partake in matches highlighted by either bomb defusal or hostage rescue objectives. In case you haven’t played Counter-Strike (on a related note, where have you been?), each match is composed of two teams: Counter-Terrorists and Terrorists. Before the match officially starts, each team gets to select loadout from a radial menu. Unlike other copy-and-paste shooters, you won’t find a weapon progression system here. All weapons are readily available from the start, but they require that you have a certain amount of cash to purchase them. This money is earned by killing terrorists, completing objectives and simply completing the match (even if you lost). Your loadout will carry over between matches unless you die, in which case you’ll be tossed back to the standard handgun for your faction. However, should you find yourself sorely unprepared to take on the unforgiving online community, you can practice offline against bots with adjustable difficulty settings and complete button-mapping for you to test out as you adjust. On a special note for PlayStation 3 owners, the PlayStation Move, Sharp Shooter and Keyboard/Mouse can be used to play the game.
The way GO’s matches play out is standard fare for anyone who’s played Counter-Strike or seen it in action. If this is your first time, you may be surprised to see that an iron sights option isn’t available. This isn’t a missing feature; rather, it’s a design choice. Although it may give off the “pray-and-spray” mentality, CS:GO is much more than that. Depending on your weapon, movement speed and stance, your weapon’s accuracy will change accordingly. This can lead newcomers wondering why all of their bullets missed their mark while running toward a nearby enemy. If you’re having difficulty hitting your target, you can thank the implementation of 1.6′s smaller hitboxes. Furthermore, should you happen to die, and you will, you will be forced to spectate until the next match. Death is treated more seriously here. Thankfully, Call of Duty’s formula can’t be found in other areas either. Only guns with scopes (ex: sniper rifles) can zoom in, perks are nonexistent and knives/grenades must be equipped to use. Sure, there are awards given for achieving certain in-game feats, but this system is nothing new.
Entertaining New Content
I previously mentioned that GO received some additions. First, there are two new modes, Arms Race and Demolition, which drastically change the pace. Arms Race is based off of Counter-Strike’s well-known mod, Gun Game, with a team-oriented twist. Here, two teams face off and must progress through 26 weapons on one of two maps (Baggage and Shoots). The next weapon on the list is immediately awarded with each kill and the first person to make it through every weapon wins the match for their team. Unlike the two Classic modes, respawns are instant. Fans of Call of Duty may recall Black Ops’ inclusion of this mode, known as Gun Game interestingly enough. The other new mode, Demolition, is also fast paced and satisfying. Taking place on one of six small-scale maps, Demolition sets a single bomb site. In their typical fashion, terrorists will rush to this spot to plant the bomb while counter-terrorists will be trying to thwart their efforts. The smaller maps ensure that the matches don’t last more than a few minutes, ensuring minimal time waiting to respawn. If you manage to score a kill in this brief window, you’ll be given a new weapon in the next round. Additional kills per round will award the player with extra equipment, such as grenades. Although somewhat similar to Arms Race, Demolition stands on its own.
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