Ah the glory days. My old HP computer with Jnco stickers on the “tube” monitor, bags of flaming hot Cheetos and some computer chair I bought at a garage sale for $13.50. How I remember this, who knows but that was the beginning of my experience with Counter-Strike. It’s pretty amazing to think a game has been around for more than 10 years and has changed so little, yet still attracts so many players to its servers. The 2012 edition, labeled Global Offensive can easily hearken back to the circa-1999 mod for Half-Life with its hostage rescuing, bomb defusing, dual-Beretta wielding chaos. It’s seen some massive popularity with the competitive gaming market over the past 7-8 years and it just goes to show, you don’t have to recreate the wheel in order to make a difference in the esports world. The thing is, CS:GO isn’t THAT much different than the previous “entries” but what it does bring completely refreshes a series that some say has seen its glory days. So in typical “Squid” fashion, let’s jump to the dig it/dog it format, shall we?
- The graphical update is massive but it does the trick of adding flair to a franchise that has seen its fair share of “blocks” and ill-proportioned character models. All the returning maps look great (Aztec, the Dusts, Nuke, Italy, etc) each having a nice face lift in terms of a “modern” look. Small aesthetics are added but some maps like Dust have new routes to take in order to avoid “hot zones”. The graphics even do well on the console versions but it’s obvious the former was ported from PC as frame-rate is sometimes an issue on the PS3 and 360. Overall, the graphically change makes CS:GO fit in with the current plethora of FPS titles in terms of style but the game itself still maintains that old “vibe” if you will. It’s obvious you’re playing CS and not COD.
- It’s not a major thing but I loved that they didn’t change a single thing in regards to the how the game controls. Sure there are few noticeable updates and minuscule differences in how your character moves or reacts (no flinching) but it never takes away from the “OG” twitch feel that Counter-Strike developed so well. No aim assist, no ADS (aiming down sights), everyone starts on even playing field, the speed and stealth of movement differences and highly tuned tactics that revolve around competitive play. All the things that made CS what it is today and how these traits effected other current FPS titles. This will turn off a decent amount of players as the learning curve to this game is high, especially when you start playing on the Competitive mode. However, I don’t want my hand-held like most of our modern shooter titles. I enjoy the “flashback” so to speak. Just realize that this game was the predecessor in many ways for the Battlefield and Call of Duty entries of today. The quintessential moments from Counter-Strike are still here and that alone makes the game with a look if you haven’t been a part of its community in the past few years.
- I do like that most of the previous sounds were recycled but it has been some time since I have played Counter-Strike religiously but the updated “gun-audio” and Michael Giacchino-esque soundtrack fits nicely into this “updated” version of a classic.
- The new weapon additions are nice. Love the Molotov, especially when dealing with some “rusher” and I enjoy the MP7 more than the MP5. The Mag7 can be a bit annoying at times but an extra focus on CQ weapons helps blend a bit more variety in the AK/AWP/M4 combinations. It’s also nice to see that the LMG’s are not completely useless, while not practical, they finally can be used in specific situations or map setups. I had an odd “Rainbow Six” moment when I identically bounced an Incendiary grenade back into my face on Office. Always a nice way to end the round….
- The four playmodes are all fun to play. Arms Race (GunGame Mod from the past), Demolition and the Casual and Competitive Classic playlists. The server options are typical from a Valve game, so you know they are well handled. The major differences between Casual and Competitive Classic is the number of rounds (10 to 30) and the fact Collision and Friendly-Fire are both on for Competitive (thanks again Mr. “Trigger Happy” for that TK on Train last weekend).
- This will be a short list but I really miss the VIP game modes and especially some of the well known community created competitive maps. I know most of them were user-created like aim_extreme and ce_crackhouse (or killhouse) but it would be nice to see them in the game sometime in the future. Assassination will be missed, as I liked the challenge of that game mode and the frustration that came with having a terrible teammate.
- Arms Race gets old real fast and while Demolition is a nice addition, it’s hard to stray away from Casual and Competitive Classic. If Arms Race actually had more variation and Demolition wasn’t just a fancier Competitive mode, there would be a reason to play them often. Otherwise, they are just there to “pass the time” if your buddies are not online.
- What the heck happened to the suppressors? USP45 and M4? I mean it’s great that you want to focus on intense action but sometimes stealth is the only thing that allowed that last man standing to clutch out the round. I hope that those make a return in the future.
“Who doesn’t aim down their sights? I mean come on gaming industry…why does everything have to be played out like a Chuck Norris movie from the 80s?!” ~ First Time CS Player (PS3)
PS3 CS:GO Gameplay