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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