Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review

by on August 29, 2012

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive ReviewGame: Counter Strike: Global Offensive

Developer: Valve Corporation/Hidden Path Entertainment

Publisher: Valve Corporation

Available on: Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, Windows PC, Mac (Reviewed on Windows PC)

My squad comes to the first fork in the map. Here we must make a surprisingly crucial decision: Left? Right? Split up?

We’re forced to guess based on trends set by the other team. We opt to split up, hoping to surround them; normally a valid tactic on Dust. This time, however, half of our team is confronted with the full force of theirs before we’re even close to a rendezvous. We shouldn’t have lingered at that fork.

With a degree of luck, I manage to eliminate one of them —a rare feat for me— but not before he spills a portion of his clip into my abdomen. With 20HP left of my original 100, I’m significantly less likely to be as lucky on my next encounter.

So I die and I watch.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive - Screenshot 1

This is  common place for me. As a reviewer, I was forced me to invest a substantial amount of game time to experience a paltry sample of play time. After all, you can’t properly review a game in spectator mode. It also forced me to get better at the game. I stopped running, I started crouching and I began to shoot in short controlled bursts. I still suck, but I’m OK with that.

In fact, all new players will suck for a while, and this time it will be because of a gap in skill and not the accumulation of high-end weapons like you’ll see in a lot of modern day shooters.

You see, each match starts with everyone on a level playing field. Each kill you get, or objective you complete, from there nets you some cash to spend on better guns, or all-important Kevlar. In a game without replenishing HP, it’s always good to stay protected. It also forces players to communicate better and play more carefully.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive - Screenshot 2

Game modes boil down into essentially two types, with two variants of each, for a grand total of four game modes. Arms Race and Demolition will feel a lot like Gun Game from Black Ops, which was fashioned after a mod for the original Counter-Strike (which, itself, was a mod of Half-Life.) In the former, players compete to be the first player to get a kill with every weapon. Each kill brings you one gun further up the ladder, culminating at the golden knife. Demolition is the same concept, except with the addition of teams and objectives.

Classic Casual and Classic Competitive are more akin to Search and Destroy (I apologize for the Call of Duty comparisons but they’re effective.) Players join either the terrorists or the counter-terrorists and attempt to complete objectives with a paltry one life each. Each kill you get starts a rush as you make the round safer for your team by eliminating the opposition.

Graphics and sound are up to par on the PC version, which is about all I can say in that regard. It meets expectations without upping the bar, which is fine; especially at the relatively low price point that the game is given.

Sound design ends up being especially important. The better players fine tune their senses and are always listening for the enemy running through the grass or sloshing through the water so they’ll be facing the right direction when they round their cover.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive - Screenshot 3

The guns feel properly powerful and sound equally so. The kickback on each is fitting and any gun you choose to use will require a bit of getting used to in order to master. Strangely, iron sights are still MIA.

VERDICT: Global Offensive is Counter-Strike in its truest form, which is a breath of fresh air in a genre that has mostly stagnated over the last decade. Fewer twitch actions mean that every action you do take has more value. It’s amazing what some small gameplay changes can do for a game. Especially when you consider that, more or less, Counter-Strike isn’t all that different from other shooters; on the surface at least.

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