Alert, gamer lot: if you are experiencing a sudden adrenaline rush after reading the title, don’t fret as this is what Counter-Strike is capable of doing! Let’s rewind back to 1999, the fateful day when Counter-Strike, the modification to Half-Life, was released.
Probably the most successful game modification till date, Counter-Strike development was subsequently supported by the (legendary!) Valve and resulted in a series of titles. However, none of the succeeding titles was able to achieve the same level of acceptance and following. Is this about to change?
Fast forward to August 2011. Counter-Strike Global Offensive was officially announced by Valve. I remember having a mixed feeling at that time. True, I was extremely excited about a new CS title from Valve but on the other hand, was quite expecting another half-polished title that lacked the fun of the original title.
Now, after participating in the famous Counter-Strike Global Offensive Beta, I can happily say that Valve has finally nailed it! Gentlemen, we have a new CS title that is as fun as the original and has perfected what Valve set out to do 10 years back. Let’s see how!
The Righteous Successor to CS
The idea behind Counter-Strike has always been the action that transpires between terrorists and counter terrorists. There are scenarios, locations, gunfights, bombs and team coordination, lots of team coordination. Instead of blindly copying the current generation shooters and war games (read Call of Spammers (COD) and Spamfield (Battlefield)), Valve sticks to the original game play and makes it tighter, more intense.
The end result is a game that you are going to enjoy, be it with friends or with random players from I-don’t-know-which-corner-of-the-Earth.
CS GO is the righteous successor to CS 1.6 in more ways than one. If I were to describe CS GO in a single line, I would call it CS 1.6 with lots of improvements and additions. The game not only looks and sounds good, it also plays better. During the Beta, I could see some problems with player models and bad lighting but that has been fixed in the subsequent updates.
CS GO retains all the classic maps and designs them in a better way, removing unwanted open spaces and giving it a current generation feel. The different places for cover have been improved, with some of them being more vulnerable to bullet hits than others.
The cosmetic changes to the game include graphical improvements and sound improvements. It is the Source Engine that makes the graphics look so breathtakingly beautiful. Not only do the player models appear more realistic, the guns look exceptionally well designed and modeled as well (So what do you need, besides a miracle? Neo: AK-47, a good-looking AK-47).
The sound is another place where the game shines. Except the competitive mode, all other modes employ background music that kicks into play when some tense moments crop up, a one versus one for instance. Overall, the cosmetic overhaul while retaining the game play gets major brownie points from me.
Another factor that is evident while playing the game at high pings is the lag compensation. Since the netcode of Source engine is so awesome, I did not face any trouble with bullet registry or lag at even 150ping. Well, what does that mean for an average gamer? It simply means you have more servers to play on and more people to play with and no limitation of ping.
So, What’s New?
Just so it does not look like a much-needed improvement to CS 1.6, Valve has included some new content and game modes in CS GO. And honestly, these new game modes have given me the most fun times in the CS GO Beta till now. First, the regular CS 1.6 gameplay has been divided into two parts, Classic Competitive and Classic Casual.
The Classic Competitive mode is set in a 5v5 format and is CS 1.6 in its full, competitive glory. The friendly fire is on, player models are solid, and you do not get armor by default. The Classic Casual mode, on the other hand, is meant for a casual game, with no friendly fire and free armor every round.
The new modes are classified under the tag of Arsenal and they are named as Arms Race and Demolition. Both these modes feature small maps and limitations on the weapons that you can use. In Arms Race, you are awarded a new weapon after each kill, with each weapon being harder than the previous one. The aim is to reach level 27 and score a kill with the golden knife that is awarded at level 26. Fancy sneaking up on an opponent and delivering that deadly stab on the back!
On the other hand, Demolition is team-based and the next, harder weapon is awarded when your team scores a win over the other team. The aim is to make use of all weapons and win ten rounds, each with a different weapon.
The weapon arsenal is another area where some changes have been made. The game now features some new pistols, SMGs and rifles, like Tec-9 and PP-Bizon, and has made some replacements. For instance, my beloved USP has been replaced by a P2000 and the all-favorite MP5 SMG has been replaced by MP7. Oh, my USP, you shall be fondly remembered!
I personally think Valve has done a great job with Counter-Strike Global Offensive. They have taken the right elements from CS 1.6 and CS: Source and concocted them together to make CS: GO.
The gameplay is reminiscent of 1.6 and the graphics are an improved version of Source. The new game modes add a fun side to the game and are definitely going to increase the fan base. In a nutshell, it is a near perfect game (just some glitches here and there) and I believe it is going to enjoy the same attention that 1.6 has enjoyed over the years.
If you have had the chance to participate in CS GO Beta, please share your experiences with us. Heated discussions about which CS version is best and arguments about the pros and cons are also welcome! Till then, happy gaming!