Eurogamer Expo 2011: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Hands-On Preview

by on September 28, 2011

It has been over seven years since we last had the chance to get excited about a new Counter Strike release. With the recent announcement about a special E-Sports release of CS, to be known as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, we just had to get some hands-on time during Eurogamer Expo.

It should be noted that this isn’t the much anticipated Counter-Strike 2. We still have no idea if or when we’ll ever see a CS2. Instead, CS: GO is a re-imagining of Counter-Strike: Source, the globally popular PC FPS. The key difference between the two is that CS: GO is going to be the first multi-platform release of Counter-Strike. That’s pretty hefty stuff!

We sat down to play CS: GO on the PlayStation 3, and at a first glance the game looks very impressive. It’s quite obviously using Valve’s Source engine, albeit modified and updated over the years, but the indistinguishable style is definitely present. There are new textures throughout, and brand new player models, which actually look fantastic.

The weapon purchase screen was a nice surprise. Being a roll-over, console-style menu actually worked really well in this case. The only niggle being the gun icons themselves, which I’d assume were merely place-holders for the time being, as the graphics were quite choppy.

On show at the Expo was a recreation of the original classic CS map, De_Dust. The flood of nostalgia didn’t improve our gameplay though, this is one odd game to get your head around. Here is the problem: Counter-Strike has always been a PC shooter. For over a decade gamers have competed professionally, in some of the most fast paced FPS combat you’ll ever see. Even thinking about translating that action over to consoles must have given Valve developers a headache.

The controls were slightly unusual for a PlayStation 3 FPS game, with left trigger for both crouch and aim simultaneously; right trigger for primary fire (as it should be!); circle felt like an odd choice for zooming the scope; right bumper cycled through the gun choices in order of primary, secondary, and knife; left bumper was reserved for grenades. It just didn’t quite work to the level that we’re used to. It’s the little things that don’t translate well, for example it’s difficult to play a twitch-based game with two separate aim buttons, one being a face button, and running with your knife out (which in all previous versions of CS, increases your run-speed) just isn’t an option when it takes two or three taps of a button to switch weapons.

CS: GO has that same Counter-Strike feel, but with a new look. Very similar to how CS: Source was on launch. The only concern is: Will it work on console? It’s possible that it could fill a gap in the market that we didn’t even realise existed, after all, it’s certainly not a Modern Warfare clone, and is nothing like Battlefield.

I’m looking forward to the PC Beta on Steam next month, and if it goes as well as expected, there will no doubt be a new lead FPS in the E-Sports field sometime next year.

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