Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Review
We decided to review one of the most popular FPS of all times and looked back to its beginnings and where it is now in 2020.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, also known as CS:GO, is a first-person multiplayer shooter (FPS) developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and publisher Valve. The title was released in 2012 for Windows, MacOS, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, while a Linux version was released in 2014.
How it began
Hidden Path Entertainment, an American company that a year later was going to develop Age of Empires II: HD Edition, began working on this game with the idea that it would only be a port of Counter-Strike: Source for consoles. Valve, the company from Washington known for classic games like Half-Life, Left 4 Dead 2, and Portal, among others, took advantage of this initiative to turn this adaptation into a completely new title. As the fourth installment in the Counter-Strike saga (with Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, and the previously mentioned Counter-Strike: Source as its predecessors), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive was born.
Prior to its release, CS:GO debuted on PAX Prime 2011 and then was featured in Steam, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live virtual stores. Despite starting at a cost of €10.99, in 2018 it was announced as Free-To-Play, so its number of players quickly increased from 20 to 45 million.
Accepted by the community
The title was very well received by critics, where it received an average score of 9/10 points and quickly became one of the games with the largest recurring player base on Steam. On the other hand, the reviewers appreciated the great fidelity that it possessed with respect to its previous release while affirming that it is an improved and much more polished version.
A known formula
The highest and lowest point of this title is in the gameplay. Far from reinventing itself throughout the sequels, Counter-Strike is known for being very conservative on the creative side. The title again refuses to renew the maps, weapons, and main gameplay, where despite some changes, it still feels like an improved version of the original Counter-Strike.
On the other hand, the title doesn't need to be a breakaway from the original product: the players are very attached to the original product and leave aside any adhesion that the developers might add. On the other hand, this release has several game modes. It is separated by the sections of War Games, Casual, Deathmatch, and Competitive.
What are the different game modes in CSGO?
In the War Games table, you can find the modes Arm Race, Demolition, The Flying Scoutsman, and Danger Zone. The first one is a mode very similar to the classic gun-game, where the player must obtain frags with different weapons that the game gives him. Demolition is the same as the previous mode but in rounds and with the option of planting and defusing bombs. The Flying Scoutsman grants less gravity and deactivates the in-game store, so only static weapons are used. And finally, Danger Zone is a Battle Royale that allows 16 to 18 players to duel against each other.
The casual gameplay features bomb disposal and hostage rescue modes, already well known to the saga's oldest fans. Also, the Deathmatch option puts users in a 10-minute duel in which, with the goal of killing enemies and chickens, whoever gets the most points after this period of time will be the winner. There is no doubt that the most popular and important game mode is Competitive. With various strategies and the obligation to work as a team, the players previously divided into ranks to facilitate matchmaking begin the game against other users at a similar level.
Teams of 5 players per side are formed with a game that has 30 rounds to decide the winner. With 15 of them on the side of the terrorists and the other 15 on the side of the counter-terrorists, the first team to win 16 rounds is victorious. Unlike its predecessors, a major new feature of CS:GO is the use of some real weapon names and models. Among the repertoire of classic weapons and others exclusive to this title, are 8 pistols, 6 heavy weapons, 10 rifles, 7 machine guns and 6 different types of grenades, making a total of 37 usable weapons.
On the other hand, players also have protective equipment, where you can buy bulletproof vests, helmets, personal defense weapons and weapon deactivation kits or hostage rescue.
A new brush for the present and a promise for the future
Although realism was never the strongest point in the saga, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive received a huge improvement in graphics compared to its predecessor. Both games use the Source engine, also used for Half-Life 2, but the last one with a much more refined version that is constantly updated. In this case, the colors of the newest title are muted, the shadow takes a much more important role and the weapons and buildings move away from the exaggerated textures with semi-cartoonish colors that starred the Counter-Strike: Source. On the other hand, the title lags far behind its contemporaries. Battlefield V, for example, uses the Frostbite 3 graphic engine, where the realism and fluidity of the game leave the Valve delivery in a bad way. In any case, the outlook is positive. With the recent arrival of Source 2 and its more than successful test with Half-Life: Alyx, the developers of the title announced that it will soon be implemented in CSGO.
The perfect way to link all the good and bad with the game is through the maps. The title, far from innovating in this matter or encouraging to think outside the box, feels comfortable recycling over and over again the same maps. The constant integration of old scenarios opaques any adhesion that Valve wishes to make, with the exception of a few chosen ones. At the same time, this is also an achievement for the developers, who were able to constantly improve and update these old maps that even come from Counter-Strike 1.5.Also, this trend of choosing re-editions of old over new maps can be seen at a competitive level. In this case, the map pool is made up of 7 scenarios, where 5 are classic (Nuke, Inferno, Dust2, Train and Vertigo) and there are only 2 new ones (Mirage and Overpass).
Finally, it is also worth noting that the Steam Workshop option allows users to create their own maps. This opens up endless new possibilities for players to experience new scenarios without relying on Valve to develop one that is interesting to the community.
Regarding the servers, the title started out with small problems that prevented them from coming to the market sooner. When they corrected them and saw that the game was not enough to solve the growing ping problems that were happening in Latin America, the brand decided to expand its servers from America and Europe and bring them to Brazil as well, in order to stabilize ping even more and make other players part of the experience. Another important factor is that the use of dedicated servers is encouraged. This entry has matchmaking support that allows community members to create their own maps and game modes for private and public use.
Taking into account that it was mentioned before that Valve plans to add a new graphic engine, it is also worth noting that this is not something unusual in the community. Since its inception in 2012, the developers consistently add and improves on existing content. Firstly, the player is encouraged at all times to offer skins for their weapons as a reward for unique events or in various loot boxes that the game offers. On the other hand, new game modes are also emerging which, if successful, such as the "Danger Zone" mode, are set to be played permanently.
Finally, there were several developments in the system of Source, where just look at gameplays comparing the graphics of the title in its release in 2012 and compare with the graphics of now, you can see a huge difference in detail.
In short, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is not an innovative video game or one that brings anything new to the table.
The recycling that the developers do is so extensive that it should not be considered as a new entry in the saga, but as a remake of the first to which they added a few maps and game modes to justify its existence. With this out of the way, CS:GO is really a great game. For its conception, Valve managed to mix the melancholy of classic players and bring them to the new era. Although the maps and weapons are familiar and the graphics are more of the same, certainly the strategy and approach changes, so no matter how repetitive the saga is, somehow it never gets boring, it constantly renews itself, and with the updates to come, it's going to feel fresher than ever.