Counter Strike: Global Offensive Review

Counter Strike is one of the most beloved multiplayer shooters on the PC, with a large loyal fan base. This year Valve along with developers Hidden Path Entertainment are bringing Counter Strike to current generation consoles, with Counter Strike: Global Offensive. Hidden Path has been able to improve the graphical elements of the original Source product, along with a variety of weapon and game mode additions. Counter Strike’s original formula shines through, providing the throwback gameplay experience for series veterans. However the lack of innovation and variety holds Global Offensive down, leaving a game that though may provide fun feels mechanically outdated.

Though my experiences with Counter Strike Source were limited, Counter Strike: Global Offensive is an online multiplayer shooter at heart, with no single player campaign available almost all your time will be spent online. The ability to practice your skills offline in bot matches is greatly appreciated for new players to the series. The addition of bots also works well; never will you be left in a 3 on 1 skirmish with any empty spots on the team taken by bots. These bots will drop out as soon as new players are added, meaning this doesn’t hinder your chances of joining a game. Though you will appreciate the strong AI competition, Bot-Brandon got way more kills against me then he should have. Sadly there is no option for two player split screen matches, so swapping the controller will be the only option for local competition.

This isn’t your typical modern-day shooter, there are definitely similarities but this game will typically please another crowd. One of the main differences is the lack of iron sights, meaning the ability to zoom down your weapon’s sights to be able to have a better aim and more of an idea where your shot will end up. GO does allow you to zoom down sniper rifles and certain weapons with scopes, the majority of weapons are only guided by small cross-hairs on the screen.

This fundamentally changes the way you play, personally it seems like this mechanic was omitted to make the game a tense experience, making every bullet count. Though in reality, it turns many gun fights into a battle of “Bullet-Spray”.  A one-on-One gun fight seems to be won by those who typically spray the first bullets, rather than outright skill. However the feeling of chaining three or four miraculous headshots together satisfies, it’s few and far between as you will be gunned down in a shower of bullets that would make Tony Montana proud.

Unique to the PlayStation 3 there are three methods of playing, wireless controller, PlayStation Move/Sharpshooter and keyboard and mouse. PC fans should be excited about this inclusion, since now the transition should be as easy as waking up in the morning (Wait, that’s not that easy…). This option however is not added to the Xbox 360 version of the game, so depending how you want to play GO your choices should be fairly clear.

The buying screen before a Classic Casual match

The console versions themselves are quite similar; with both providing great servers, apart from a few disconnections on Sony’s platform. The game runs well, with almost no texture or frame rate issues (Apart from the aforementioned disconnection), the button scheme does feel odd on the PlayStation controller. With R1 being used to fire, R2 to turn 180 degrees, L1 to switch to knife and L2 for crouching. This layout was hard to get my head around, might have just been a problem for me, but the default scheme on 360 made me feel at home.

GO offers four multiplayer modes Classic Casual which allows you to gain money after each round to buy bigger and better weapons, Classic Competitive which is quite similar to Casual though you are able to buy armour upgrades and Demolition which has one team planting a bomb and the other set out to defuse. All 3 modes are seen in most shooters these days, but CS is able to add their own unique blend that makes the mode feel more exciting, if you die you lose the weapons you have purchased that round. So it is always best to try to stay alive, besting your competitors. Demolition is a lot of fun, each game is best of 20 rounds but these rounds are fast and sharp, you will lose plenty of hours without realizing.

NOW I can zoom ;)

The standout mode for me however is Arms Race; this mode can be compared to Call of Duty’s Gun Game. You start off with a predetermined weapon and then work your way through 25 other guns, gaining a kill with each weapon unlocks the next weapon. Once all 26 are complete you are given a gold knife, scoring a kill with this wins you the match. This mode becomes very intense and the ever-present leaderboard at the top of the screen urges you to push harder, scoring 3 quick kills can change the tide of any Arms Race match; this makes for a fever pitched adrenaline rush.

One of the key factors a game needs to be successful, especially online shooters, is longevity. Sadly this is where I feel Counter Strike GO is at its weakest, with only 4 variables in games modes, a small selection of maps (2 on my favourite mode Arms Race) and a less than enthralling awards system. There are no upgrades to purchase, no levels to earn or abilities to unlock, all you are given is a set of awards.

These awards could be something trivial such as “Earn 25 kills with a Desert Eagle” to “Earn $50,000,000”, but nothing really happens once you do them. Once complete nothing happens, it now acknowledges you have completed the challenge, but this system gives you no incentive to hunt down every challenge and continue playing.

Conclusion

Counter Strike: Global Offensive sets itself apart from your typical modern shooter; however the lack of zoom will prove hit or miss for many. Those that stick through will be able to enjoy some fast paced online action, which is impressively shown at its best during Arms Race. The lack of split screen multiplayer and incentives hurt the longevity of the title, but the name alone should be able to keep this community going for years to come.

Hidden Path have done a great job for the series, lack of content keeps this from being a true runaway multiplayer hit.

Positives

  • Fun, fast paced gameplay
  • Addition of bots
  • Arms Race
  • Unique

Negatives

  • No split-screen
  • Small amount of maps
  • Lack of incentive to keep playing

Score: 7.5/10

Jamie Briggs looks after Analog Addiction where you can find all his latest reviews, interviews and features and also like them on Facebook. Also follow his daily life on Twitter @Jamierock50 and his videos on YouTube.

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10 thoughts on “Counter Strike: Global Offensive Review

  1. You couldn’t aim down iron sights in Source and before CS so they’ve stuck with tradition which I enjoy and set themselves apart from all other shooter style games. Good thing done.

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    • I wrote this awhile ago so I cannot remember exactly what I said, but I know that is how CS plays. I was stating that it does feel old in comparison, just the aiming down the sights is such a better method, yet they steer clear to make the game more “hardcore”. This is definitely not the way every gamer will like to play, thus it is a deal breaker for many.

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  2. Pingback: Counter Strike: Global Offensive Review (Second Opinions) « Analog Addiction

  3. Nice review. Sounds cool. Some different stuff from the usual shooter but doesn’t sound like something players will want to play for a couple of weeks.

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    • I think hardcore CS players will, not sure if they will make the jump to consoles though since it is on PC. But I can see it getting a cult following, especially if they keep it updated with free DLC as Valve does. Thanks for reading mate

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  4. Pingback: Counter Strike: Global Offensive Review - Blog by Jamiemad66 - IGN

  5. Even though im now a PC player, i think if i get this i’ll pick it up on PS3 because i feel like i will be playing against people with a similar skill level, because it feels like everyone one on PC will already be fans of CS: source and will just destroy me.

    oh and good review

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    • Thanks Ausman, if that is your real name ;) Yeah I found I started to dominate people…Especially on Arms Race, very fun.

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  6. Interesting game. I play from time to time with my colleagues at my high-school a bit of old-school CS when our informatics teacher is missing hahaha. Having some fun indeed. Might pick this up eventually. Looks fun and simple though I hope a splitscreen feature will be brought with an update sometimes in the near future + more maps of course. If Valve will keep supporting this one then the replay value might indeed be higher.

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    • I would assume that they would add it in, many people have asked for it from what I have seen. As for maps, at least the addition of all the maps being used for all game modes, I think that would help. fingers crossed for more maps.

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