Monday, August 27, 2012

My Thoughts On - Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

The original Counter-Strike, which started out as a mod for the original Half-Life, is a game that is synonymous with PC gaming itself.; It is regarded by many to be the most popular PC action title ever. The main addictive formula has changed very little over its 12 year life span, and really, that's not a bad thing. The game revolves around a series of intensely competitive rounds, which pits a pits a team of terrorists (T) against a team of counter-terrorists (CT), where each round is won by either completing an objective, or eliminating the opposing team. You are given a monetary reward with a win, loss (obviously significantly less), kill, or completing an objective, which you can then use to purchase new guns and equipment (such as grenades, a taser, or body armor) to use in the next round. 

The series has seen a couple different entries, such as Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Source, and the most recent addition, Global Offensive. Both the original Counter-Strike (or CS for short) and CS: Source (CS:S) have gained a religious-like following, and have both become a staple game in the competitive game scene. Global Offensive (GO for short) was the first major update/overhaul of the game since CS:S in 2004, boasting high resolution graphics, updated gameplay, more guns and equipment, and much more. Valve stated that they wanted to bring both followings together in one game, and they hoped that GO would be that game, but whether or not that worked for them is yet to be seen.

A comparison between an original CS map and the remake in CS:GO.
I myself, I guess, would be considered a CS:S migrant, even though I've only been playing CS for the past 2 or so years. Feelings have been mixed from what I can tell, and it might just be the fact that I'm relatively new to the series, but I feel like Valve took a step in the right direction with GO. If you have played Left 4 Dead, you've kind of gotten a feel for what CS:GO is like. The graphics look great, the models and animations are smooth, the gameplay is tight, and it is overall a great experience...unless you suck, like me. Jokes aside, it is still a fun experience, but this is not a game for someone who is new to shooters. Like any CS game, you've got the Alpha dogs running and gunning, executing ridiculous headshots and other kills, which can be frustrating. If you rage easily, this may not be the game for you.

There are some new additions to CS:GO, but if you aren't familiar with CS, I might as well do an overview. You are given 4 different game modes; Arms Race, Demolition, Casual Classic, and Competitive Classic. There are also to main missions players will experience in Casual and Competitive; Bomb Defusal (think Search and Destroy for Call of Duty) and Hostage Rescue. For the experienced CS players, the first two modes are spin-offs of the popular mod Gun Game, which rewards you with a different gun for each kill, either immediately (in Arms Race) or at the beginning of the next round (Demolition). Arms Race is pretty much a Team Deathmatch game with a Free For All vibe. What I mean is that even though you are split into the two teams, each player gets their own score for each kill, and whoever gets a knife kill (which is the last weapon you receive) wins the game for their team. Demolition is a bomb defusal game, where the T team are to plant a bomb at a bomb site, and it is the CT's job to stop them. Each time you get a kill, you are reward with a new gun or piece of equipment at the start of the next round. The rounds in Demolition or extremely short due to the smaller map sizes.

Molotovs Cocktail. One of the new, and fun, additions to the series.

Casual and Competitive Classic is where the meat of the game lies, though. Both game modes revolve around either hostage rescue or bomb defusal missions. In a hostage situation, the CTs must find the T's hostages and bring them back to safety. That, or kill the opposing team, whichever comes first (the same can be said for the bomb defusal missions). At the beginning of each round, you are given the opportunity to purchase weapons and equipment. In Casual, you are already given body armor and, if you are a CT, a bomb defusal kit (which speeds up the defusing process), unlike Competitive, where you must buy them yourself. The difference between the two, at least from what I can tell, is describe perfectly by their names. Casual is where you can find people trying out new weapons, strategies, and just having a decent time playing. Competitive is where the big dogs hang, so I wouldn't suggest trying that mode unless you are very confident in your skills.

CS:GO also brings in two new options for players who are new to the series; a Weapons Course tutorial, and AI Bots. The Weapons Course gives players an all-around idea of what they will experience in the game, so it's a must for new players. AI Bots are always welcome in First-person shooters, in my opinion, so it is nice to see them in CS:GO. After you finished your Weapons Course training, I suggest you play a couple rounds offline with AI Bots to get a better feel of the game, and what to kind of expect from actual players. Hell, I still play against bots every once in awhile just to feel better about myself. Bots will also show up in actual online games if there aren't enough people in the server to play.

Resting on the job?! This guy must be new here...
Now that you've gotten a good idea of what to expect in CS:GO, would I recommend it? Well, of course I would, but only if I'm not liable for anything you break while raging. It's a great reason to get back into CS, with great graphics, tightened controls, new weapons and more, there isn't a reason not to try this. I guess if I had to give some cons on the game, it would have to be mostly for the lack in maps for Arms Race, but the game more than makes up for it with all the other game types. I also feel like where I think and see my bullets go is not actually where they end up going. I've released whole clips of ammo into an enemy, only to be killed and to realize I did almost nothing to his health. Maybe I just suck that bad though. None of these cons are worth putting CS:GO down, and as always with Valve, the game will be continuously updated to fix bugs and issues. I've put 12 hours into the game as of this post, and I expect to put many more into it. If you are on the edge of buying it, I see no reason not to.

Leave your comments, concerns, and suggestions for future topics in the comment section below, and as always, thanks for reading, stay tuned, and stay sweet! :)

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