"An Old-School Counter"
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest title in the Counter-Strike series by Valve and Hidden Path Entertainment. Being the first game in the series to release simultaneously on four platforms, the online title is a mix of old and new content, pulling in newcomers and longtime fans alike.
Being one of the first deathmatch-only titles, Counter-Strike plays pretty much by the book, because it is the book. Players are separated in teams of two, terrorists and counter-terrorists, as they attempt to plant and detonate or diffuse a bomb. Matches are played in extremely short rounds that end when all the players on one team are dead or the bomb is diffused or explodes.
While many of the similarities to other multiplayer FPS titles are there and the gameplay is solid, there is a wicked learning curve due in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive to the legacy of the series. Upon starting a game, I was immediately thrown into the middle of a match where everyone seemed over-powered. Players are able to buy guns and gear, but only at the beginning of a round, making players play the game for a while before they know what suits them. Sure, the game offers a shooting range to play with all of the guns, but that shooting range is a situation that won't exist in an actual match. What should have been covered and what would have set the game apart would have been something explaining the various modes and quirks of the game's engine.
In addition to the main mode described above, called Bomb Refusal, the title offers series staple Hostage Rescue, a mode that places the Counter-Terrorist team as the aggressor as they attempt to rescue a hostage from the Terrorist team. New to Global Offensive are modes where the objective is to get kills with all weapons, collectively called Arsenal mode. Within Arsenal mode, Arms race is a deathmatch where players must get one kill with each weapon out of a predetermined set, while Demolition challenges each player to win with a set of weapons that get weaker as the round goes on.
Overall gameplay speed in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is a bit slower than what I expected it to be. With the title being from Valve, the title feels like a slower, more grounded version of Left 4 Dead. Although the button configuration can be switched, the default scheme leaves a lot to be desired for someone using a controller and reveals the game's PC origins. Additionally, there is no ability to run or move faster, unless you've equiped the knife, something that shouldn't be in a shooter in 2012; also, as in a lot of FPS titles, the Jump button doesn't seem to have true purpose.
As I continued playing the game, things slowly started clicking, although my team covered me more than I covered them, and many of my kills felt like they were by accident rather than skill. What was also odd is the secondary weapon system, in which you pick up weapons after simply running over them and you keep them after respawning; they are discarded when you're out of ammo. This is about the only trait of the game that doesn't force players to really think about what they're doing, with things such as melee being something that has to be committed to.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive plays well and is available on many platforms, but it is pretty much a PC-centric title that seems aimed at a specific audience. There isn't a lot in the game that feels tailored to the console experience, which is arguably the reason why the title was released in the first place. With other FPS titles available, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is in a weird spot: it's better than other PC to console shooters such as Quake Live and Nexuiz, but there isn't enough of a hook the pull players away from Call of Duty.
GameDynamo's Score for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (PS3)
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