I’d imagine that if you were ever a Counter-Strike fanboy, you are already happily shooting people as well as having your face shot off in the latest iteration of Counter-Strike. What sort of FPS Sourcery have the magical Valve studio released? Same game, different look? Predominantly yes, but for a mere $15, the age old addictive FPS multiplayer action with new tweaks, weapons and such can be yours.
Firstly, this is no brand spanking new game, and I know many people may frown upon this. Valve have taken the age old formula of Counter Terrorists Vs Terrorists and merely given the game a facelift. The graphical leap isn’t truly astounding, but I suppose if you had to have Global Offensive (CSGO) lined up on a screen next to the older Counter-Strike Source (CSS) iteration, then differences could be seen and picked out.
“OMG but people rage about each new Call Of Duty game being the same as the one before with no innovation” I hear you yelling at your screen now. This is perfectly valid, CSGO really is just an updated game over the last. The main difference here though is that CSS was released way back in 2004 when you were but a little tyke running around outside. An updated game isn’t unwelcome, and the fact remains that Valve chose to charge a measly $15 instead of a premium $60; plus they don’t plan on charging $40 for the next few map packs… oh and $30 for a subscription to an elite service just for the lol’s. I’m pretty sure that people would have still bought the game even if it was double or triple its current price. I know I would have.
As far as technical game mechanics go, what’s really changed? Maps have all pretty much received balance changes. They are subtle, but they make a huge difference. Most notably is that of the classic De_Dust. This map tends to favour CT’s, but with some small changes (such as the simple addition of a makeshift bridge and an added staircase), it really does seem to give the Terrorists a fighting chance.
Do the guns fire the same? Do teamies still choose to blind you via many a poorly thrown flashbang? The latter holds true, but as for the core game mechanics, I’m afraid that I am not pro enough to truly know if spray patterns, recoil, etc really differ to that of Source. I can tell you that the old weapons all feel similar to the way they did in CSS, but their sounds, look and animation have changed. Rifle selection has remained the same, but a couple of new weapons have been thrown into the mix.
Since I can remember, I have always favoured the SMG’s in any Counter-Strike. I have no time for this “pro” aiming and shooting with skill. I really enjoy running into battle yelling “YOLO”, but my age old favourite SMG (the MP5) didn’t seem to make the cut for this game, something that had me rocking back and forth in the corner of a room in depression yelling “OH NO”. After much sulking, I tried out some of the newer weapons, and I’ve never looked back. There is a huge variety and something that everybody will love to use. Fancy new tactical grenades also make an appearance, most notably the Molotov Cocktail/Incendiary grenade. Assuming such a grenade is allowed in a pro tournament, I think it would really open up some interesting avenues for new strategies.
“But dude! I don’t even know how to play an FPS! Won’t the professionals and elitists eat me for all three meals of the day?” Yes. They probably will. Valve have tried to sort this out by means of separate game servers. You can choose to play on a casual or normal server. Casual servers always have a player starting out with full armour, helmet, as well as defusal kit (if you are a CT). A saving grace is that there is no friendly fire damage, something that I have seen spark many a violent swearing sessions and such in prior games. Feel free to shoot your ally in the face a couple of times if you need to get your aim straight.
The only problem that comes to mind is that some of the really amazing professional players choose to play on these casual servers too. Sure, I’m used to it because I played CSS for years and I know some players can pull off the unimaginable. However, I can only imagine the feeling of rage a new player experiences when he has died a hundred times before he has even seen his enemy. “Let me just walk through this door…” *DIES* “Alright that sucked I think I’ll go this way…” *DIES* “OMG maybe I’m using the wrong weapon! I’ll just buy this…” *DIES*.
There are going to be those moments when you die all the time. A bunch of the screenshots I took turned out to be from others players perspectives because I spent much time being dead. Fear not, for you do get those moments when you seem untouchable and the every enemy drops at your feet, and that’s what makes any multiplayer FPS worth playing. Aim in this game is crucial, so enemies may have a reflex advantage over you. However, the tactical aspect of CS holds true. You can always have the edge if you play smart and as a team. Even in public games, some kind of teamwork always exists even if unintended.
The community is a mixed one. You get the really nice people who are more than willing to talk and offer help in game. Then you get those who seemingly wake up every morning just to vent and rage at the community. Then you get those who will whine about
EVERYTHING certain aspects of the game. Why, in one game I heard this very statement (more or less in the same words) passed from one of my teamies after being killed by an enemy; “I can’t believe he is using that gun, It’s not even allowed in the pro tournaments!” Well, considering the guns are there, I don’t see why people shouldn’t use them. The AWP will always be around, as well as those annoying automatic sniper rifles. Some people really aren’t interested in playing professionally, so every weapon will be used regardless.
Annoying weapons aside, many other niggles still exist. CS is well known for camping tactics (in a legit sense). It makes sense for a CT to camp a bomb site, because a terrorists needs to penetrate the defences and plant the bomb. Frustration does not even begin to encompass the feeling all the dead players get when two people are camping on opposite sides of the map. Dagnabbit terrorists, man up and go plant the frigging bomb! Camper Strike: Solo Defensive is the name that often fits these surprisingly often occurrences.
If bomb planting/defending/hostages/excessive camping isn’t your thing, Gun Game has been optimised and plays out much the same as it always has. Frantic running and killing, deathmatch style! The key difference is that everybody starts out with the lowest tier weapon, and they progress up the weapon ladder with each kill they get. It’s extremely enjoyable, but I can only handle small doses of it.
Even with the above, you may be still second guessing parting with your money. Keep in mind that local modded servers should come about over time. The oddly addictive surf maps should be up soon enough, and a good few aim map servers are already running. Personally, I’m hoping that a couple of zombie mod servers go up soon (I’m looking at you, local ISP’s!)
Granted, there is very little innovation; a couple of optimizations, some new additions, and an overhauled look, but the game remains addictive as ever. There is no single player here and any satisfaction you receive will come from seeing yourself get better and better. If you’re a fan of Counter-Strike, there is no excuse for overlooking this game. Some CSS veterans dislike it, but I honestly think it’s well worth the time and cheap enough to risk trying it. If you have no idea what the hell Counter Strike it, $15 is low enough a gamble to find out for yourself. Take my advice, try it out. You may be surprised, or even become pleasantly addicted.
[Reviewed on PC, played on WTFHAX difficulty]