December 19, 2011

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Beta Review

Ah yes, good old Counter-Strike.  No other shooter series has been as popular and competative for as long as Counter-Strike has.  Well, as many of you know by now, Valve announced a new, long overdue, addition to the Counter-Strike series, Counter-Strike:Global Offensive.  Immediately so many rumors came out about the game and how true to Counter-Strike it would end up being and so on.  All anyone had were a few short videos showing some limited gameplay to stare at and formulate opinions on.  There were some details given out such as the fact that the game is being made for XBox and PS3 as well as PC, and that they want to make it console friendly to draw in a new crowd.  I think this definitely scared a lot of the old school CS players as so often when a PC classic goes to console PC gamers feel it gets dumbed down.


On a certainly positive note there is the fact that Valve is testing with top competitive players to try and make the game as true to CS and as competitively geared as they could.  Regardless, most of my fellow Counter-Strike players expected it to be a further bastardization of the series; as we all know CS players are generally a pessimistic bunch.  Well some time passed, rumors ran rampant, and a closed beta was finally announced for October 2011 with keys being given out at special events like PAX.  I was unable to attend any such events but I did weasel my way into getting a key via good ole’ EBay.


October came and at the very end of the month they announced that the beta was delayed to work in input from pro players alpha testing the game stating, “They gave us a lot of feedback on things we should get in the game before we release it, otherwise we’re going to be getting a lot of bug reports or a lot of feedback and it would just be redundant.”  They also went on to say, “The closed beta will gradually expand to include more and more players, until “by the end of it, everyone will be playing the game. It will be the released game that you’re playing and then at some point we’ll say, ‘OK we’re going to officially release it.’ We have no mandate from anybody of when we have to ship this. So we’re more than happy to just keep working on this until it’s ready to ship.”  This can be interpreted as good and bad.  Good in the sense they are going to put a lot of time into polishing it to make sure it is right … Bad because if you dont have a beta key you are stuck wondering, “When will the beta open up so I can play damnit?!”


Well finally, November 30, 2011 the beta was released and as a diehard CS fan I have been all over it.  The beta currently is a limited build missing some functionality, maps, and weapons.  Currently the only two maps that we have to play are the classic bomb defusal maps de_dust and de_dust2.  As was previewed de_dust has been modified a bit to balance out the gameplay such as changing up the underpass, adding a staircase to get ontop of it, and a few other things.  De_dust2 on the other hand is pretty much the same exact layout.  For those of you who are not terribly familiar with the Counter-Strike series Counter-Strike is a First Person Shooter that began over 10 years ago on PC.  The gameplay is simple objective based Counter Terrorist vs Terrorist scenarios.  The basic and most popular map type is bomb defusal.  The terrorist objective is to get to one of two points on the map and plant a bomb and then defend it until it blows up with the Counter Terrorist trying to either eliminate all of the Terrorist or defuse the bomb.  The other main map type are hostage rescue maps.  The terrorists have hostages they must defend as the Counter Terrorists objectives are to get in and escort the hostages to rescue points in the map.  Counter-Strike has more simplistic mechanics overall than Call of Duty of Battlefield.  There are no iron sights, or any zoom for that matter, outside of scoped rifles.  There is no sprint.  Running is the standard move speed and walking is used to conceal ones movement in contrast to many newer shooters that allow you to sprint.  The simpler mechanics speed up gameplay and make the game much more reaction based requiring real twitchy reflex shots and accuracy to be successful rather than positioning and shot setup which is common amongst most newer console shooters.  They did stay true to Counter Strike and keep the mechanics in Global Offensive the same as the previous iterations.  Had they changed these aspects the game truly wouldn’t be Counter-Strike.


Many other game modes also exist as the CS community has always been big into making mods for the game and some of the modded game types that were extremely popular are supposed to be offical game modes in the new Global Offensive.  One that has been confirmed is GunGame.  It is a team elimination game where the object is to get one kill with each gun in the game before anyone else in the server does.  This has been an extremely popular mod for Counter-Strike for years and is going to receive official support in Global Offensive.


– Written by Aaron R


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