Those words haunt me like an unyielding nightmare. Missing the hype train for the original counter-strike as a young lad, I never could understand everyones fascination with the game. Why should I bother playing a highly competitive game with rounds lasting only a couple of minutes that lacks respawns, when I could hop around sprawling levels firing rockets and dodging gibs flying every which way? The naive days of my earlier years are gone, and after sitting down and playing three straight hours of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, I finally understand the addictive nature that goes hand-in-hand with the competitive gameplay.
Whether I was completely dominating a team by killing three or four of the five person team myself or being the sole survivor trying to beat the odds; the tension and adrenaline kept the blood pumping through my veins at an unspeakable pace. Maybe it is being the last one alive knowing that your entire team is barking into their headsets and judging your every move – until you choke and make a wrong move – and the flooding of curses and noob references come pouring into your ears as the iconic “Terrorists Win!” appears on screen.
For the ill informed Global Offensive continues the legacy of Counter-Strike as more of a re-release than a sequel or remake. There is no drawn out cliche story to follow, just a simple terrorists vs counter-terrorists match against bots or other players online. There is no reason why the terrorist are planting bombs or are holding a bunch of hostages; they just are. It doesn’t matter that one of the hostages’ name is John and he may or may not be the CEO of the office building that he is being held in, it just doesn’t matter. Now where was I?
Classic CS is split into two different modes: Casual and Competitive. The former being a perfect start for newcomers to the series with friendly fire turned off. The latter however increases the competitive factor of the game as you must be cautious not to run into a teammates line of fire or accidentally fire a couple rounds as I round a corner with my itchy trigger finger. I mean…Just be warned other players can start a vote to kick you from the match at any point, so be careful about exacting payback on someone that “accidentally” killed you at the onset of a match.
As you play, you earn money depending on your actions as well as if your side wins or loses a round. At the start of each round the money can be used to purchase new weapons or new equipment such as grenades and body armor. If you succomb to your wounds in a round, you will start the next round with only the starting handgun and have to rebuy everything once more.
I do appload Valve and developer Hidden Path Entertainment for not changing the feel of Counter-Strike. Global Offensive plays as one would expect Counter-Strike to play. They did not change the formula to resemble modern day shooters that focus on duplicating the success of Call of Duty with annoying perks and unlocks. The Source engine who just turned the big eight this summer still shines through today with improved lighting effects, textures and character models.
With eight old maps and eight new maps spread across the two new modes, the game simly doesn’t feel stale even after quite a few matches. Based on the most popular mods on the PC, Arms Race tasks players with getting one kill with each of the 26 weapons. With every kill you progress up the ladder until you reach the last kill with the golden knife. Demolition plays out almost like the Classic CS game mode, but players are rewarded with weapons with each kill instead of buying them outright.
The new modes can be a welcome distraction, but Classic Counter-Strike is what keeps people playing this game. The game isn’t for everything, as teamwork is a necessity here more than any other title. I can’t get enough of CS now thanks to Global Offensive. They have turned a once naive little boy that despised the title to a newcomer that can not put the game down. PlayStation 3 owners should be happy to know that CS:GO supports mouse and keyboard controls as well as the PlayStation Move. The Xbox 360 does not support any additional control methods.
Note: The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.