Wot I Think – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

By Tom Bramwell on August 23rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm.


Eurogamer’s grand high poobah Tom ‘Tom Bramwell’ Bramwell makes a welcome return to RPS to tell us all about the latest makeover of Valve’s undying multiplayer shooter Counter-Strike, which was was released to the world just yesterday.

Handsome and erudite readers of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I need to warn you that I am going to begin by discussing the console version of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. DO NOT BE ALARMED. I will stop doing this as quickly as possible. But it’s worth acknowledging its existence for a few reasons:

1) Without the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of CS GO, there would probably be no CS GO. And that would be a real shame, because this is my favourite take on Counter-Strike since CS 1.6 for Half-Life. It benefits from all the usability lessons Valve has quietly sat learning in its sprawling fortresses of secrecy in all the naughty years it hasn’t been making Half-Life 3. It’s superbly tuned, embellished and presented. It’s the new CS that PC gamers deserve, and yet it probably only exists because Valve noticed that there wasn’t a version of CS for the PS3 and Xbox 360, and wanted a larger audience to be able to experience the majesty of multiplayer arenas like Dust, Italy and, er, Dust 2.

2) The existence – and significance to Valve – of the console versions helps to explain why the only shipping maps for the core bomb defusal and hostage rescue ‘Classic’ modes are ones we already know: Dust, Dust 2, Italy, Office, Inferno, Train, Aztec and Nuke. And why Valve has installed a new radial menu system for buying weapons before each round that clearly only makes sense to someone sitting in front of the game clutching analogue sticks.

3) The console version only runs at 30 frames per second and has really annoying controller lag, meaning that everyone playing it is not having as much fun as we are. Given the audience I’m writing for, I thought this information might be widely appreciated.

So, does anyone need a Counter-Strike refresher course? Well, probably not, but you can’t be too careful. Counter-Strike in its purest form goes like this: teams of Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist players try to kill each other and/or fulfil an objective, which is either planting a bomb or rescuing hostages. There’s no respawning until the end of the current round and there’s no experience system to unlock perks or any of that crap. However, success (personal or shared) does reward you with money, which you spend buying up weapons, grenades and equipment at the start of each round. That’s it.

In CS GO, bomb defusal and hostage rescue modes can be played in ‘Casual’ and ‘Competitive’ modes. This isn’t really about skill level, because everyone involved is pretty decent in my experience – it’s more about the attitude of the players involved. In Competitive, you come to win. No messing. You get a long time at the start of each round to buy equipment, and once you die you only get first-person feeds of your team-mates’ activities to switch between, so there’s no hope of sharing sneaky enemy intel over voice comms. Kevlar and defuse kits need to be purchased. Games last a long time, over many, many rounds, and you get to play as both teams.

In Casual, you can horse around a bit more. Everyone gets kevlar and defuse kits for free, and once you die you can watch third-person chase-cams of team-mates and enemies. Matches don’t last as long, and you don’t get as much time to buy stuff pre-round – you’re probably expected to just hit F1 to auto-buy an average loadout. If you’re the sort of guy who likes to do the opposite of what the rest of your team is doing and go off looking for glory, you’re probably going to want to keep that on Casual servers. If you’re on a Competitive one and the guy with the bomb says Bomb Site A, get your ass to Bomb Site A.

This stuff is all great. Valve and Hidden Path have done a fine job of not cocking it up. Player movement, weapon behaviour, strategies and tactics – everything is in its right place. Running with the knife is faster! Crouching to shoot is more accurate! Playing CS GO is like getting home after a long trip and having the perfect bath. Just the right temperature, the light from the bulb above you given perfect radiance by the purple night outside the frosted-glass windows… Sorry, I drifted away for a second there.

Basically, CS GO gets the core Counter-Strike right, and core Counter-Strike is one of the best multiplayer FPS games ever made. It isn’t hyper-fast bouncy nonsense where you’re always exposed to at least a dozen different lines of sight like in Call of Duty, and it isn’t slow-paced and sprawling like Battlefield. There are moments of great excitement, tension, subtlety, bravado, lunacy and cowardice – often in the space of just a few minutes.

The graphical overhaul is enough to bring CS roughly into line with its modern contemporaries, without really threatening to top them, and where there are additions they are generally welcome. There’s a new staircase on Dust, for example, which reduces the risk for the Terrorist team if they decide to go down the ramp rather than through the palace (oh yeah, apparently it’s a palace now), but arguably rebalances the map for the better. And there are new grenades – the incendiary/Molotov cocktail and the decoy, which makes gun noises – which are fun. There’s also a new bit of equipment called the Zeus, which is the ultimate troll tool – you can only fire it once, at close quarters, but it kills in one hit…

What surprises me about CS GO, however, isn’t that it’s very good at not breaking what doesn’t need fixing, but more that it does such a very fine job of easing new or lapsed players into its core modes without patronising them. More than that, actually, it creates all sorts of new fun for old players who fancy a change of pace.

How does it do this? Four ways. There’s a Weapons Course tutorial (1) for the absolute basics (which in classic Valve fashion is actually quite funny and compelling), but more importantly there are now AI bots (2) and two new game modes, Arms Race (3) and Demolition (4). (Sorry about the numbers in brackets – just making sure I can count.)

So hey, Valve, the AI bots would have been pretty fucking welcome 10 years ago, guys. I used to run up £500-a-quarter phone bills playing Quake and CS on dialup, and while Quake gave me Reaper Bots, the idea of bots that could competently play Counter-Strike was science-fiction to rival your own bloody resonance cascade scenario. [To be fair, there were bots from CS:Z, and some community-made ones for 1.6 - Historical Ed.]

Not that I’m really complaining: these guys are so good that they often fill the gaps on incomplete human teams on public servers and nobody can tell the difference. One of them did manage to give away my position on Dust 2 the other day by throwing a flashbang round a corner when I was stalking some Norwegian dude called L!nk, but then he also saved my ass when the same Norwegian came running round the bend with a P90 machinegun, so…

The bots will be handy to newcomers, then, but the real revelation is Demolition mode and, to a lesser extent, Arms Race. These are derived from Gun Game, where you get a new weapon for each kill. Arms Race is a straight-up free-for-all, effectively, set on small, very open maps with constant respawning, and the first player to kill with every weapon wins. It’s fast-paced, super-violent and much more like Call of Duty than Counter-Strike. It also subtly introduces you to every weapon in the game in an entertaining way.

Demolition, however, I actually find myself playing more than the Classic modes. It’s bomb defusal, again, but set on much smaller custom-made maps where the two teams can engage one another within five seconds. Not only that, but it’s a kind of reverse Gun Game: you start off with an assault rifle (AK-47 or M4A4 depending on your attitude to freedom), then every time you register a kill you start the next round with a weaker weapon, until eventually you’re trying to rush someone with a manual-reload shotgun or pistol.

Again, it’s teaching you how to play the real Counter-Strike, and it’s giving you a crash course in all the guns. Forcing you to use different guns also forces you to consider different strategies. Maybe racing up the staircase on the Safehouse map to blast Terrorists in the face works well with an M4A4 or the P90, but it isn’t such a good idea when you’re holding a scout sniper rifle firing from the hip, so you back off and try going through a ground floor window, or maybe climbing the ladder leaning up against the garage round the side of the house, which gives you a commanding view of the back garden and in through the first-floor windows to where the Terrorists want to blow open a floor safe in the master bedroom.

Counter-Strike used to have this fearsome reputation for being impregnable to newcomers. That isn’t really true anyway – I’d argue that it’s much harder to get to the point where you consistently enjoy or make progress in COD or Battlefield, as good as those games are – but if anyone was in any doubt then Global Offensive really puts an end to it. Arms Race and Demolition are the perfect introduction or refresher course, and great fun in their own right, and the subtle distinction between Casual and Competitive Classic modes, along with the bots, ought to satisfy most of the people most of the time.

As must be obvious, it’s certainly satisfied me.

P.S. Seriously, run with the knife.

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142 Comments »

  1. Siimon says:

    Sold :]

    • El_MUERkO says:

      CS is a combination of map learning and twitch game-play, tactics… eh they’re in there, but twitch is king, I’ll leave this one to the youngsters. The teenagers can now play what the thirty something’s once played which is a good thing, but I’ll take my slowing reflexes and my terrible memory off to games like ARMA.

      • tripwired says:

        Good point. I used to be pretty good at CS and CS:S, but at the grand old age of 27 I think my reflexes simply aren’t quick enough to keep up with those of say, 16-20 year olds.

        • Heliocentric says:

          Its not the twitch, its the stamina, the game is the same. Constantly, unchangingly, I think the ideal player would be 4 years old as they can best be amused by simple repetition.

          *News story, RPS commenter suggests toddlers play game that glorifies terrorism and suggest its a way to make money, more at 11*

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          27? C’mon you’re in your prime!

          I was too slow to play CS effectively, but it was still fun. Only with friends, though. Was not fun on random public servers.

          This isn’t twitch like UT or anything, but yeah, you gotta be quick to be successful, but a slow-to-react player can help a team if he’s focused on supporting and helping. Well, until he’s dead.

          • Syra says:

            I used to play cs at quite a damn high level indeed (as a teen) if I may say so myself, but that was when I was young and sharp but at 25 with so many years of gaming behind me, horrible RSI and so on I really can’t twitch. 21 may have been my prime for such things?

            And yet still CS is much better than CoD and such as you place your crosshairs where you expect the enemies’ heads to pop up, not necessarily twitching to get there – it’s still slower and more tactical than any other shooter.

          • PodX140 says:

            I know there are chickens in multiple maps, but I’m not sure if italy is one of them. God they’re annoying and scary, I blew up a door thinking someone ran past due to a chicken.

      • hench says:

        Actually in proper competitive 5v5s twitch aiming is not that important since you’re mostly aware of where the opponents will be and you don’t aim where they wont be. Tactics, strategy and economy is much more important. Unfortunately this aspect of the game is not always shown properly when spectating pros playing since the camera is often in first person view so you can’t tell where all the players in both teams are going and what kind of strategies they are implementing. I think Valve should take a look into that and make it more enjoyable to spectate from top down perspective if they want GO to become a popular spectator e-sport title. It’s kinda like a football or ice hockey game, if you were to see from the players point of view the whole game, though it would be neat the first couple of minutes it would become quite tedious since you don’t get a full understanding on what’s going on on the field.

        But I digress. In public games with lots of people just running around on random twitch aiming is most important, I agree.

        • vodkarn says:

          Exactly this: When I used to play in CAL (yes, the low end), I’d use a FAR lower sensitivity for my mouse than in pub matches. The reason being with a team, you know 95% of the time where someone will come from. In pub servers, you have no idea who is covering what, so you need to constantly move and reposition.

      • Barnaby says:

        I have to disagree with the article. The level of competition isn’t as high as CS or 1.6. There are plenty of newbs. Just yesterday I went 24 and 4 in a casual pub without much difficulty. Although I’ve been playing CS since 1.6, I’ve never been very good at it.

        While it still can be relatively unforgiving at times, it’s much more accessible than the other versions of CS. It also seems like more servers are set to Casual mode than Competitive. Just thought I’d mention this.

      • Was Neurotic says:

        Well, I’m 39, and I’m the absolute suck at CS. Also at BF3, which is a shame because I owned at 1942 and BF2. Strangely though, I played UT 2k4 the other day and was top of the leaderboards for a good few hours. I’ve always put it down to a combination of age and changing (improving) game quality.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      One more day until my money comes in!

    • Baboonanza says:

      umnxras is a spam-bot. The link goes to a shop. Very convincing though.

      • Kasab says:

        We’re really in trouble once the spambots can emulate pun threads.

  2. Monchberter says:

    You’d think that CS:Go’s native support and rankings for pad (and Hydra) users and the forthcoming Big Screen Mode for Steam would mean that us HTPC owners would be well catered for. Unfortunately i’m yet to see any way to join a server with pad-only players on it. As we all know, against mouse and keys, there’s no competition (yes, I play GO on desktop as well).

    • RabidZombie says:

      Apparently, when the ELI ranking gets implemented, you’ll have different ranks for different controllers. Though given we were also promised splitscreen (on consoles), cross platform play and ELI ranking on launch, it remains to be seen if we’ll still get that. I think this is an overall better approach. Playing with someone with a keyboard and mouse is fine, if they are as good/bad as you with a controller.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        What about a 5000 DPI mouse vs. a 600 DPI mouse?

      • Monchberter says:

        Ranking for ‘controllers’ is in there but yes, it’s generic. What my peeve is, is that unless you’re able to filter servers by input method, then you’ve got a grossly uneven experience.

        Valve should be running controller only or Hydra only servers that only allow people using those methods to join so that they can actually have a decent on-line experience. Trying to compete with mouse and keys is a miserable experience.

        • Vandelay says:

          I don’t know, I would fancy my chances against an average M+K player whilst I was using a Hydra. Against a regular 360 or dual shock pad it would be almost as soul destroying for the poor thumb aimers.

          Having all controllers in the same ranking system does seem quite silly.

  3. Mr Monotone says:

    It’s the first shooter I’ve had any real fun with in a long time.

    It’s also the first PC shooter I have played since AVP 2 back in the day so I am so very bad at it, but it manages to be fun even when you are terrible at it. Which is a rare feat.

    • Siimon says:

      Even rarer in CS!

      Does the Xbox 360 wireless controller work well on the PC version? I wouldn’t mind using it when I’m casually slouching in my couch against some bots.. :)

      • Monchberter says:

        100% compatible, and it’s very very well tuned for the job. Bot only games are great and well balanced, but against human’s there’s no knowing whether you’ll be facing a pad or a M+K user.

  4. Kollega says:

    I think it’s really a bit of a shame that some people in RPS audience will indeed feel better because our console brethren are having trouble with the game. Even the RPS FAQ says “Games are games are games are games”, and i think that’s what everyone should keep in mind. Sure, some features of consoles (like closed-platform-ness) are bad for gaming, but it doesn’t mean we should condemn console players to death or something. Why not all be friends? The decent people who speak in normal-words and not streams of insults, at least.

    Also, TOM BRAMWELL ENCOURAGES GAMERS TO RUN WHILE HOLDING SHARP OBJECTS, BAN THIS SICK FILTH etc.

    • MuttersomeTaxicab says:

      Agreed. I actually picked this up on both the PS3 and the PC so I could do a bit of a comparison. I haven’t noticed much controller lag, though apparently jacking a mouse and keyboard into the PS3 results in a bit of lag. What I did find was that I felt like CS:GO on a console feels like a much more methodical experience. Maybe it’s because I’m shit on the PC and not particularly great at console shooters, but without the snap-to iron sighting, all the human players I encounter are way more cautious. So while there are certainly pitched firefights, I’m way more careful about creeping around the corner and keeping the crosshairs at head-level or roughly thereabouts. As a result, I can’t say I like either version more than the other, necessarily. They just inherently play a little differently, but in ways that are still engaging and not really frustrating.

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      It’s just nice to see that for once a pc game hasn’t been hampered by the console version and the fact that this time around it’s the console version that has problems is just delicious irony. I’m sure a lot of us own consoles themselves and wishes all games to be equal.

      Can we not once have our cake and eat it too?

      • Kollega says:

        No.

        :P

      • MonkeyShines says:

        Because the PC version is really spotless right? lel

      • anark10n says:

        isn’t it supposed to be “can’t eat your cake and still have it”? i don’t see what’s stopping you from eating your cake once you have it, where as once you eat it, you only techincally still have it …

        • PodX140 says:

          That’s what it means, but the correct saying is have your cake and eat it too.

        • Dozer says:

          I thought it was a tradition involving wedding cake. The couple saving some of the cake for the 25th anniversary or somesuch. You can’t save your cake for the anniversary if you eat all of it!

    • mondomau says:

      Hmm, I think you’re interpreting this a little too negatively – I suspect it’s more about the fact that the involvement of consoles in a game’s development usually means that PC gamers get the shaft with a crappy port or serious control issues, which is doubly galling when the game in question may have started out as a PC title.
      I think Mr Bramwell is pointing out that not only is that not true here, but the very reverse has happened. So we can all put down our pitchforks and take our fingers off the Caps key right now, thank you very much.

      • Kollega says:

        To you and the person above: i haven’t actually thought that it’s ironic (which it is), and i guess that makes it a little less PC-elitist. But my point about friendship still stands, i think. We, PC and console gamers, should stand toghether like one big family. One big, dysfunctional, overly-competitve family.

        • Kestilla says:

          We can’t though. I don’t care if someone plays a console, but it’s terrible when a game or franchise suffers because of the technology divide between the platforms, and how fiercely territorial console gamers become and how misrepresentative of the facts they become when you mention consoles are not economical and a real, good gaming PC can be had for cheap if you buy intelligently, like anything else.

          Consoles have traditionally been a pick up and go machine, which is still part of their appeal, fast dwindling due to hardware problems, online services, and the console’s transformation into a glorified PC. It’s understandable why a person wouldn’t want to get involved in the sometimes horribly complex world of PCs when they just want to play a game, but for those of us who know how to care for a PC, it’s terrible to think, without the PC’s modding capability, we would have been stuck with Skyrim’s awful UI because Bethesda took a console hammer to it.

          And so bitterness and heated arguments about how console ports are ruining our favorite hobby will continue until PCs and consoles are nearly indistinguishable.

          Then we can make Back-In-My-Day arguments.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Or until developers/publishers actively decide to treat each as their own thing, deserving of special treatment.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Yep! As a console and PC gamer I agree with this.
            Both are fun, but the PC suffers because of publishers’ focus on consoles, which are the kid-brother to PC in terms of technology. More like baby brother these days.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Because then we might get console germs? Ick!

      • Hoaxfish says:

        I had XPox 360 once, I was laid up for days

        • lionheart says:

          apparently if the xpox is really bad it causes a maroon circular rash, commonly known as the red ring of death.

          (plague references ftw)

    • Unaco says:

      Kollega, you have now been identified as an ENEMY OF PC GAMING!!

    • RockandGrohl says:

      I’m more than happy to get along with console “peasants” but it’s when and only when some ignorant fucktard comes along with a “PC gamers only care about Graphics” “PC has no good exclusives” “PC’s cost £2000 and you have to CONSTANTLY upgrade them”

      That’s when I grab my torch and pitchfork.

      • Milky1985 says:

        Or my personal favorite “you can do just as well with a controller in this FPS game as you would with a mouse and keyboard, you don’t need them”.

        Partially correct in some cases IF the game is designed properly for it, wrong in every other case.

        • Grim_22 says:

          Oh, please. This is just not true. What IS true is that you can turn around and adjust your aim faster with M + K, but saying it’s better? It’s a matter of skill with the instrument you’re using, adjusting to the restrictions that it has and using them to your advantage. Sure, if people were able to reach an absolute peak in skill when it comes to a certain game, then yes, a mouse and keyboard player would outclass a player with controller, assuming they’re both as skilled as is physically possible given the speed at which our brain can send signals to our body to account for reaction time and such.

          This, however, is not possible. There will always be someone that’s better than you, and what that person is using to control the game is irrelevant.

          • Gnoupi says:

            While I agree that someone very skilled with a controller will probably destroy a beginner with M+K… Let’s be honest:

            “What IS true is that you can turn around and adjust your aim faster with M + K”

            That’s like 3/4th of the gameplay!

        • Grape says:

          …you can turn around and adjust your aim faster with M + K

          Errr… yes. Which, in an FPS, is pretty much ALL YOU FUCKING DO.

      • Brun says:

        The upgrading thing isn’t even really true anymore since everything is designed to run on antiquated hardware (consoles). PCs got the constant upgrade reputation back when 3D graphics technology was evolving *very* rapidly. At this point we’ve started to hit diminishing returns on 3D graphics performance, and while there will always be room for improvement, the technological leaps necessary to make those improvements are substantially less than they were back in the early-to-mid 2000′s.

  5. deke913 says:

    I shall indeed purchase this game. But know that my wife shall be terribly vexed at you for causing this purchase. And I have no intention of taking the blame myself so good luck.

  6. iniudan says:

    Arms race and demolition does indeed make me more interested in it, but was never really a fan of CS, so not sure.

  7. Monchberter says:

    “Counter-Strike used to have this fearsome reputation for being impregnable to newcomers.”

    Hm, from my skirmishes so far the screeching pre teens and homophobic dolts have moved / grown up and the game is now full of elite old chaps with 15 years experience. I played a lot of CS:Source up until 2006, but frankly i’m finding that there’s far too many ludicrously skilled players out there. Best to get a party of friends who’ve never played it before together and discover it for yourselves, unless you like extremely negative K:D ratios.

  8. Ergates_Antius says:

    You’ve not answered the most important question: Does it still have an exploding turd in the toilet?

    • Astroman says:

      No, and the barrels don’t move when you shoot them ether. They actually did cock alot up but the $15 price makes it forgivable.

      • Joshua says:

        The non-moving barrels when shot might be a throwback to CS1.6, to fix an exploit where an ocassional player would shoot a barrel over the bomb (the bomb then clipping trough it), thus making the bomb rather hard to find, and when found, hard to actually try and defuse because of the barrel in the way.

  9. AndrewC says:

    ‘handsome’ is a gendered compliment, and we here in PC land are against all forms of discrimination, you console scum.

  10. MozzerV12 says:

    REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION: Are there chickens in CS_Italy? This was a grievous oversight in CS:Source and I even had assurances from Cliffe himself that CS:S would have chickens in italy!

    • tripwired says:

      I am pleased to confirm there are indeed chickens! They even explode in a satisfying cloud of feathers.

    • LaunchJC says:

      Think they went a bit overboard with the chickens, they’re everywhere.

    • chromeshelter says:

      they also run from you (telling the enemy that you are there if they can read the chicken signs well). fun++++

    • ZyloMarkIII says:

      I am also pleased to inform you that there are chickens in de_inferno as well.

  11. rapier17 says:

    “It isn’t hyper-fast bouncy nonsense”

    Really? Interesting to know, considering my experience of CS:GO is of people jumping around and hitting other players in the head with a spray of bullets mid-jump. It has happened a lot.

    To me it’s not bad, it’s not brilliant, feels like a timewarp back to 1999 really. It feels very limited and if I were to sum it up in a single word I’d say it is ‘Basic’. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the likes of OpFl/ArmA but this is not one I’ll be playing often in the future. On the flipside a friend of mine is having a whale of a time with it – just shows you can’t please everyone.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Mate, I’m going to try stay straight, but you cannot compare this game to OpFlash/ArmA, or even CoD/BF.
      This game has quiet intricacies built into it, that you only really get used to after 25+ hours of play.

      I would almost go so far to say that it’s probably one of the most ‘professional’ games made, by which I mean it’s like it was made for E-Sports.

      Sure it’s not for everyone, but it most certainly does not make it bad/terrible, not by a long shot.
      And yes, I also am a slut for ArmA.

      • lionheart says:

        It’s not bad but any pretensions of realism are a sham.

        It does get galling to catch someone from behind, put 5 or 6 bullets into them, and have them spin round and shoot you in the face.

      • rapier17 says:

        I didn’t say CS:GO was anything like or trying to be like ArmA, I merely said that I had been spoilt by OpFl/ArmA games, to the point where games like CS:GO don’t appeal to me anymore. That’s all I said. I didn’t say that CS:GO was trying to be ArmA3 or a CQC version of ArmA or that it was trying to be realistic, just that I’ve found these days I enjoy another type of shooter more than this type of shooter even though I used to play this type of shooter a lot 10-12 years ago.

        This is the third time today, on a third, separate internet forum, where this has happened.

  12. derbefrier says:

    I bought it and I am loving it. Its probably been close to 10 years since I have played counter strike for more than 10 minutes and i am loving CS:GO. I haven’t felt addicted to a FPS likes this, well since close to a decade when i was addicted to counter strike and TFC. The matchmaking seems to work decently and the casual modes are great fun if you want a less hardcore experience.

    Can anyone recommend some good servers to play on? I have just been using the matchmaking thing but it would be nice to find a good server and join a community somewhere

  13. tres says:

    So do we get to play vs. consolers?

    I find the picture of poor consoler on a couch desperately trying to aim the AK with those ridiculous sticks quite amusing.

    • derbefrier says:

      It was originally planned that way but i don’t think it made it to the final product. I wish it would have though. I have some xbros that I’d like to demonstrate why using a M&KB is much better for a FPS(we’ve gotten into screaming arguments over this before after a few too many beers :P)

      • subedii says:

        Yea cross platform between PC and PS3 was originally planned (not with 360, because MS wouldn’t have any of that lark unless you made use of GFWL. And even then they seem to discourage it). They even planned to have a unified matchmaking system (doesn’t matter if you were on gamepad or KBAM, if you were awesome with gamepad you’d just end up playing with some of the KBAM players, and vice-versa).

        The reason they decided against it ultimately is because as with other online titles, CS:GO is going to be seeing a lot of patch support. In order to keep the communities unified they would have had to delay patching PC-side (which they can basically do at the drop of a helmet) whilst console certification went through. Which could mean weeks (or on occasion, even months) of waiting whilst potential exploits ran around in the wild. Not too fun for the players or the devs.

        It’s fine with a game like Portal 2 since… well… it’s 2-player non-competitive coop game where any issues are likely to be minor. But if they planned to say, patch CS:GO to adjust some prices one week and push out a hotfix for a glitch, the delays would soon get annoying for all concerned.

  14. Nick says:

    ” It benefits from all the usability lessons Valve has quietly sat learning”

    The buy menu says otherwise.

    • mondomau says:

      What’s to say one of the lessons they learned wasn’t something like – ‘If we make a minor modification to the UI, we can get consoles in on this, make a loooot more money’?

      • Aldehyde says:

        And who really uses the menus anyway? I don’t care how they look, I use the buttons on my keyboard to buy my stuff, not the mouse.

    • derbefrier says:

      whats so bad about the menus? just use your numpad to quickly buy things like we have for the past decade.

  15. Severn2j says:

    I just bought it, mainly because even tho I’ve been a PC gamer for the past 20 years, I somehow missed the CS wave and never really played it. I’ve always wanted to right that wrong, so this will be my attempt.

    • Severian says:

      Great time to jump in. CS:GO looks great and, like the reviewer said, it’s quite friendly to newcomers.

  16. drewski says:

    I used to be good at Counter-Strike. Not, like, elite, but solidly competent. My experience getting destroyed in TF2 a few years ago has taught me that my reflexes just don’t twitch fast enough to be naturally good at competitive shooters any more, though, and I don’t have the time to actually learn maps and gameplay properly so that I can get my skill level up to adjust for that.

  17. Makariel says:

    Tom ‘admitted British liberal’ Bramwell and a game with guns? :-P

    • Durkonkell says:

      Indeed, because liking games with guns = advocating guns in reality. Seriously, I can say in one breath “I don’t think there’s any reason for a civilian to own a gun” and then in the very next “man, planetside 2 looks amazing!”

      This doesn’t mean that I secretly believe that everyone in the world should own a variety of weapons, a powered battle suit and maybe a tank or attack helicopter.

      Games are fantasy, but not generally a reflection of our views on reality. I was playing Skyrim yesterday, but going out into the wilds and fighting a bear with a sword is very, very low on my list of things to do.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        You may be reading a wee bit too much into a comment made with, I’m assuming, tongue firmly in cheek.

      • Makariel says:

        You won’t hear me disagree, I was more interested in transforming Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell into Tom “admitted British liberal” Bramwell.

        • Durkonkell says:

          I can’t possibly support any venture to change Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell into something else. I think that all right-minded RPSers will feel similarly. You could say that I’m an admitted “Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell” conservative.

          @The Godzilla Hunter: Possibly, but at least now you know who to rule out if you ever have a once in a lifetime opportunity to fight bears with a sword to give away.

          • Makariel says:

            The “Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell”-conservatives are always quick to defend Tom “admitted British liberal” Bramwell as being the true Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell. But even staunch defenders of the status quo have to recognize that “Tom “Tom Bramwell” Bramwell”-conservatism is always under attack by an avantgarde, wanting to see the world burn.

          • Durkonkell says:

            Indeed.

            I’d also like to point out that I DO in fact believe that everyone in the world should own a variety of weapons, a powered battle suit and maybe a tank or attack helicopter, as do all right-minded RPSers. I was playing devil’s advocate a little bit back there.

          • Josh W says:

            I on the other hand, chafe under the antiquated tradition of nesting Tom Bramwell within his own name only once.

            The people demand the freedom to perform as many nickname substitutions as they deem necessary, such as, in extreme cases:

            tom “tom “tom “tom “tom “tom “tom “tom bramwell” bramwell” bramwell” bramwell” bramwell” bramwell” bramwell” bramwell

            The natural rights of man demand it.

  18. Kid B says:

    I get so much Nostalgia just reading about counter strike

    Does anybody remember the original CS, where there was a bug on the map siege if you crouched in water in the sewers you were invincible? Also on that map you could drive an apc

    • Tiax says:

      I remember.

      Cs_siege was my favorite map for this reason. Totally unbalanced, but so much fun.

      Every updates brought something really new that would generally get tossed out on the next release. The M4 even used to have a scope, which made it totally imba.

      De_prodigy was great too.

      But my biggest regret is that they never brought back as_oilrig, on which I had *so* much fun. You would start as a terrorist and, if your spawning location was lucky, you could run into a vent and reach the counter-terrorist spawn in like 5 seconds and headshot the vip while everyone was still buying their weapons. Good times.

  19. Dudeist says:

    I like this style of fps, but I hate this weapon shop on round start. It’s why I played AA and other games instead of CS

  20. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    I’m surprised and relieved this is not F2P.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      Amen to that. I truly dislike where TF2 has gone with its F2P model, to the point where I uninstalled and stopped playing it despite otherwise still enjoying it quite a bit.

      But I am happy to see Valve release DOTA2 – with what I feel to be the best F2P model so far seen to this date – and now CS GO, a game which could have easily been stuffed full of costumes and hats, but is instead a nice, cleanly designed bargain of a game.

      Granted, it is CS, so they don’t have the pressure that a game like Tribes does – go F2P or risk the servers turning into ghost towns.

  21. somnolentsurfer says:

    Does the Playstation version of this have the Steam integration that Portal 2 had?

  22. Shralla says:

    So if you didn’t like Counter Strike to begin with, GO doesn’t offer anything to change that opinion? Not that I’m complaining, just curious.

    • HothMonster says:

      Depends on why you don’t like counterstrike to begin with. There are a lot of subtle changes that really make the game different, and a few bigger changes like weapon handling, but at its core its the same game with a shinier coat of paint.

  23. Gnoupi says:

    Tempting, but I have a quite large backlog. So it will wait.

    And I will probably save money doing so, because this is a Valve game. Which means -50% in one, two months.

  24. buzzmong says:

    You haven’t stated if it’s actually worth the tenner over CS:Source.

    Is it actually different enough/improved/polished enough to warrant the expenditure?

    • Beelzebud says:

      Yes it’s worth it. The price is a steal.

    • pmh says:

      Right now? No, not worth it if you have CS or CSS. The game is still incomplete from the promised features and could do with a few big patches to improve what’s already there. Unless your friends have already moved over to it, I’d wait for a sale and/or patches.

  25. D0zer says:

    CS:GO is exactly what Counter-Strike needed. I’ve been on a nostalgia trip for the past two days now, but just like when CS:S came out. The Counter-Strike hipsters are everywhere.

  26. Beelzebud says:

    The last time I played CS was right after CS:S came out. I thought it was decent, but by that time I was just burned out on the game, from playing the original since the early beta days. On a whim (and because it’s priced so cheap) I decided to give this a try. I do NOT regret it. They really nailed the feel of CS, and the game is highly polished. For 15 I feel like I got a higher quality game than some I’ve paid 60 for.

  27. Severian says:

    I’ll add my voice in to reiterate what our noble reviewer has said here: this is a pretty newb-friendly game. I haven’t played CS since the original half-life mod in the late 90′s. I completely skipped CS:source. I saw CS:GO pop up on Steam a couple days ago and decided to pull the trigger for nostalgia’s sake and because the updated graphics looked appealing. I just wanted to play on de_dust again. It’s great. Yes, it’s tough and yes, you’ll go up against some skilled players who’ll make you look stupid, but I still get kills regularly and rounds are so fast and furious that you don’t mind sitting out until the end of the round when you’re dead. I would totally agree that this is an easier game to get into and contribute to victory within than Battlefield, which I suspect appeals to the same kind of gamer. There’s just so much tension within each of these maps, it’s a joy to re-immerse myself in the design.

  28. Brise Bonbons says:

    I am mighty tempted by CS GO, if only because I much prefer games where the progression happens within the confines of a match (and is then reset when you begin a new one), as opposed to those which ask me to spend hundreds of matches just to access the complete game.

    That said, I am already spending too much time in DOTA2. Oh the decisions. I really want to spend more time with CK2 and DayZ, as well…

  29. beema says:

    So… like… aside from a couple gizmos and some updated graphics… how is this any different from CS:S? It sounds like just the noob mode, which I could give a shit about. Why should I pay money for another copy of a game that I already sort of have? This review didn’t do a very good job of distinguishing that.

    • PodX140 says:

      I find there are quite a few core differences. Like how running and spraying will get you litrally nowhere, jumping and shooting is laughable, and the tweaks to the levels IMO is fantastic.

      The hitboxes also seem to be right on, and I haven’t complained about reg once, a far cry from CS:S

  30. Totally heterosexual says:

    Soooo… anyone here want to play? Venturing into random servers without anyone I know gets a bit boring.

    Plus we can drink a few beers and slap eachother on the ass with towels on the breakroom afterwards.

  31. Haxavier says:

    I pre-ordered it to try the beta, expecting a retread of the same arcane hell that I experienced playing the previous two games, and like Tom said, I was very pleased that it was actually accessible and fun to newcomers without diluting or changing the core experience. Already clocked many hours on it…

    Another thing worth mentioning is that it’s much easier to get acquainted with the game since a large majority of wizened ubermensch players from 1.6 and Source are revolted by the fact that CS:GO is not actually CS 1.6 with a paintjob. That aspect is probably my favorite thing about CS:GO…they didn’t attempt to be kiss-ass to the ‘hardcore’ players firmly stuck in the past.

  32. LionsPhil says:

    Am I the only one bothered by that crudely electronic bomb having a crisp Courier New display, rather than chunky seven-segment numbers?

    • Dozer says:

      WHAT HAS BEEN SEEN

      CANNOT BE UNSEEN

      I was studying the bomb to see if the wires made sense and how easily could I build a hardware bomb controller/replica using a Teensy USB interface board, and completely failed to notice the nonsense display. Admittedly i’m browsing on a tiny Android screen not a nice PC monitor.

  33. UTR says:

    Same old tired maps, same old tired gameplay this game has been left in the dust by the mw series and the bf series. The game just feels tired and extremely boring. If you like paying for the same game 3 times over buy this if you don’t go buy something interesting to play like bf3…… very disappointing

    As pc games go this is s**t best looking game at e3?? zomfg e3 must of really sucked…..

    This game has zero long term appeal

    • Dozer says:

      *applauds*

      Masterfully done! I love how each sentence contains its own contradiction!

      A brilliant parody of a fanboy. Well done!

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I especially liked the part where he said “If you don’t want to play the same game over, I suggest you go buy the third of a series of the same game”.

    • Dozer says:

      “This game has zero long-term appeal”

      It’s COUNTER-STRIKE.

  34. Astroman says:

    All the critics are saying how “precise” CS:GO is… Am I the only one getting random FPS lag and random server lag about 50% of the time? On a PC that can run Skyrim on high?

    I actually went back and played some Source. The character movement in GO looks jittery at times compared to the smoothness of of the old CS’s.

  35. whydidyoumakemeregister says:

    Are there custom servers and such? The last time I really had fun playing a multiplayer shooter was when COD4 had a bunch of tactical search & destroy (bomb defusal) servers, where they had mods that would kick people for bunny hopping and hip fire and blind grenades/smoke spray and things like that…. is that something that happens in CS as well? If you died in those servers it was entirely your fault, not pure chance.

    • Astroman says:

      Banning people for hip fire? You might not like CS….

      Yes there are custom servers but last I checked (30 minutes ago) there were only about 5 custom servers up with people in them.

      • thrawn says:

        To be fair, CS is rarely as bad as stock COD for run-and-gunning. Since most people play diffusion or hostage mode, you don’t want to only be playing for the first 10% of every round, and thus players behave themselves a bit more. In COD, even the modes where you have to wait for respawn are largely populated by people who usually play other modes. Also, CS aiming makes it much less beneficial to charge than in COD, since you don’t have iron sites on all guns; so if you’re moving, you are usually screwed. Honestly, AWP campers are fare more annoying than rushers. Sure, it’s not as tactical as Battlefield, but it’s usually a good bit better than COD, and for $15, I’d suggest people give it a try.

        Also, I’m pretty sure more custom servers will open up as the game moves out of Beta and more people are playing. That may be wishful thinking, but I usually had little trouble finding good servers for CS:S.

        • PodX140 says:

          CS: GO makes running and gunning a near impossibility, unless you’ve specifically bought a shotgun or submachine gun for that purpose. Even the AK is unmanageable while running (and standing IMO)

  36. thrawn says:

    There’s a new staircase on Dust, for example, which reduces the risk for the Terrorist team if they decide to go down the ramp rather than through the palace (oh yeah, apparently it’s a palace now), but arguably rebalances the map for the better.

    But that was my second favorite camping spot on that map. When I was a n00b, I always got an Aug or Auto and just sat there listening for the footsteps of people who dared try to sneak past me. Why, oh why must Valve ruin my nostalgic memories of being annoying online?!!?!??

    Also, I can’t seem to hit the broad side of a barn in CS:GO. The uninformed may try to suggest that is because I have not played CS in years, nor really many FPS since, but I’m pretty sure it is the game’s fault. I’ll blame the console version, like I always do.

  37. silverhammermba says:

    I hated the new radial menu for about half an hour and then I realized how quick it is to navigate using the mouse. Much better than memorizing sequences of numbers for quickly buying before a round.

    • Kodo says:

      Yeah, this. The radial system works great with the mouse, and most people who are concerned about speed will be using keyboard commands anyway. Baffles me why circles engender so much hatred??

      Nevermind, too, in competitive mode there’s so much time to gear up that any arguments about speed are moot.

      • PodX140 says:

        I find I can actually buy FASTER with the radial menu then before, and I was playing source up until the day GO released.

        • aurens says:

          that’s because, despite all the unfounded hatred, radial menus are much more usable than standard column/grid menus. even ignoring the fact that radial items are much larger than standard items, picking and executing a direction is faster and easier than moving a cursor a specifc distance down a list.

  38. mazix says:

    What kind of shit review is this? No mention of Silencers being removed from game?? no silencer for M4A1 and no for pistols…

    • Haxavier says:

      The CS silencers were gimmicks. Get over it.

      • Kodo says:

        Agreed, though with the new positional sound effects (The far away gun fights sounds amazing) the inclusion of silencers might provide tactical advantages.

        I heard rumors they may include silencers some time in the future? c/d

  39. MadTinkerer says:

    4) Xbox 360 and PS3s still lack a standard mouse + keyboard support. Therefore the console versions of CS:GO aren’t worth acknowledging after all.

    (On a more positive note, I too like CS:GOPC.)

  40. Wisq says:

    Skipped the whole CS craze back in the day. I had Half-Life, but my mod of choice was Action Half-Life, and CS always just felt ridiculously dull next to all that action movie awesomeness and bullets that actually matter.

    And then of course OpFlash came along and ruined my taste for any of these pseudo-real-life multiplayer modern shooter games, so.

  41. Miltrivd says:

    I liked the beta, but I played A LOT for years and semi-competitive 2003-2004, having not played at all since then I just can’t get around the lack of recoil feedback from the camera shake. Sadly, I think the console version is to blame for that as well, and even if it’s almost the only complaint I have it became my no-buy reason. At first it was weird, then it was strange, but later it was outright annoying, I just couldn’t get my head around it. I hope they fix it, because I really liked what I saw.

  42. JCD says:

    I would just like to know what their excuse is for the absence of as_oilrig.

  43. RegisteredUser says:

    “PC gamers have more fun”

    is the new “Blondes have more fun”.

    I would like a discount on this game for owning CS:S already to be brutally honest.

    I’d add this to my steam library for 5 EUR in a heartbeat.

  44. Radiant says:

    This new Tom Bradbury fella.
    He’s okay I guess. *makes wobbly hand sign*

  45. Radiant says:

    Also I stopped playing CS at .06
    Not 1.6.
    Beta 6.

    Look out the window you see those hills?
    That’s how old I am.
    It’s also where I buried my shooter friends who are now playing DOTA 2.

    • buzzmong says:

      Beta 6?

      Should have held out till beta 7.1 (or 7.2). Drivable vehicles were brilliant fun, mostly because they were brilliantly broken, but still brilliant.

  46. BluElement says:

    I might give this a try sometime. The learning/skill curve in CS:S was horrible. Not to mention the aimbots and the ability to get “headshots” by practically hitting someone in the foot. CS:S was definitely dated when I tried it years ago and it just wasn’t fun at all. Maybe an updated, new-player-friendly version will be better. :\

    However, I would definitely argue the claim that CS was the best FPS of all time. We all have our opinions, but I wouldn’t let that one slide. :P

  47. alilsneaky says:

    The writer isn’t exactly selling the game to vets as much as to new players.

    There is nothing in here telling those who didn’t enjoy CSS why CS:GO is any different.
    The writer mentions don’t fix what isn’t broken then lists stuff that wasn’t changed in css either, while css did change a lot of stuff that wasn’t broken.
    like what about:
    -hitboxes
    -spray patterns and recoil and the old stop and shoot that was completely missing from css
    -floaty run animations
    -muted footstep sounds
    -giant player models like in css or normal small models like in cs?
    -clutter and rubble being in the way in css + those awful physics barrels and changes to map geometry changing maps for the worse
    -is kz acceleration still in to the same extent as in 1.6 or not?
    -is wall penetration at the level of 1.6 or the negligable level of css?
    -1.6 nade throwing mechanics (elaborate) or css nade thowing physics (babbys first grenade)
    Css went a long way to stomp on the learning curve of half life cs and took away much of what defined the original. (especially footstep, wallpen ,and spread)

    Did the pc version remain open? (mod support, rcon, maps and skins, full access to console tweaks and buyscripts)

    Can we fight peasants in crossplay or did they take that out?

    So many unanswered questions in a 1000 word fluff piece.
    This is supposed to be a pc website for the discerning crowd, not IGN.

  48. Shooop says:

    It still looks like the same game I tried for a few hours where players would just grab one-hit-kill bolt action rifles and camp chokepoints the enemy team had no choice but to go through.

    Needless to say that game was shit.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      the AWP is perfectly balanced, 1 hit 1 kill but slower than a crippled sloth. If you really have to go through a chokepoint, and actually it’s pretty rare that there is only one path then you can either group rush so that only one player goes down and the rest mob him, or lay down suppressing fire and send one man through, or use flashbangs, or smoke grenades. But you wouldn’t know that, having only played a few hours.

  49. davidconnell says:

    test